It’s All In The Eyes

One of the changes I’ve noticed in myself over the past year is a sudden inability to look people in the eye.

I still do it, a little bit. But I am absolutely certain that I never used to have such a large degree of trepidation when I was talking to people. Even people I know, friends, family. I can’t look at them for more than a second before before I’m having to look away.

I think a large part of it is down to my collapsing self-confidence over the last year. Confidence that has been knocked again and again because of my continual feelings of inadequacy. That I’m not achieving the life I thought I would. That I was promised going to university and getting a good degree would set me down the path of a really good life.

Unfortunately, none of that has happened. It’s been, as I have chroniced tirelessly since June last year, a complete failure. I had such high hopes, and high expectations on my shoulders, and none of it has come to pass.

That must have taken its toll on me. I can’t even look people like my mum and dad in the eye for very long any more. They can be trying to talk seriously to me, but I can’t bear to look for long. I feel like I don’t want to acknowledge their presence. If they look me in the eyes for too long, I fear they’ll see right through me and notice that I’m, these days, incredibly close to tears at the plight of this ridiculous situation I’m in.

It might improve, but I’ve been saying that all year. My business has struggled badly since I moved away, which has been a major disappointment. I really thought that working with my housemate would make all the difference, but it hasn’t. It has gone nowhere. All his ideas and promises have come to nothing. I’ve had two customers here in nearly a month. That’s not going to sustain £700/month living costs.

So what am I supposed to do? As I’ve scrawled a million times before, I really want to run a business. I don’t want to work for other people. But maybe I have to.

But to work for others, and to get through interviews, I’d need to dredge up some confidence from somewhere.

And when you’re at rock bottom after 18 months of near inactivity, that’s pretty damn hard. If you can’t bear to look people in the eye, they’re not going to trust you. That’s difficult for me right now.

I’m going to give it till Christmas. Then I’ll decide what to do.

One Week On, One Week Off

After a week spent back in the family home, it’s almost time for it to end once more. For another week.

This continual process of one week here, one week in my supposed new home is a bit ridiculous really. It’s far more than I expected. I thought maybe I’d come home for a couple of days at most. But the way it works out, there really is no other way to do it. It’s not advisable for me to buy a ticket for my return until I’m home, because things can change rapidly.

For instance, I came back last Saturday, knowing I had work to take me through to Tuesday. But on the Monday the regular job I do at a school encountered some extra problems and asked me to come in again to help clear the backlog. So I did, and in fact spent the entire day there yesterday. More money for me.

I’ve no idea whether I would have made enough, or even anything, had I been living in my other home. I have had two phone calls since I started with small local ads, but one of them I couldn’t do anyway and the other was kind enough to wait until next week. So I haven’t missed out on too much.

But when I get back I’m going to give a fair old crack at the leafleting campaign. Or rather, a letter. It might have a better response rate. Plus, the content is better anyway than the last leafletting I did around here, which was a bit of a disaster.

That’s tomorrow. The past week has, as usual, flown by, even though I haven’t really been doing all that much. Did some housework for my parents. Had some work, as I said… but otherwise it’s just been me, my laptop and the BBC iPlayer. Anything to avoid having to watch I’m A Celebrity, which my family have lapsed into watching. Not good at all.

I was hoping to have a bit more work to do, but unfortunately my almost useless housemate has once again said he would be either a) getting some new clients for me and; b) doing a website design ready for me to code. Unfortunately, neither of this has happened. I’m now beginning to take everything he says with a massive pinch of salt. There’s almost no other way to keep my levels of disappointment down.

But today… there is something a little different. An old friend of mine is coming here as he wants me to do him a favour: watch him give a presentation. He needs some feedback for it, as he’s soon going to be giving it live in a university masters interview. Always nice to help out, and in any case it’s nice to still have some friends who don’t only exist in Facebookland…

Getting Closer

This past week has made a big difference to life in the new home.

On Tuesday, after much distress, we finally got the phone line and broadband installed. That makes things so much easier. No more trips to the library, suffering terrible computers and watching the clock count down till it threw me off.

But yesterday, something just as good as that occured.

