When I was about 17-18, I lived with my father for a short period of time. The previous two years or so had been terribad, with me as the only child being caught in the middle of an exceptionally messy divorce situation. I won’t go into it into too much depth, but it should suffice to say that the first time I knew I’d have peace properly from this all was when I was stood watching my mother’s coffin sink into the ground over 20 years later.
Yet throughout, I still found it within me the capacity to love them both dearly. Sometimes it meant me going over the edge and doing things which I shouldn’t have, in all honesty, been doing. Other times it meant retreating and having friends fight my battles.
The one time that is truly etched into my mind as a moment of unbelieveable mindfuckery though is my father coming into my bedroom when I lived with him, in the foulest of foul tempers, and telling me that my mother was dead.
The other night when I was wearing my GM hat I caught myself stooping to pretty much the same level of fuckwittage with something I said in a pique. And while the comment I’d made was ignored by a couple of folk who knew I’d not stoop to those levels, it caught someone else too, who didn’t. And then still in the pique, I didn’t do anything to redeem my behaviour but instead acted in temper.
I’m not proud of myself for either of those moments.
In retrospect I don’t think my father ever remembered his true moment of fuckwittery or thought that what he said to me at the time was that big a deal. And I know that my mother never realised she was doing anything wrong. For her the idea of me keeping her remarrying secret from my father wasn’t a big deal.
For me, the biggest ongoing fight throughout my life has been trying my damndest not to behave like either of them did. To recognise when I DO make mistakes, and to be as open minded as I can where possible. To learn from what I do wrong, and try to better myself by doing so. And to not be so proud I can’t apologise for my own mistakes.
The other night was a major mistake on my part, and I sincerely apologise to all those involved.
I also want to remember this because I don’t want to repeat that mistake. Philip Larkin, your poem may be spot on, but I’d damned if I’m not going to fight against being fucked up in my turn!