About pharaoh66

Autistic. Aspergers, Anhedonia, Dysthymia, Alexithymia. Depression, Anxiety. Diabetic. Fibromyalgia. Loves to travel, fascinated by Snakes.

Weevil under the sun

Can I go back please?

Strange as it might seem, I’m not a sun worshipper. My mother was and my father wasn’t immune to it’s charms when it came to lazy days upon Cornish beaches and my sister enjoyed it before her accident meant that even an English summer made her uncomfortable.

But give me a foreign sun, give me something to see beneath a sun that blazes far hotter than its English counterpart, and I’ll stand about and fry gently for several hours.

I have grown to equate an English heat with overcrowded Cornish beaches, that mad dash to the coast the moment the temperature climbs to the giddy heights of fifteen, the endless succession of caravans clogging up the roads and the fact that I can’t breathe in my local town due to the sheer number of invaders….I mean tourists.

In short, hell.

A foreign heat brings the rich and exotic, the temples and palaces and forts, the smells and sights of the strange and different. Huge rivers that wend their way through diverse landscapes where the locals walk, talk, sleep and work. Temples glimpsed above leafy canopies, shining brightly in the sun and vast statues that look down upon us as we sail past.

Landscapes of waving palm trees, beautiful lush valleys filled with tea plantations, a myriad of blooms and vibrant green paddy fields.

There must be someone called Paddy Field, surely?
Better to be there…

We all look at one another when the temperature hits 20 here in the UK and exclaim it’s too hot and yet when I’m distracted and the temperature is in it’s 40s, as it has been in Egypt, then it’s barely noticeable. Foreign heat seems so much more…enjoyable, than our own.

One of the great tragedies of this pandemic, albeit one that pales by comparison to human loss, is that we have been prevented from exploring our planet. To those of us who live to travel, who get inspired by doing so and who yearn, almost to the point of heartbreak, to fly once more, lockdown has seemed almost doubly cruel. Words cannot adequately express how much I am conscious of time passing and what I am missing out on.

I miss the sun.

I miss rising early and that first blast of heat upon my skin even if it is early morning and the temperature is restrained. I miss knowing that it’s an exotic heat beating down on me and that with exotic heat comes exotic sights and experiences, the delights of something new or even familiar to witness and partake in. I miss being chilled….in the heat.

I’m hopeful, and I’m sure many are, that one day this will be behind us and I’ll feel that sun, that special sun, upon my skin once more.

But until then, under an English sun, I’ll close my eyes and allow myself to dream, of lands both old and new and pray I’ve still got time to see, feel and experience the wealth of all they have to offer.

Under their sun.

Stuck on the treadmill

I’m stuck.

Stuck on a treadmill with no off button, feeling that life doesn’t have a pause button I can press, just moving when I don’t want to.

I’m waiting.

Waiting for central hearing to be put in, for electricians to come, for test results, for what seems to be an endless list of things.

It’s like being at the eye of the storm, unmoving yet the whole world is moving around you and you feel strangely detached and set apart from all that’s happening.

But am I moving.

I don’t know. My sister has breast cancer, the cat has liver cancer, I’ve got a kidney problem…apparently..and nothing ever seems to be resolved. Not properly. Not really.

I just seem to lurch from one thing to another and try as I might, I can’t fix them. I feel strange. I feel as though my energy has dissipated and I don’t have anything left. I’m not angry but disgruntled. I’m not bitter but frustrated and yet I lack the energy to even be that.

Work is insulting me by training me to answer a phone. A phone. I’ve answered a work phone since 1986!. Perhaps I know how to do that?. It’s just another thing that adds to that sense of…fedupness that I feel.

I am discouraged. I try and edit my book but do so without enthusiasm, knowing that it’s boring having to correct so much and angry with myself for having written things so poorly to start with. I know what I’m trying to say but it’s better in my head than on the page.

I see the sun and want to travel again but know that my partners utter failure to look after herself this past year had brought on a host of medical issues we didn’t need. That will delay or destroy plans. I can barely live with the former, let alone the latter.

This is a mess.

This blog is a mess. A confused, contradictory mess.

It’s my life.

Dreaming of normality

Looks familiar?

As I look out my window this morning, the sun catches my eye. It’s a bright day, full of promise with blue sky above and a cool but not unpleasant temperature.

And when I close my eyes I’m instantly transported thousands of miles away to the early morning hustle and bustle of the buffet breakfast and the murmured ‘Good Morning’ from fellow guests.

