The Day I Needed And The Things I Didn’t

Today was heaven. It was also stressful. It was also brilliant. It was also full of guilt and shame and salty river water that very nearly wasn’t the only salt water on my skin (tears people, I’m talking about tears!)

I’ve always been sort of intrigued but also highly alarmed at the effect that people can have on each other. For example today, people made my day and others took the wind out of my sails a little bit. In the little collection of posts I’m writing (called “A Long Time Coming”) I also kind of realised the effect people can have on each other long-term. It’s weird. And it frustrates me that I let so many people make me feel so many things with so much ease. I’m often told that I’m too nice. I really am not. I’m in fact rather pathetic and lost and confused and I put everyone before myself because that feels right and I wish more people would put others first. But anyway. After treating myself for head-lice (which involved combing through my hair with an unused toothbrush and a thoroughly cleaned de-shedding tool for dogs because I couldn’t find the nit comb that came with the treatment and I was paranoid enough about being around two people who had head-lice to stoop to new lows)  even though I had checked multiple times and not found a single bug, here is how my weird day went (warning, this is the kind of post where I ramble on to try and figure out my thoughts and forget people will read it, so I apologise if it is confusing or dull or any other form of unpleasant):

“I know you’re going to shoot me, but you wouldn’t accept any money for the petrol or the food, so I bought you these to say thank you for driving us back.”

I handed my fellow third wheel’s dad the beers I bought him to thank him for driving me home from hospital in Norfolk the other week. He treated me like I was his own, he reassured me constantly saying it was no trouble and couldn’t be helped and wasn’t my fault. He was calm the entire time, even when he was pushing me in a wheelchair into another hospital and sat next to me in A&E while my fellow third wheel went off to get stuff. It was weird being sat in the back of the car on a mini road trip, with someone kind enough to make you feel almost part of their family.

“I am going to shoot you.”

He took the beers from me and jokingly said he was going to react in the extreme way I had made us both laugh by suggesting, a smile on his face. And then he hugged me (which apparently is rare for him, so I was told by my fellow third wheel that I should feel honoured), with the beers in between us, and he said,

“Thank you.”

I hugged my fellow third wheel hello. My dad and I don’t hug, he’s not that kind of guy with me – only with my little brother, who he used to always cuddle up on the sofa with (he has a clear, clear favourite. My little brother is everything he ever wanted, and I guess I just came along with my mum as part of the package. I gave up trying to please him a long time ago, which annoys everyone, but keeps me happy because it is a goal I eventually learned that I would never achieve no matter how hard I tried).

The four of us went and ate full english breakfasts while we watched the river and waited for the wind to fill in. While my dad was at the bar, I was left sat with our guests,

“It’s so nice to see you walking and so much more well!” My fellow third wheel’s dad said out of the blue. I remembered the state I had been in the last time he saw me – emotionally and physically. A lot of people have been telling me I look so, so much better lately, but he saw me when I looked (a lot better than I admitted but still) pretty awful. The difference in me must have been a lot more dramatic to him. It was nice to meet him properly, under less crappy circumstances, when I wasn’t half asleep and wearing my pyjamas.

After the most delicious breakfast, we walked down the pontoon – a slither of artificial land poking out onto the river (already far enough onto the water to feel like heaven) – and then we got on the club-run boat (almost like a taxi service) that ferries people to and from the moorings to which their boats are tied up. 38 feet of pure heaven was waiting for us. I climbed aboard the boat that I refer to as The BeastOld FaithfulOld Beast. The parents were getting along really well, and my fellow third wheel had instructed his dad not to bring up my health or stuff, which all three of us were in agreement of, because my dad doesn’t understand it and he always makes me feel highly responsible and ashamed about the way things are…

Awkwardly I was told to take the helm, I guess my dad wanted somebody who was used to the boat and knew how to handle the thing. The wind filled in a little and off we went, into THE BUSIEST RIVER I HAVE EVER SEEN. There were so. Many. Boats. It was a Saturday and the weather was nice and the world and his wife had turned out in their boats and jet skis and dinghies. There were races going on (multiple – they overtook us and suddenly we were sailing in the middle of their races and some young cocky sailor started shouting at my dad, but his older, more experienced crew remained silent because they knew he was in the wrong). There were areas of shallow water, and times when I had to turn on the engine to allow us to let the wind out of the sails so we could avoid racing boats. My dad wouldn’t let anyone else take the helm. I was left to do it. He told me what to do even though I knew what to do and most of the time was in the process of doing what he instructed. He criticised me constantly which made me stop what I was doing and screw up, which made him really frustrated and snappy. I felt like crap. To be honest, I wanted to cry. But eventually he admitted that I had done really well. Too late. By this stage I needed to pee and I was so embarrassed that I wanted to be away from the helm. So after a couple of hours we finally got to a point where there was open, deep water. We took down a sail and turned on the engine so we were motoring, and my fellow third wheel took the helm.

Processed with MOLDIV
A photo of when I was on the river last week. The old beast isn’t sailing in this picture (we’re running on the engine) but I was too preoccupied in the stress of avoiding multiple boats at a time all from different directions over and over and over again to get any pictures today while we were actually sailing.