We got a shower installed. A proper shower, with real water pressure.

And it works so good. Even better than the one at my Northern home.

I’ve been desperate for the new shower to appear, largely because I’ve been having to have baths, which I hate because of the huge amount of time they take in comparison to a shower.

But something the other day made it worse. I was leaning forward to wash my hair – as you do when you don’t have any form of object to get the water from the bath up to your head – threw the water around, then opened my eyes to a rather unusual amount of red in the water.

I was, quite literally, having a bloodbath.

My nose is quite feeble even at the best of times. There’s obviously a dodgy artery up there. But leaning forward clearly provoked it and the consequences were not pretty.

At least there won’t be any more of that.

And even better, now that I’ve got a real shower, I’ve been able to cut my hair. Yes, I’m still cutting my own hair. It’s the only way to save money. Those clippers I bought five years ago have proved to be a wise investmenet. Plus, I always feel like I give myself a better haircut than the barber ever did. That’s quite something when you consider that cutting my own hair involves razors, the bathroom mirror and another handheld one.

In sum though, all of this has made me feel a lot better. My new life is still very much moving slowly into existence, with no progress on the business yet, but I have a feeling it won’t be long now. I’ve got a lot of ideas ready to deploy once my new printer arrives – which should be today.

Only one problem… I’m going back home again tomorrow. The nightmare five hour train journey awaits, with four changes. So the business is going to have to be delayed again. I was originally getting a lift home with my housemate tonight, but he’s now decided he doesn’t need to travel North. Fortunately, there were still cheap tickets available, so it’s not hurt me too much.

Anyway, life goes on. And at least I now have things to do to while away these tedious work-free days…

Still At Home

It’s now been a week since I was in my supposed new home down South.

I came back last Friday because I had some work back here. That plan worked out nicely, and I have had several things that have earned me some money. That’s more that can be said for life in my accommodation.

But now I’m in this position where I’m starting to think, well, should I go back at all. Of course, it’s a silly thing to say, because I have to go back. After all, I’m handing over the best part of £600 a month just for the place and all the bills, and I’m not even there.

But if I had the choice right now, I would choose not to bother. Firstly, I’ve grown to doubt the business proposition, largely because I believe I’ve been led up the garden path by my housemate. He assured me that he would be able to get enough work from his web design angle, but nothing has materialised. He also keeps raising my hopes that he may have found me some work via his extensive network of contacts, but it never actually appears. That is frustrating.

So I’m prepared to go it all on my own, and one day I will. When I finally get back down there and get things moving.

Another reason why I’m not impressed with life down there is my utter lack of social interaction. When I’m someone who struggles with this anyway, life has become a disaster if the only person I speak to in a day is my housemate. He’s OK, but is probably the world’s worst listener. I don’t feel comfortable discussing anything with him, as invariably the conversation turns back to his life and the wonderful things he’s achieved.

It might help if I had a working phone line, as that way I could keep in touch with life at home better. But the farce over the phone/internet installation is long and continuing. They still haven’t put the wires in outside the house, and if they haven’t before Tuesday it will mean further delay, as that’s when they’re supposed to be coming out to do it. Only they can’t do it if the preliminary work hasn’t been done outside the house.

Next, there is the general logistical problem with travel. If I really am going to come home every two weeks, the bills are going to be large. But not only is the cost high, but the problem of the travel itself is a nightmare. At both ends, the houses are 20 minutes walk from the station. 20 minutes carrying a heavy bag and a laptop. Then a hellish 4.5 hour journey. Crazy. I wish I’d thought of it more before I agreed to the move.

Finally, there is just the general cost of living down there. At least while I’m here, sponging off my parents again, I’m not having to pay anything to live. Not ideal. But it’s better than the large sums of money I seemed to be handing over all the time for my food in the new house. Sharing the shopping bills appears to be a loser for me, as my housemate eats far more than I do, and has terrible habits of buying things that he’s never going to use just because they’re on offer. Which in turn go in the bin.

There are many problems in my life at the moment, and I have no real clue how I’m going to solve them.

Same as it ever was, it seems.