I’m transported to a deep blue sky and the noise and the colour ; the shouts of the children as they pass, ‘Hey Mister, you okay?’ And the cheeky grin.

And I miss it.

I miss the little things. I miss the buffet breakfasts with the rather pale sausages of dubious origin, and the dish marked only as ‘foul’, the Danish pastries in lavish designs and comparing one hotel breakfast with another.

I miss comparing beds, rooms, views and the smile and nod from the cleaners as I pass them in the corridor.

I miss tiny bananas, exotic fruits and foreign versions of ‘English Fish and Chips’, nosing through hotel shops in search of lurid t-shirts and tacky fridge magnets and wondering whether it’s more advantageous to change money here or at the next hotel in case the exchange rate changes.

And I miss being free.

I miss being me, happy, chilled, excited, up for it. Being truly me, the Autistic me that revels in hotels and flights and seeing things I’ve always dreamed of seeing. The Autistic me who can drop the mask, that exhausting falseness, and just revel in the enjoyment of everything around him, even if only for a few days.

I miss being in control. Knowing a little of what I’m looking at, researching, discovering, exploring.

I miss long hot days in the sun. Good company (usually) and talk of things I understand and appreciate, mutual interests and hopes, expectations and dreams.

I miss the one thing that truly makes me happy.

I close my eyes.

I’m dreaming now, dreaming of a time when I can be free again. Dreaming of a time when I can pick up my passport and pack my case. Dreaming of normality.

I’m dreaming and yet I’m fearful. I’m hoping yet I’m scared. I’m wishing though I’m worrying.

I want to be me again. I want to be free again.

But until that day comes, I can only dream.

Towards the light

Next week.

I can imagine it already. The doors opening and a tidal wave of humanity desperate for a pair of socks and a mankini hurling themselves desperately towards the displays whilst shop staff look on in horror.

Horror. How apt.

I dread next week.

I dread the lack of sense we will show and how we will react to this new found ‘freedom’ of ours. If what I’ve heard so far comes true then I can well imagine a third wave and another lockdown will be upon us by the Autumn at the latest.

There’s a desperation. I must have a drink in a pub. I must go to the shops. Must. Must. Really? Why?. For human interaction. Really? How much human interaction is there in swiping your bank card?.

Our trouble is that we lack self control. The sun comes out and we rush to the beach, angry that a thousand others have all had the same idea yet failing miserably to understand that they have only thought the same as us. How selfish of them!.

I dread next week.

I don’t want people. I don’t want to feel unsafe as the floodgates open and the streets heave with life. I’m Autistic and I’m not a people person anyway but especially not now. It’s not as though I’ve enjoyed lockdown with its battering of my mental health and those things I look forward to, travel for instance, now under threat due to circumstances beyond my control, but people?. No, I don’t want people.

Because people don’t think and don’t care.

They want a pint and god help the man who stands in their way. They want those trousers, that book, that hair cut…the list goes on…but so will others and the release of tension, the sheer abandonment of common sense and self control is a truly scary prospect.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel but the wrong move, too fast, too many, too…stupid, and it will be extinguished.

So, towards the light we go. But I’ll hold back, I’ll bide my time and make sure the bulbs screwed in properly and the lights not flickering before I’ll venture out.

People. It’s all about people.

And I’m not sure I trust them.

The blogging conundrum

Please blog, they said.

So I did.

Only nobody read it.

But I missed it.

They said.

Because I’ve too many followers.

Oh, I said.

Trying not to feel.

Downhearted.

And then I asked myself.

Do I actually write,

Things people want to read,

Or am I dull,

Safe,

Just…

Uninspiring?,

Am I just,

Forgettable,

One of the crowd,

Lost,

In the mix?

And is it unreasonable,

Silly of me,

Vain of me,

To expect, want, need…

Interaction,

Appreciation,

Support?.

Probably.

Probably?.

Certainly.

But I blog,

And it’s not read,

By many,

And a part of me,

Is sad.

Sorry.

Challenging myself

I’m disappointed in myself.

That’s nothing new for my life is a perpetual disappointment and I am at the centre if it. Grand plans, big ideas, things I should have done; all fallen by the wayside, left in the Lay-by along life’s winding road. Discarded like some empty crisp packet.

Motivation has often been hard to come by. Perhaps I’m lazy or perhaps, and more likely, I’ve never found it easy to motivate myself to something I don’t enjoy. I write but occasionally the mood deserts me or I start and my characters annoy me or I can’t get the dialogue right or it sounds just wrong.

