the rapid collapse of society :: Journal 4th Jan – 9th Jan 2021

4th Jan – a calm sense of closure

I mean, it’s definitely the quietest birthday I’ve ever had, no trips, no visitors. Last year we saw Ian McKellan’s one man show, packed into a tiny theatre seat amongst strangers. Given the limitations of these days I didn’t want to leave the house much anyway. We took a nice walk in the late afternoon. Spent the day loafing about doing what I wanted. I decided to buy a few things including a new notebook, turns out I’ve had this one since Dec 2019. It’s not filled up much in that time from Dec 19 to Dec 20. Writing for me was mostly done on the bus or tube. I’ve only started writing again regularly since new year’s and seeing that ink on Saoirse Ronan’s fingers in Little Women. Seeing how the character of Jo and/or Louisa May Alcott took her life and brought it to the page. I’m not saying I’ll do that with this, but there’s something at least about writing at all that brings a calm sense of closure and control. An order to the mind. I ordered another notebook hoping I’ll keep this up. If not every day, when I feel moved to. We watched Soul tonight, Little Women and Soul are the two best films I’ve seen in a long time. 

It’s difficult to have these feelings at the moment, wanting a proper birthday because I cannot imagine what that would be. No one wants to feel self pity on their birthday. I’ve been treated very well and had lovely messages. The best was the video of my brother’s family singing happy birthday to me, and then saying “we love you uncle ted” at the end. That was such a gift. 

Papercut Petals – Tana Lawn Cotton- Liberty Fabrics

5th Jan – cancel me, it’s christmas 

I’d not been on Twitter for over a month until today. I logged on and saw that on 25th December I was cancelled and called out by a few gay TERFs who objected to my podcast about Polari because, in their incorrect opinion, I was “rainbow washing” gay male history and turning it queer when it was, according to their incorrect opinion, the history of gay males only. That has really upset me. I had a hot panicked feeling, one of those things I worried about all the time was being cancelled online. By the time I was close to quitting Twitter, the fear of it happening was the reason I’d log in, just to ensure it hadn’t happened. It’s not that I have a dark past with all this stuff I worry will come up, not at all, but it’s just that I know there’s a subset of people on there who comb through people’s histories looking for dirt. In the days after I decided to leave properly, I felt real withdrawal, like when I quit coffee. Twitter was a mental addiction, I was thinking in tweets in the shower, wherever, always chasing those likes and replies, with a hope of gaining more followers, gaining more success, more acknowledgement. It had good sides, keeping up with friends, getting my poetry out there and reading more, all the networking stuff. But ultimately it was another, more naked way that I wanted acknowledgment, fame, recognition. All the things I didn’t like about how other people acted on there, I was doing the same things I just didn’t want to admit it. The hardest thing is working so hard on something and getting nothing back, working at poems, collections, working at being a person online and then you are given nothing in return. I think I always wanted just one popular tweet, just to have won the game, but I never did and I know I tried a lot. I’m still on instagram which has it’s own numerous problems, sure. But moving away from twitter, leaving that voice behind has given me more space and less of a sense that I have to show off to everyone. I don’t need to do anything especially to satisfy other people online. I’m free of that yoke. I joined twitter in my early twenties and I think there was part of me that still held on to that early twenties insecurity and desperateness. Giving it up is giving up that immature part of me. It’s been long enough that I don’t miss it. I have the perspective I needed and I’m glad. What a horrible place, I mean who the fuck tries to cancel someone on Christmas day?  

City Geo – Tana Lawn Cotton – Liberty Fabrics

6th Jan – small islands 

The new routine is hot water bottles, one each. We do his at 11pm when husb goes to bed and mine at 12.30am when I go. Even by morning they’re still warm when I take them out from the foot of the bed. It’s gorgeous to have that steady heat to fall asleep with, the steady warmth. The routines are so funny. They build up and we do them for a spell, then they fall by the wayside and we almost never speak about them. I never thought I needed routine before, but there’s something wonderful about the reassurance that there is at least this small patch of control, a small piece of non-chaos in our little world. Maybe as I’ve grown up I’ve gone more to the side of peace and quiet than chaos and excitement. We’ve been doing this for so long now, it feels like the world before is unimaginable. Feels like a place we’ve long since left. A holiday cottage from my childhood. We’re our own small islands now, with complexities in place to avoid danger. Even our parents and close friends could harm us by proximity, or us them. I can’t imagine anything more primal to harm someone, to take away closeness, to make us scared to live and to keep us locked up in our homes. But without all of this, it really could have been the end of the world. At least in the future we can say we did what we could do. We made the best of the awfulness, tried to keep away from everyone as much as possible, tried to remain safe. I look forward to when it’s over and we can look back on all this and start to deal with it. I don’t want to write about this all the time, but maybe I just need to. 

Patchwork City – Tana Lawn Cotton – Liberty Fabrics

9th Jan – The rapid collapse of society 
I slept in today, when I got up Husb was watching Shaun of the Dead on TV. I don’t think either of us realised how it would feel to see that film right now. I mean, of course, this is not a zombie apocalypse but it has a lot of the same fears, mindless crowds, infection from strangers, the rapid collapse of society. The funny thing was that within the story the world got back to normal within six months. I don’t know how long it will be for us from now, but maybe a year. I’ve felt out of sorts all day from sleeping in, worrying about a lot of things. Going for a run was the best thing for me to do. I did my best 5k so far. I felt like it was going well, but I didn’t know how well until I saw the stats from Strava. I liked running on a Saturday night in the cold. The roads were so quiet, the pavements were empty, I could just focus on a point in the distance and find myself getting towards it without the distraction of having to avoid strangers.

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