I went to the front of the boat, right to the front, like I used to when I was a kid. The waves are felt twice as much there and the motion is amplified significantly in comparison to that in the cockpit. I hung my legs over the edge and let them hang like I used to when I was about 10, and the boat slammed down into the waves generated by a passing speedboat. Spray flew up and soaked my legs and invaded my shoes and I didn’t care. I loved it. Everything felt ok because right there was my escape. I took my shoes off and clambered around the deck barefoot (carefully because there isn’t really that much of a place to walk). I stood where I had been sitting, leaning forward against the furled sail, the wind rushing past me, almost through me, taking whatever emotion had built up away with it. I closed my eyes and not a single thought filled my mind. I was just there. I was just being. I was so content it was unreal. I stayed there for quite a while, because I didn’t want to go back to the others. My fellow third wheel and I exchanged a series of looks at each other.

Eventually I went back because we got the genoa (the sail I had been leaning against) back out. We went back onto dry land and sat in the sun for about an hour I guess just talking and drinking ice cold drinks (there was a labrador-german shepherd cross puppy and it made my heart melt a thousand times over… And my fellow third wheel also felt all the feels at how CUTE it was) . My fellow third wheel plans to come round mine quite a lot to see my dog and has invited my dig and I to stay with him when he has his family home to himself for a week. Sounds awesome to be fair, I’m pretty tired of this house.

I got home and watched my little brother eat food that I had bought for myself, because my parents don’t like me eating all of theirs. I told him to stop, but he’d already ploughed through quite a lot over the course of the day and that was it then, I just wanted my own space back and to be able to leave my own things somewhere without someone using them or eating them or taking them. It’s starting to make me super tense all the time and really stressed, I feel like there isn’t room to be me or anything that is actually safe or mine. I know it is ridiculous but emotions often are.

I messaged my fellow third wheel a lot. We chatted away about random stuff and it totally chilled me out. I decided I need a new focus, so I’m going to try and throw myself into revision for my August exams (which I probably should already have started but hey, my life’s been a bit hectic recently in ways I didn’t even mention here and I’m pathetic enough to have let that distract me). I set up the store for my t-shirt business that I’m hoping to start. I designed the logo (poorly, because I CANNOT use photoshop) and created a banner for the top of the web page. I set everything up… And then ended up in ICU and my vision got all screwed and I still need to set up the graphics tablet to draw the designs and just… It all feels so daunting now, but I’d like to do it because I’d like to be able to fund a service dog and my accommodation for the next year is so expensive that there’s no way I can afford it unless I find another pot of money to contribute towards it – I have no other option than to pretty much financially break my family because I wasn’t left with time to find a cheaper alternative, and that completely sucks, because I don’t have the kind of money to be paying such huge amounts of money for private halls over the road from my uni, which is EXACTLY WHY I STARTED TRYING TO FIND A PLACE TO LIVE MONTHS BEFORE I HAD TO. Wow, I am super annoyed about this apparently. Only just figured that one out. How… How did I start talking about this?

Oh yeah, I was saying what I plan to do to occupy my brain in place of the downward spiral of self hatred I am teetering at the top of (I’ve learned to recognise the impeding… there aren’t even words for the empty destructive emotion that overwhelms me… And I plan to do everything I can to try and stop it, and to distract myself from the terror of all of next week’s hospital appointments, which I am dreading with every inch of my being). I also plan to finish the novels I’ve started or have ideas for – not all of them, but at least one, just so I can say that I did. And I’d also like to complete the random little collection of writing I’ve been working on (of which a lot was lost because technology can be a poop).

This evening I also gave up on the lovebird situation. They are both happy and now capable of telling each other how they feel, so have apparently had many deep and meaningful conversations today. Something had been bothering one of them a lot (among many other things) which I helped the pair of them find a compromise too. But guilt is making that individual go against that compromise even though the other lovebird now understands and supports that decision. That I don’t mind, it is their own decision to make. But I got the whole “don’t kill me” thing and I was like… On the surface I am the most chill person ever, what a ridiculous thing to say, as if I’d be angry over you living your own life and doing what you need to do? The thing is, if the decision is regretted, I will have to deal with it, and I won’t say no because I’d do anything to keep my friends as happy as they can be, no matter how badly I get hurt in the process. It’s so much stress and my fellow third wheel keeps telling me to leave it but I can’t. They ask for help and I can’t say no to that. I know what it’s like when you need somebody to be there and nobody is, and no friend of mine is ever going through that while I’m alive and kicking.

Basically I’ve just had a pathetic day of being pathetic. I don’t know why. We got back at 6pm and I just fell asleep. I couldn’t wake up. I felt drugged. I overdid it. But I needed that boat and it was worth it. There’s something about having an entire boat in your hands and the power of the wind at your fingertips concentrated through a sail. There were tonnes of boat below my feet and I controlled how far it tipped over and how fast it went and my dad could shout and say whatever he wanted but at the end of the day I was the one in control. Me. I don’t get to control a lot of stuff, especially not many elements of my life. Everywhere else at the minute I feel so powerless, so helpless and useless and pathetic. With the wheel of that boat in my hands I feel… None of those things. I feel content and ok and like I can do something and I live for those moments. I live for what boats give me, and I’d forgotten quite how amazing they are.

My fellow third wheel wants to get back into sailing so much more, and has said that he will keep me company if I want to go out on the boat but not just alone with my dad. Everything works out in the end. I have the best friends.

Please excuse my patheticness. It’s never the huge great big issues that get to me, it’s the little stuff that is juuuuust enough to push me over the edge.

No way but through though, I guess.


2 thoughts on “The Day I Needed And The Things I Didn’t

    • My dad has had the boat for longer than I’ve been alive. It used to be his home. There’s no way he could afford one now, they were much cheaper 30 years ago but I do know how amazingly lucky we are. I did smile today, and you frequently make me smile, it is an ability you already possess 😊. Thank you I am too!


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