Having fibromyalgia is annoying as the motivation to move physically is counterbalanced by the inevitable stiffness and pain that will precede and follow my movements. And there are many days when I would rather just slump in a chair and give up rather than move.

So I’m quite often disappointed with myself and even when I do achieve, I’m never quite satisfied that I did enough or went far enough or fast enough.

Which is where virtual challenges come in.

I was on Facebook one day, minding my own business, when an advert popped up and in the advert was a picture of a shiny medal. I was intrigued and the more I read, the more intrigued I became.

Yes, there’s a cost involved and yes, you can cheat but what if you don’t? What if you actually challenge yourself to achieve something?.

Over the last few months I have climbed Mount Fuji, clambered up Mount Kilimanjaro twice, I have had two enthralling trips around the Pyramids of Giza, walked from Delhi to the Taj Mahal. I have walked around Easter Island, reached the summit of Everest and as I write this I am striding (hobbling) along Hadrian’s Wall, swimming the English Channel and having my second trek to Macchu Pichu. Oh, and I have just been to Athens and had a fantastic walk through Rome.

I may not be able to do 25km a day and some people knock these things off at a frightening pace but that doesn’t matter. It’s you, against a time frame you set and which you can test yourself against, with a lovely medal waiting for you at the end.

My second Egyptian medal

And best of all there’s a community. You cheer on others, admire their medals, offer congratulations and suggestions, support and commiserations when injury strikes.

Of course you get one or two who take it mega seriously but generally we just get along and irrespective of how long it took, or what activities you counted (You can count every step you take or specific activities towards your target), we just share in each other’s success and eagerly await the next new challenge to be announced.

And some are huge. I have done relatively modest challenges but some are over 1000Km in length and even longer. Route 66, the Cabot Trail, the Great Wall of China are of not insignificant length.

But there is that feeling of achievement, the fact that you’ve done something. Sure you can cheat and inflate the steps or you can just let your fitness app do all the work for you. I use two companies, one does it for me whilst the other I input manually. I count every step my phone or watch says I’ve done and to me that’s fair, I’ve walked those distances, no cheating, no exercise bikes nor treadmills, just one foot in front of the other.

232km and well worth it!.

You get virtual postcards, snippets of information along the way, a certificate you can print and one company even plants a tree for every 20% of the challenge you complete so I’m also contributing something in that small way.

And I’m reminded. I’m reminded of wonderful Egypt, of the beauty of the Taj, places I have been, and I’m learning about Rome, Athens, Easter Island, places I might never go to but now feel as though I have, albeit virtually.

I know they cost..it’s about £20-25 each with postage, but it’s got me moving, it’s got me travelling, even if that’s only virtually, and for me, it’s been a godsend.

So here’s to a few more. Australia perhaps, or Rio, another trip to Everest base camp, England coast to coast and who knows, perhaps one day I’ll start, and finish, Lands End to John O’Groats or something even bigger.

So it’s travel, it’s not the travel I’m used to, but it is travel.

Virtually anything is possible. Literally.

The timeless clock

I’ve lost track of time again.

Good intentions have flown out of the window and I’ve not had a chance to say goodbye before they’ve vanished.

I know what I should be doing, must be doing, could be doing …but then something tells me it’s not worth it and then it’s gone again.

Aimless hours fly past.

Or do they stop. Does time stop?. It seems that way at times, that I’m stuck in the same loop of my life, the endlessly depressing cycle of terrible familiarity that has bred utter contempt.

I look around me and nothing brings me joy, just fear. Fear that end of our predicament is in sight but that we will, as tends to happen, over indulge ourselves in senseless acts to make up for lost time and that rather than becoming a better place, we will face a time of hysterical over reaction and fevered blame.

I want no part of that. but then I want no part of anything, not really. I struggle with everything and the slightest moment of perceived happiness is immediately crushed by the chastening whip of reality.

I want the world to stop.

I want to get off. I want to be alone. Yet not alone but I want that which I can’t control, other people’s emotions and their unpredictable nature which upsets and frustrates me in equal measure. I want people but on my terms, not theirs.

Selfish? Yes, perhaps, but also a deeper appreciation that a settled me leads to a settled life and it’s when things are outside my control that I lose focus and begin to crumble.

Time. I need time. I want time. I want to stop and think, not be always wary of the hour passing or the next date and time in my life.

