Wendy left the other day, as in for good. She didn’t approve, and couldn’t relate to, me having various online conversations with various people ( the only ones she actually objected to were the ones with females, she was fine with the others. The conversations were jokey, lighthearted, irreverent and contained ‘ banter ‘, as has always been my nature )
She gave me a pretty hard time for a while and I assured her ( truthfully ) that I’m by nature a sociable and gregarious guy, and because I now don’t have the options of going cycling or running or kayaking etc, and I don’t live with a partner or friends, or my children, and there are no venues open to visit, and I can’t go to the shops because I’m ‘ vulnerable ‘, I now spend more time chatting online ( which I regard as better than just watching telly, particularly in the current social lockdown )
Wendy took her thoughts to two Facebook ‘ friends ‘ who have never met me or know anything about me. Their conclusion? That I was way out of order, and was quite obviously’ seeking validation’ from other women…. which in The High Court of Facebook is a pretty damning indictment. It is the same apparently as being unfaithful, and playing your partner along until someone better comes along.
Ohhhh I see. Very helpful Your Honours…. thanks for such a constructive sentence.
You see, there is very much another, and far more factual side to this.
What happens when you go from prime physical Alpha Male to wheelchair bound cripple is that you feel invalid, as in NOT VALID. It’s obviously no coincidence that the very word is used to describe people like me. In France the disabled parking spots are reserved for Les Invalides ..
A friend of mine wants to canoe in the Yukon1000 race next year. He’s asked me for my advice ( as a former winner ). My reaction? Do I feel it’s a bit of a nuisance, that I’ve been ‘ consulted ‘ ? Would I rather not be bothered by his questions? No … I actually feel GRATEFUL that I’m of use to someone, because most of the time I feel invalid and pointless. Just people actually wanting to chat to me, I feel grateful for. It’s ‘ a problem ‘ you could say, borne of a massively confidence crippling injury. And I can’t see my self image improving, ever. As I age, it’ll probably just get worse.
It’s going to become a big problem shortly. With mass unemployment looming all over the Western World will come massive psychological trauma too. People that considered themselves an integral part of the companies that they worked for will suddenly be let go. They will be deemed surplus to the company requirement, and therefore invalid to the business. Why me, will be a very common reaction, surely I’m essential, surely I’m VALID. But no, you aren’t mate. You are being discarded.
After my injury and the ensuing huge effects on me I became surplus to the requirements of the business I jointly started, I became surplus to my wife and kids, and gradually but steadily I became invalid to lots of people I called friends ( not necessarily shunned, but just ‘ peripheralise’d ‘ )
When you can’t partake ‘ normally’ in stuff, you stop getting invited. Lots of people will shortly understand how that feels. Someone you know loses his job. Oh dear, you think. Some time later you want to go to an expensive restaurant. You think of your mate ( now jobless ) and you think ‘ shit, he probably can’t afford to come now, as money will be tight, and I don’t want to ask him and put him in the position of saying he can’t afford it. And what if he thinks I can contribute to his costs ?! I don’t want that situation, so I’ll not ask him, it’s easier all round ‘. To you it’s no big deal, you go anyway with some other people. But to the guy that used to get invites it’s a really sad thing. Maybe he can afford it. He can’t work out why he’s getting ignored now…. and feels unwanted and invalid to both his former employees and now his mates too ? Result – depression ( and confusion, then resentment )
And the effect of this on me?
Well I feel more INVALID than ever.
Thanks High Court of Facebook. Seeking validation? Me? Yep, you got that verdict right. But the sentence, that was a carriage of misjustice.
See.. my Ex girlfriend… well, she just didn’t understand me… and all the significant good aspects and two way help we’ve given each other became invalid.
What a shame.