There But Not There

The people that know me and interact with me often remark that I always seem attuned to people and my environment. They remark about how I know so much about certain things, that I have clearly experienced a lot and retained the benefit of this experience. My awareness of matters is high and it is often commented on how I am able to “plug in” to something and instantly understand it, know how it works and what to do. Whether it is a meeting, discussion or event, I always fit in. I am not going to disagree with those comments.

Let us imagine that you are a massive football (soccer for our transatlantic cousins) fan. I listen to how you analyse a forthcoming match and discuss the impact of an expensive new signing. I carefully pay attention as you detail how the opposition centre-half is weak on short passes played into the penalty area. I see your eyes widen and light up with interest as you debate these issues with fellow fans. I make a careful note of what is said by you and the others and store it so that I can regurgitate it later to someone else who is similarly interested in football and pass it off as my own knowledge and observations. I do this with conviction so that nobody recognises that these comments are not my own. I spent the morning before the match that we are attending, reading the sport sections of two quality newspapers and also the satellite broadcaster’s webpage for the match, along with other bits and pieces from around the internet in order to assemble my knowledge for this, our first match together. I knew from your social media postings that you are a passionate fan of this team and as I targeted you I pretended I was as well. I managed to recall key trophies the team had won and recent events from the football club’s website to enable me to demonstrate I was also a committed fan. In the course of the discussion with you and your friends who are also die-hard fans I trot out a piece I memorised from a football writer, tweaking it here and there to give it a ring of authenticity as I explain how the captain, sorry our captain, needs a holding midfielder alongside him to allow him to venture further forward and play key balls to the lone man up front. You all nod in agreement showing admiration in my knowledge despite it being acquired elsewhere. I feel the fuel flowing.

I attend the match with you and see how excited you are by the occasion. Your conversation speeds up as you talk about the team the manager has selected. The smell of beer and hot dogs and pies mixes together on the concourse, heightening the occasion as the singing from the away fans drifts from inside the stadium. An event like this assails the senses. The press of the crowd as it makes its way inside seems to lend energy to you and your pace quickens, causing me to have to speed up to ensure I am not left behind. Once in our seats your face shows how you are eagerly anticipating the game, the chanting and shouting already loud, bouncing around the stadium and competing with the delivery of the pa announcer. All around me I can see nervous anticipation, bullish enthusiasm and well-founded confidence. I listen to the chants so I learn the words enabling me to join in. I watch you as you crane forward in your seat, eyes fixed on the unfolding match, fists clenched and repeated utterances issued loudly to urge your team on. I mimic your exhortions and body language, leaning towards the pitch and then jumping up as your team, now our team, opens the scoring. You hug me and I return the hug, jumping up and down in a replica of the delight that washes across the home crowd. The taunting chants aimed at the opposition ring out and I readily join in, gesturing towards the disconsolate faces in the adjoining stand. A second goal is scored, this time from the cries of delight and the conjoining of profanity and blasphemy the goal is clearly of both quality and importance.

“That puts us on top of the league on goal difference,” you explain as if you are able to see that I am wondering why there is such a heightened reaction to this second goal. I know however that you are not wondering that at all. I know that you are thrilled that I am embracing with such enthusiasm the match, sharing the main passion in your life. I join in with the cheers, the shouting, the cries of frustration and disappointment, the barracking of the referee when he makes a poor decision and ensure I am fully integrated with the experience. I look around me watching the passion, the hope, the fury and the delight etched on the other supporters. The stadium is a cauldron of noise and emotion. I am plugged into this experience alongwith fifty five thousand other people. I can see the emotions are raw and visceral, even primitive.

I see all of this around me yet I feel none of it. I merely mimic everyone else in order to fit in. I am attached to the experience but I feel nothing. I am completely detached from it. All it does is serve  a purpose to enable me to create and build bridges and ties with you. I can see how it all affects you, it is clear to see. I am there yet I am not. I am connected yet removed. This is how it feels, or rather, this is how it does not.

