They Fuck You Up

Tuesday 9 September, 2003

I woke up with a very stiff back. It was hard work getting up off the floor. At my counselling appointment, I talked about how I was born into an environment where my parents were unhappy and arguing. I must have thought ‘Fuck this, I’m off back where I came from’, because I stopped breathing. Literally. An emergency operation meant I survived, so maybe it was then that I decided to live and sort myself out. I still closed down a lot so as not to see what was going on around me, until such a time as I could deal with it. That time is now.

I also talked about being heartbroken and confused when I was 15 years old because my girlfriend finished with me after I told her I loved her. And what support did I receive from my father? Nothing. His girlfriend had ended their relationship too, and he was far too busy having a nervous breakdown. He was no help at all. In fact, in a way, you could say he was competing with me, much as sibling might, rather than behaving as a parent or, dare I say it, a role model. I remember walking to the hospital one day to visit him in the day centre, wishing he were dead.

After the counselling appointment, I roamed aimlessly around the shops. In the bookstore I looked at a book about families called, ‘They Fuck You Up’ (the title is taken from the Philip Larkin poem, ‘This Be The Verse‘.) The title felt very apt and the book seemed like something I would like to read, but only so I can shout at people who have children, or at my own parents. So I put it down. Nonetheless, here is the original poem:

This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

Philip Larkin

I rested when I returned to the house. I could barely walk by the time I got back: pain in my back and left leg, and no energy. My left leg seems to be doing different things to the rest of my body. I don’t know whether the nerve is waking up or going to sleep again. I also have pain in my groin.

I typed up the last two days of my appraisal/to-do list. It’s all I can do at the moment. I have no motivation to do anything else, although I did manage to do a few exercises in the front room. When I do them they don’t seem to make any difference although they are tough, but afterwards – even after only 20 minutes – I felt revitalised. Moreover, the feeling my body sends my brain is a healthy one rather than a painful one.

Karaj and I talked in the sunken garden. The two of us need to go away for a few days to discuss the future. Maybe work together in Germany? After a short break, I hung out the washing, prepared food for Priya, tidied and washed up. Ishwar arrived to pick up his reports and we agreed on the fact that when irritated with work or life we need to take a step back and look at the long-term view.

At 21:00 I welcomed Priya. She arrived just as Ishwar was leaving. I had hoped to avoid her. She disappeared into the garden as I got her food ready. Karaj took it down to her and told me he will keep her out of my way. I ate supper and went upstairs to sleep. I couldn’t be bothered to start any accounts work and didn’t want to stay downstairs because Priya irritates the fuck out of me.

Summary: It was a useful meeting with the counsellor this morning, but the rest of the day was just an irritation, although I enjoyed the physical work this evening of clearing up and cooking the food.


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