Well, that didn't last long. The thing I mentioned in the last post, the shocking-but-good thing I was being so coy about, I discovered to be nothing at all in the end. In a way I'm glad, because if it did happen it was going to be a lot of pressure, but it does also mean that I'm not going to say what it was. Sorry.
On an unrelated note, I didn't do much blogging in 2012, as you can tell from the archive over there on the right. I thought I should try to explain why.
2012 was difficult for me. I've lost contact with friends before, and I've met plenty of people who never liked me much in the first place, but I've never had a friend take active steps to cut me out of their life, as happened earlier in the year. I'm not blameless in what happened; I let my insecurity get the better of me and tricked myself into thinking my friend had lied to me over a minor, petty thing. Then I confronted them about it.
So I can see why they decided they'd had enough of me. I can see it now, at least, but back then it came as a huge surprise. Not only was the rejection a shock, but it also dragged some other stuff out into the light, stuff that with hindsight I realise I'd told myself I'd resolved but in fact I'd just hidden away.
It's a long story that I may well tell another time, involving my then wife and my stepmother, but the key point for our current purposes is that my father disowned me in 2000. I acted as if I'd accepted this and had moved on, that it was his loss, not mine, and perhaps that was true to a certain extent. Then again, I was married and we'd been through it together, so it was easier to accept or, as I discovered much later, hide.
Then in 2010, my wife left me. There had been trouble before then, but I'd made promises to be a better husband, to make things right, all the time ignoring the actual issue, which was that it was over and Meg just wanted a clean break. It was difficult -- I don't think a separation and eventual divorce can be anything but -- but it was necessary for both of us and we remain good friends. Once again, I thought that I had everything under control.
What I couldn't see was that it was all just being pushed to one side and stacked up, like when someone in a cartoon tidies up and stuffs everything into a cupboard, the door develops an ominous bulge and you just know it's going to burst open in the final act.
So it came to pass.
My friend dumped me, and everything came tumbling out of the cupboard. Things got bad then, but they would have been worse had it not been for an ironic twist. A couple of weeks before I blundered in and ruined everything, the same friend who would want nothing more to do with me suggested that I sign up for some free counselling sessions; I did, and ended up starting the sessions not long after I lost that friend.
I discovered a lot about myself during those sessions. I was convinced of my own complete lack of worth and it took a homework exercise -- in which I had to ask my friends to tell me what they liked and disliked about me -- to get me to realise that I wasn't worthless after all. The biggest shock came when my counsellor told me that I was talking in suicidal terms; I hadn't realised it, but I couldn't deny the truth of it. It was that realisation more than anything that made me step back and decide to make a change; I don't think I could ever kill myself, but the fact that I'd got to a point where I seemed to others that I could was enough of a scare.
Things turned around then. I was more positive about myself and tried harder to engage with the people around me. I even went on a couple of dates; no romance resulted, but I made new friends. I got involved in more art and writing projects, and somehow convinced a couple of hundred people to pay me to produce a book. My father turned up out of the blue and more or less apologised, or as close as he's ever going to get. It was all going so well, and I thought I was on the mend; I'm not so naïve to think that all that damage could be fixed in a couple of months of counselling, but I really did think that I was getting better.
Now I'm told I've had wobbles these past few weeks, and I admit that I'm disappointed, but I'm going to be positive and learn from that discovery. It was a lack of awareness that led to all the harmful baggage building up in the first place, so I have to take this as a warning to be more vigilant.