I had a really, really strange Christmas. Talk about being in a parallel universe!
I’d had a warning in the three or four weeks prior to the actual holidays. I wasn’t feeling sick or unwell exactly, just aware that, as y’might say, ‘things weren’t right’.
At first I wondered if it was an early warning that a Depression was looming. There was no specific reason why this might be the case although not every department of my Life was as satisfactory as I would wish – but then, whose is?
And I became aware that increasingly I was distracted – like falling in love, and the hassle it brings as you juggle with the imponderables of Time and Space in order to ‘be together’.
But it wasn’t sexual; far from it … in fact I’d have been much happier if it had been; at least what was making me increasingly unhappy would be clear and I could set about putting it right.
All these thoughts and feelings were taking place against the demands of Christmas and a diary full of reminders to pick up the meat for the Christmas Day feast, put the silver charms in the Christmas Pudd and de-freeze the Dock Pudding which I‘d managed to acquire from the champion of the Calder Valley Dock Pudding Championships way back in the Summer.
But slowly I became aware that certain elements of my Life were breaking up, though how and what I couldn’t work out. It was as if my outer appearance and inner philosophy were about to be subjected to enormous pressure, fissures would allow suppressed truths to force their way through the cracks of the outer shell I’d been using to sustain the image of who I was.
And then I read something. Actually it was a book I must’ve been reading for the third time. (I’m a bizarre
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reader. The first time I get through to the end of a book – say on philosophy or psychology – I immediately begin to read it again. This is because experience tells me that I’ve missed whole loads of important stuff in what amounts to ‘skimming over’ the first time through.)
In this particular case it was the third reading of Henri Tracol’s book ‘The Taste For Things That Are True’. I read:
“There is a heroism in behaving without any other sanction than the intoxication of moving in the direction which is truly one’s own.’
He follows this up with:
“These words of my uncle have accompanied me unceasingly since adolescence. And from decade to decade they resound in me more and more like a call to be free.”
His words hit me like a thunderbolt, especially when I thought of my status as one of the three writers of the What Men Do Guide and weekly blog. Was I up to the job? Was I ‘free enough’ myself? And if not, why not?
And all this whilst other adults and children ate and drank and gossiped, enjoying the benevolent spirit of Santa Claus.
It’s been an awakening time.