Amsterdam alone…

I’ve taken the pills and now I am hoping for better to brew in me. Hoping well again will come quickly.

I’m waiting to be waiting for my next plane so I thought I would take you for a walk through my balmy Amsterdam night before I drag you off to stickier climes.

You’ll have to set the scene a little. The canals hold in the city’s spills, soak up its excesses. The water, black and dense, shakes the reflected light off and up onto cobbled pavements to be trodden under foot like last week’s flyers. 

The narrow streets are heavy with tourists, plump in khakis and prints; holding hands a little more than usual as if to justify their too eager eyes peering into the red lit windows. The bored girls pout and primp and smoke. Zoo animals with nictotine and bikinis.

The gaudy neon jabber of ten tongues mixed ebbs and flows, a backing track to the talk of tiny dramas – the shy stag, the teenager, the brash rugby boyos necking down bravado with their beers.

This is a strange place, full of intimacy grown a little crass and chilly with over exposure. It is a place to be alone in a crowd and I am alone. On this night I choose that for myself, picked it out like a dress saved for a special occaision. I committed to it, promised it to myself, my date with me.

You see I am usually the kind of person who could make friends in a morgue and my job, my life, is often a bit like an extended stint in the Big Brother house without the hold out hope of early eviction. It sometimes seems that the rest of the world is inescapable.

I don’t think I have a problem with being on my own but it occurred to me that me and I are really alone so rarely that I’m not quite sure. My alone usually morphs into random conversations, assignations with people I kind of sort of know or stumbled upon support sessions, heart to hearts with total strangers.

What can I say? I have a heart that likes to give itself away. I like it like that but I sometimes forget to save some me for myself. I forget to think of how much me I might need for a rainy day.

In my non-relationships the story is sometimes the same. Single is a slide on a spectrum, not a statement I would sign up to in court. But don’t quote me on that!

I bemoan the lack of the kind of relationship I would like but lately I’ve been wondering whether I really have room for it, whether I fill my life with too much this and that to leave any space for the other.

Last night was the first step in my experiment with me – just a beer out all alone. Its a thing I’ve never done in all my wanderings. I was always told its a thing nice girls never do but finally it dawned on me that I have never wanted to be that kind of nice girl. I just want to be myself.

So I stood a in bar that looked like a sea shanty sprung from a can, (perhaps decorated by a bulk buy from a catalogue called ‘old ship shit’) and watched the world go by. It was a funny place to try and find a little authenticity.

But it was a good date, I liked the company. I may even try for a second.

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3 Responses to Amsterdam alone…

  1. Ah, how wonderful to find the time for and enjoyment of yourself. You reminded me of two quotes I like: “It is of practical value to learn to like yourself. Since you spend so much time with yourself you might as well get some satisfaction out of the relationship.” – Norman Vincent Peale; “I don’t need a man to rectify my existence. The most profound relationship we’ll ever have is the one with ourselves” – Shirley MacLaine.

    I think it is empowering to actively give that relationship space, rather than only passively fall back on it when there happens to be no one else around.

    I hope you feel better very soon!

  2. The T says:

    oooh…going to amsterdam to help find yourself… interesting…when most people go to amsterdam to lose themselves in external forces… dangerous….honestly dangerous…

    T.

    • Hello hello, it was exactly planned truth be told – now having gone Amsterdam, Istanbul, Karachi, Dhaka in 24 hours I’ll be glad to find a bed… my sense of self can wait a few hours 🙂

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