"Who of you, by worrying, is able to add a single hour to your life?" - Jesus, I forget where.
|One of my favourite board games...|
|General von Ludendorff. You know, after the war, he became|
a vain and pompous fool who became the front man of the
early NSDAP. He was arrested in Munich in 1923 and, briefly,
led the NSDAP in 1925. He was dropped at Bamburg in 1926.
"Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Birds of the air see no need to harvest or store up wealth for themselves and yet the Lord sees fit to feed them, are you not more important to your Father than birds? Consider the lilies of the field, I tell you the truth, Solomon in all his splendour was clothed less richly than these. If the Lord clothes these grasses so that are thrown on the fire the next day then will he not look after you who are much more important to Him?" - Jesus, badly paraphrased from memory.
When I went into my profession I didn't really do anything. I trusted Him Upstairs because I felt as though that's where He wanted me to go. I mean really felt it. This wasn't a conviction from within me, I've always felt I was badly equipped to be in my profession, but a genuine feeling that something outside of myself was helping me go in a particular direction. Besides, if I didn't make the grade and get a job there was no worry - I didn't think I was really cut out to do it. Failure to do this wouldn't be failure, I was waiting to apply for a Doctorate. As it happened, I got a job, I kept the gig and ended up in a cosy position. In this sense the entire thing, hard and emotionally battering as the training was and scary as each interview was, was without risk, it was a path of least resistance. I didn't have to invest anything of myself beyond what I felt I was safe giving. There was no risk.
There's a parable about three servants who are given talents to invest by their master. The last one was given the least and he buries his share. When questioned the other two have doubled the talents they were given and are rewarded. This fella is questioned and responds that he knew his master to be a wicked and cruel man and didn't want to be punished for fucking things up. The master tells the hapless servant he's right and punishes him for being a fearful twat and gaining nothing. That's me, that is, the servant. Except it's not my master that I fear, it's everything else - it's society and myself. I don't want to fail. I don't want to have to come back to my master and say: "Please, sir, I've fucked up." At least, not again, I do that quite often.
But, in doing that, I take no risks. I'm searching for an easy life and, lest we forget, the highway to Hell is wide and well-paved but the path to Heaven is dark and twisty and filled with risk. He who gives up his life to follow me, said Jesus, will save it and he who saves his life will lose it. Let the last be first and the first be last. I am not someone that likes risk, I am not someone that pushes boundaries. My difficulties at work, in life in general, stem from this basic fact and the Fear creates the environment in which I fail because I am too cautious. Like General Kuropotkin in the Russo-Japanese War constantly waiting for reinforcements I run the risk of a Mukden every day. I am General Gough in Spring 1918, I am King Frederick I of Prussia in the Potato War, 1778-9. I know how much I risk losing and therefore avoid joining battle. It is a fear of failure that propels me and a love of the easy life that keeps me coasting.
"To prove that anyone can achieve what I set out to achieve, I gave away my wealth and started with nothing." - Ozymandias, The Watchmen.
In Alan Moore's The Watchmen there is a character by the name of Ozymandias. He explains at the end of the novel how he got to where he was. Part of it is about the necessity of risk to prove points and reap rewards. He gives up a comfortable life to follow in the footsteps of Alexander the Great via a detour in Tibet. I'm not suggesting that a graphic novel character that is deliberately fantastical is a good example to follow. However, that first part, giving everything up to start with nothing and trusting in fate to get anywhere... that resonated with me on some level. Why? I have never done it.
Tilly started a parenting blog last night. She gained 48 followers and 168 pageviews within the space of three hours. When she started her magazine she hit a circulation of 400+ in three issues (that is, 400 people subscribed to it) and managed to shift 500 issue 1s, 1,000 issue 2s, 1,500 issue 3s, 4s and is looking at keeping that level for issue 5. She started a parenting group because there wasn't one that did what she wanted them to do and now it's a regular feature with some twenty members. She's driving the home-schooling kick we're on and our daughter can read and write with frightening ability. She's no genius, just well matched to tasks and thus learning well. Tilly is astonishing.