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58 thoughts on “There But Not There”

  1. Lol. I hate sports so I can totally relate to pretending to be enjoying it to fit in. I feel absolutely nothing but you will find me woot hooting at a boring baseball or football game.

    But to go through life like that…WOW.

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  2. Thank you for your insights; we don’t know each other, but you’ve described the devil in my life, now departed (hopefully for good) perfectly. You’ve given me peace after much confusion and anxiety. Thank you, once again.

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  3. Absolutely fascinating post, HG. Boggles my mind, actually. Question for you, sir – Is everything always about achieving fuel? If you attended an event that interested you, such as a book signing by a favourite author, or front row seats at a concert of a group you enjoy. Or even a stroll along the beach on a warm summer day. Would you experience your own joy from being at the event? Would that be fun/exciting on it’s own? Would it make you happy and content?

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    1. It is always about the fuel. As mentioned in an earlier answer, if I am feeling fuelled I can sit and enjoy the sunset and appreciate that it is beautiful. If someone comes along whilst I am admiring it and there is a chance to gather fuel then I will take it. The book signing would provide me with fuel even if I was feeling fuelled already since my association with the favourite author and him or her signing my book and saying hello etc would provide me with fuel.

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  4. I recognize this completely. I changed schools twice growing up. Once in middle school and again high school. I clearly remember going through the motions learning every aspect of Duran Duran to fit in with one crowd. Learning about all aspects of an extracurricular school activity not exactly because I was dying to experience that but to be around a group of popular girls to help me fit in the new school. It was exhausting. I remember researching topics to have something knowledgeable or witty to contribute to conversations. It feels like even though being right next to these people engaging with them, you are encased in a transparent bubble keeping you different from them and also distant.
    That feeling never quite leaves but as growing older, I became content to just take on new situations and experiences in the moment I’m doing them. Some things I may like, some I may not, but I’ll still appreciate the time spent with the person showing it to me. It’s so much more comfortable. So much less energy exerted. But deep down I always have that new girl feeling lingering too.

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    1. That’s an interesting admission and behaviour that I suspect others may engage in. Presumably when you met the crowd at one school you would always ask, ” Please, please tell me now, is there something I should know?”

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      1. Why yes! Don’t say a prayer for me now. Save it for the morning after. There’s a Wild Boy a calling…
        Ha!

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    2. M.,

      I was a “Duranie”, too! lol You should see my vinyl collection!!!

      I come from a divorced home. My mother left my father when I was 7…and we seemed to always be on the move after that. I changed schools a lot….so, I still have that “new girl” feeling in “new” situations.

      My mother met another man when I was in middle school, and my life stabilized again (he bought her a home and took care of us). It wasn’t until high school that I started to bloom and fit in!

      These days I can command a room when I enter….but sometimes I still feel “new” in groups of women. I think that is why I usually prefer the company of men… most of my close friends are men…

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      1. Hey T,

        That “new girl” feeling never changes either no matter how old you get. It served me well also about 12 years ago I was a Marketing and Trade Show Specialist for a nationwide law firm that did work for insurance companies. I would frequently get compliments on making people feel at ease immediately upon meeting them and getting them to laugh.
        On a side note, I’m guessing we’ll have to play some Duran Duran and Depeche Mode for #TeamTudor2016…maybe throw in some U2 and INXS? Lol

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  5. Are there no activities/hobbies that make you giddy? Elated? Excited to share with a person you admire (parent, mentor, friend)?

    Very few people genuinely feel joy for others’ accomplishments, sadly. They likely feel pride when their child accomplishes something great. But few people actually light up with joy to hear a friend’s good news, or share their excitement, and that’s a sad realization. I do get genuinely excited to hear th interesting accomplishments of my peers; I feel almost defensive about it, bc it is so rare, many people distrust it (assume I have a hidden agenda). Even when organizing a charity event, most people are suspicious, waiting to hear “the catch”.

