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.

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.

Paper Man

It’s been a disappointing week, on the whole, largely due to the rapidly becoming obvious realisation that the classified ad in the local paper isn’t going to work. Yes, I should give it a chance, but we’re now into the second week and still no phone calls. Not even a joke one. I can’t believe that no one has a broken computer. More likely people just haven’t seen the ad. So now I’m beginning to wonder what my next step should be.

In the meantime, however, there have been plenty of distractions, so much so that I’m beginning to think time is accelerating. I simply can’t believe that it’s been two weeks since my mum’s birthday, and our little outing to Pizza Hut for a fabulous family meal, involving huge quantities of pizza, drinks and dessert for £45. And all thanks to a little discount voucher I got. 

Yes, it’s surprising me just how quickly these past few weeks have gone considering I’m doing absolutely nothing all day every day. Well, nothing is relative, I suppose. To me I’m doing nothing because I have no job or no work. But somehow I always seem to find something to do that will help me pass the time quickly.

It’s remarkable really. For instance, the past couple of weeks my brother has started doing a paper round. This ain’t no ordinary paper round though, because you drum up your own customer business, and then collect the money yourself. It’s almost like we’re a newsagent, and we get a weekly bill direct from the paper to pay. 

The consequence of all this is that, frequently, my brother is unable to do the paper round for whatever reason, be it an after school football match, or just can’t drag himself out of bed in time on a Saturday morning. So I volunteer to go and do it. And then I help him with the money collection, and then administer the paying of the money and the movement of funds to and from various different weekly collections as it goes to the bank or to my brother as his wages.

Something to do, I guess. Not very stimulating, but, in many respects, it makes me self-employed. Which is what I’ve told the taxman. So I’m not lying after all. Shame also that this, just like the so called business I’m running presently, is making me no money.

Going out to deliver the papers is probably the weirdest part though. Everyone expects paper boys to be young. You don’t often see a paper man. I look bloody stupid with my fluorescent bag, filled to the brim with cheaply printed local, parochial news, resulting in horrendously inky fingers by the time you’ve finished. The key is to remember not to touch your face at all while you’re out, or you’ll end up looking rather stupid. 

But a job’s a job and you just gotta get on with it. At least I’m getting out of the house and doing stuff. These days, I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever achieve anything with my life. So much potential, so much talent. Wasted. Crazy.