Meeting her and dating her and asking her to marry me were all incredible risks. Hell, even getting in contact with her in the first place was concentrated risk to me. She was online, and I'd met a few oddballs, and she was out of my league in terms of looks. Well out of my league. She was witty, she had a First in History, she had As all over her A Level record and A*s coming out of her ears from GCSE. Her academic achievement was what mine might have been had I been bothered to take risks. She had embraced the opportunities presented her by University and lived them. She was bisexual and had experimented with relationships of all kinds and natures. Compared to her I was grey and dull and uninteresting. We had sex in the second month of our relationship and she moved in with me in the sixth. These were huge risks. I stood a strong possibility at every stage of losing her and being hurt. But the risks paid off.
But it was Tilly took the biggest risks and she gained the greater pay-offs. She still takes bigger risks and she still wins higher than I. The less risk I take, the more I withdraw, the less I get from the life that goes on around me.
My work environment continues to deteriorate. Why? My own caution, inaction and unwillingness to take risks. My home life, though not a huge issue, is still pretty bland. I want to risk things, but I won't.
"I wanna give you devotion" - NOMAD, 1991
When I was with Toby I can remember sharing her bed fairly early on in the relationship. On the first occasion that she suggested, and I agreed to, wearing a nightie she made a point of being in the 'dominant' position when spooning. She was about as tall as me and considerably stronger built, I was the waif of the couple. I remember her arm across me whilst she slept and I lay awake wondering at it all. I remember the feeling of safety and warmth that it brought and I remember feeling protected. In short, I felt like the woman in a relationship. It was this that eventually ended the relationship but even that tinge of bitterness was not enough to completely kill that feeling. I sometimes get it with Tilly, but never physically. Our relationship, in that sense, is much more traditional. My own lack of confidence or constancy makes Tilly worried and removes the sense of safety and protection that she craves from me. But I am broken and need that myself.
Selfishly I took it from Toby and never gave any back. That's why our relationship was never going to work. I gave it to Tilly in the early part of our relationship, until the miscarriage, and now we neither of us succeed in giving it to one another. I have issues even giving it to our children. Tilly manages to do this, there are certain natural advantages that she enjoys, of course, the ability to feed both of our children from birth without any accoutrements certainly helps, and there are hormonal advantages too. Ultimately, however, Tilly can supply that feeling to our children because she doesn't crave it as much as I do because she had it as a child. Whether or not I had it as a child is neither here nor there, at my age I am expected to provide that feeling, not recieve it. As a male I am twice denied by society. Probably also by evolution.
"I could never be your woman" - White Town, 1997
My first forays into actually cross-dressing came from those experiences with Toby. In each of those cases Toby treated me with the kind of respect and protection that one usually associates with relationships from the man to the woman. That is, she treated me very much as the female of the relationship. She complimented my looks in feminine terms (legs, clothing etc), she used female nicknames and terms of endearment for me (honey, sweetie, princess, dear, sugar, sweetpea, Bex) and she allowed me to take the submissive role of holding hands or hugging or any physical contact. In terms of mutual masturbation she took the dominant role, using it as a man may use it. In essense, she was on top and I was usually dressed in skirts while she wore jeans on the occasions that it happened. At no point did I find any cause for complaint. At no point was I ever in any danger beyond losing her. I took no risks. It was this that caused her to walk away. And I did not stop her because I also knew that we were no good for each other.
With Tilly we have never really spooned or hugged in bed. She liked her space in bed, still does, and my attempts to be romantic are spurned as ham-fisted and just irritating. In sex she was always more vanilla than I, perhaps more than she knows actually. She expects me to be a Man but I am masquerading. That's not to say I am a Woman, I'm not, but I'm no Man either. I'm soft, I'm nervous and I'm overly sensitive. I'm moody, generally in a bleak and downward sense, and I'm taciturn. In short, I carry the stereotypical bad points from each gender. And I have scratchy, but cautious, body-hair so that my nipples are crowned with it, my navel looks like the jaws of Hell and by crack, sack and legs resemble briar patches. However, my arms, back and chest are devoid of it.
The Boy calls. I may update with pictures another time.