    So, do Ns get genuinely excited about their own (non-manipulated) achievements? Look forward to things (other than defeating people)? Do they ever gravitate toward feel-good people without intending to destroy them? Or is everyone just a target waiting its turn to be pounced upon? Are there people you genuinely have fun with, enjoy, like? What about your family? Do you feel content to be around them, go home?

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    1. I don’t feel giddy (are you from the north of England by the way?) or elated or excited to share. I enjoy certain activities but they will always be linked to the necessity of obtaining fuel. I have mentioned before that if I feel fuelled I can engage in something and enjoy it without the need to obtain fuel through it.
      I think you are right about how most people do not feel genuine joy about other people’s accomplishments. They may do if they have a vested interest or they will benefit from the outcome but often I suspect people feel a degree of jealousy oras you say they await the “catch”. I would not say I get excited about non-manipulated achievements, but rather it is the sensation of power that comes from, for example winning at sport, achieving the top billing in the month and so on. We don’t intend to destroy people as we want to be able to come back for more fuel. Everything is linked to fuel so I cannot say if I enjoy somebody’s company in isolation because I will be drawing fuel at the same time. As for my family, well, one of my brothers is decent enough, the rest of them are liars and schemers who are trying to cause me problems, not that they will succeed of course.

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      1. (Chuckling): When you say “liars and schemers” do you mean it? The Ns I know grumble and feel chafed when the rule-followers in their midst try to expose the truths to the lies they have told. The way you describe your sibs as “lying and scheming” sounds exactly like (what I thought was) paranoid ramblings of my N, but was ultimately the rule-followers trying to “out” him.

        So there is no elation, euphoria, glee, giddiness (not from N England)? Not even as a child? It feels so good! Is it a mental block, maybe, since you try to guard your true inner feelings? I haven’t come across the passage where you wrote of your catalysts yet.

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      2. Of course I mean it. Nearly all of them are liars. I know their game.
        I try not to remember too much from childhood but recently this is proving more difficult.

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      3. I bet more childhood memories are creeping in, especially with the baby / toddler discussion this weekend. Like finding out you were locked in your room, that really stayed in my mind. Several years ago, it was discovered a student in the 2nd or 3rd grade at my daughter’s school, was locked in their room from the time they got home from school until in the evening for bed. I believe bathroom breaks were also limited. DCFS was called in and the child was put in foster care. I’m sure there were more details, but they were sealed.
        With some of your upcoming books that will involve opening up about your childhood, have there been more sessions with Dr. E and Dr. O to prepare for that?

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      4. I know you don’t feel sadness or remorse. However viewing childhood memories that could be painful now seeing them through an adult lens with life experience and other points of reference such as seeing a person’s reaction to something done to you with shock and dismay, that as a child you thought was just normal, do you feel any kind of sadness, or maybe grief for part maybe some loss of innocece too soon from your childhood? Is that a core source of your buried fury?

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  6. Hi HG

    But I thought you were a passionate football fan?you really dont feel your heart coming out of your chest when your team makes a goal? Or hits the pole? Or anger rising when the referee is unfair ?
    Football is where all the emotions and passion comes out of a person?
    Itd pure Adrenalin, a victory in a final in between 2 local teams ( enemy for ever 😂), its like going to heaven and back. A one time experience. I feel my heart accelerate a little a little as I write.
    And those beuatiful goals designed by the best players ( special players) that sometimes come out of the nothing and there it is GOOOOOOOOOL!!!!! Are you really not feeling bursting out of you??
    If I think well. When my local team or my national team plays I display raw and intense pation and emotions, automatically. It just comes.
    I thought your team winnimg could be fuel for you. Its your team 😂😂😂.
    So if once you are interested in discussing with me about soccer … Football.
    Then my team is called El Glorioso Deportivo Cali. The players I admire was the soulmate team Carlos Valderrama and Bernardo Redin had made, they were one for each other and made the team champion in several occassions. It was amazing how those two understood each other and were like 2 people playing as one.
    The magic and fun of Rene Higuita and a raising and descending star of James Rodriguez is a highly discussed subject at the moment 😂😂.
    I totally love it!! ❤️

    Have a nice day ☀️☀️

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    1. Hello, I do enjoy watching football and always have, I played a lot as well,but what I like best about it is the potential to gather fuel. Don’t call it soccer, it is football. We invented it so it is known as football. Valderrama and Higuita are certainly characters and entertaining to watch. Mind you, you don’t want to score an own goal for Colombia though do you?

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  7. I got carried away speaking about soccer. Now back to the subject. I suppose its then okay not to feel or to feel detached. Its you and how you are.
    I suppose this is a bahaviour you cant train or change right? Do you think this is part of the brain wiring? And you were born like this? N3 was also like that. Exactly like you.
    He mimicked me once and thaf was the day I met him in a Dec 31 party and then never again he was lije he was thaf day… I already had that in mind… And he had already told me of how he felt happiness… Or better said how he did not feel happiness… Or both.
    So I suppose it is permanent.
    maybe you can expand a little more if you have gone over this with the doctors?
    Its interesting. I wonder if all Ns are like that or there are others which are feeling those extreme emotions.

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  8. 🙁 you dont have to mention that. That hurts. Mind you this is like devaluation for me 🙁 your comment. It was copa America. Hits right in the heart.
    I also played football during university. There was a girls team.
    And yes I can imagine its a potential to gather fuel.

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  9. I googled the meaning of squashed under a boot but did not find anything and dont understand because usually its to smallef people you would say that no?? Sorry did not understand…

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    1. You wrote 1.78 cm when you meant 1.78 m. So yes, that is why I wrote that you would be squashed under a boot as 1.78cm is rather small ! You are 5ft 10 inches in proper measurements so that is quite tall for a lady so no wonder you played as the goal keeper. Now, where are my boots? I have some squashing to do.

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  10. Hahahaha how tall are you?? Most of the brits here are smaller than me…. I can tell you. And I wear high heels to work !!! So mainly I am from 1.83 to 1.88. Want still to look for the boots?

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      1. Hmm, 6″1 isnt’t very tall for a man… thank God there are some girls out there who know how to make you sweat! :-9

        I’m 1.79 m by the way.

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      2. I’m a little over 5’6. I always wear heels 4-5 inches in height! My preference in height in men is over 6’…..so this works well for both of us!

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  11. Yes something like 6 or 6.1″” without the layer . 😂😂😂 but so high heels are rare nowadays, i have few only, so lets say Im smaller but not enough for the boots 😜

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  12. I can relate somewhat to what you wrote above in that often, I take it what is going on around me and watch how it affects/impacts others, etc. but can`t seem to tap in to what they are feeling, hearing, sensing, etc.

    You`re faking it, mimicking, etc. I do the same thing, especially when I simply don`t give a damn about what others are saying to me or trying to get me excited about.

    I`m good at it – I always react exactly the way I`m “supposed” to react, but in reality, I feel absolutely nothing other than annoyance that I’m being forced to feign interest or empathy, etc.

    The more I read about you, the more you seem, to me, to be a sociopath, and yet you use the word “narcissist” to describe yourself. I am curious – have your doctors labeled you a sociopath (if you’re going to use labels, that one is so much more exciting than narcissist)?

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  13. Nikita – you got defensive when I posted my comment.

    It does seem entirely pointless to me to tell him he hurt you, when you know A) he doesn’t care; and B) you’re giving into his demand for fuel by letting him know he hurt you.

    I’m not saying you need to refrain from saying anything, I’m just stating the obvious.

    If anything, telling him he hurt you could possible open up the door for more hurt, in which case, it is impossible for me to feel bad if HG’s comments cause any more damage since you basically invited the assault.

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    1. Bloodandthehunter

      As I view it through my world , I tell him it hurts and he stops doing it. I can only do things how I view them through my world independent of how other people will react.
      And in fact he did stop because we have other cases with those type of sad goals  . So you are not totally right.
      If he would have liked to continue or I would have triggered more assault he could have continued with Andres Escobar etc etc.

      Maybe he can answer us why he did not continue devaluing me with the mistakes of my beloved national football team.

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