I feel pathetic. I feel crushed by choice and no choice, crushed by indecision unless not making a decision is a decision which is decisive ..in which case that’s not indecision.

Time is my enemy. I get older, more…broken, watching others do what I should be doing and might be doing if it was just me, but it’s not. I want to share things with her but she seems so unfocused these days, so far from what I want her to be, not just for me but fur her own health and enjoyment. I want to recapture what we had but all we ever do is make more misery.

I’m tired now. Tired and irritated. Tired of everything. Tired of time and it’s remorseless tread, tired of inaction because the action seems beyond me and I’m too feeble now to act.

I’m tired of time.

They say it waits for no man.

I wish it would wait for me.

In theory…

Bill Gates is the Devil!

Well I hope someone told his wife.

Seriously, it’s another example of some of the wild accusations hurled about in Twitterland when it comes to vaccinations and Covid.

Today, in familiarly depressing ways, I have read that the vaccines have terrible side effects, that the vaccines kill rather than heal (Must have missed the millions of deaths…) and that the vaccines are part of a programme to cull us!.

I despair, I really do. Fragile mental health is seriously affected when people post nonsense such as this and my blocked account list seems to swell with every passing day. I despair that some of these ….theories…attract some many supporters who see the Illuminati behind every new vaccine on offer and who join in enthusiastically with every more bizarre comment.

It’s depressing and yet these ideas get traction because there’s such a lack of trust in this world and lies become the new truth as they gradually attract support by people who are fed up with the established order and therefore scramble to ally themselves with anything that pushes against the establishment and goes against the grain.

Yeah! I’m fed up with it all. It’s just so wearing to read nonsense day after day when people are dying and we should rein in these wild fantasies and offer up respectful silence instead of throw out wild accusations that hurt those struggling to survive and mourning the loss of those near and dear to them.

But this worlds a mess. It’s a world of lies, mistrust, fakes and frauds and it seems that only those kinds of people truly thrive and prosper whilst the rest of us get mowed down by yet another theory designed to cast doubt on the hard work done by the skilled scientists, doctors, nurses and millions of others who are sacrificing so much for us.

What an ungrateful race we are, so selfish and nasty.

And I can’t stand it anymore.

Sun

I sat a while, becalmed,

Beneath its golden stare,

I felt it’s warmth,

Upon my skin,

I felt my soul,

Laid bare,

I closed my eyes,

Lest brilliant light,

Cast shadow in my sight,

The colours of the rainbow danced,

Against dark background, bright.

I dreamed I lay on foreign shores,

The burning sand beneath,

White horses danced in sea lashed foam,

Fish swam midst coral reef,

I dreamed of places yet to be,

I dreamed of places old,

Of walks along ancient trod paths,

The lands of heroes bold,

Beneath its glare, the mountain stood,

And I atop it’s peak,

Beneath me lands of lake and stream,

Of mysteries to seek,

I stood in silent thoughtfulness,

In temples built by man,

The craftsman’s mark upon its wall,

Each stone, precise, by plan,

I stood amongst the people,

As they went about their day,

I sat and talked and prayed with them,

I heard them sing and say,

They praised the light,

So high above,

That blessed their waking hours,

That looked upon them,

Golden eyed,

Imbuing them with powers,

I saw it, felt it,

In my heart,

Behind closed eyes,

In dreams,

I raised my hands like supplicant,

To capture golden beams,

They danced so merrily, upon,

My palms, cupped, catching rays,

The sun I yearn to see once more,

And bathe in all my days.

K

Th

Falling down ….again.

This malaise is wearing me down. The apathy, the drudgery, the sameness of it all.

I think I should write my blog but then those feelings work their way into my psyche and beat me down and I realise there’s no point because I have nothing to say, or nothing to say that people want to hear.

I’ve lost enthusiasm. I’ve lost the ability and poetry seems a struggle now. In fact I can’t recall the last time I poured myself into writing any.

I read stuff by others and my sense of failure just grows. So much better than anything I can write, more lucid, more fitting, more cutting, just better in every aspect. My once flourishing vocabulary now seems pitiful in comparison.

The day seems long. Just one continuous day broken by occasional episodes of disrupted sleep. Is this 2021 or 2020 part 2?. Nothing changes and the light at the end of the tunnel is hidden behind layers of gloom. The weather is miserable, constantly dreary and grey with the hills hidden in the mist and the repetitive nature of my limited exercise only adds to my misery. Familiarity is indeed breeding contempt.

Work is work. Unchanging, miserable, dreary, like the weather.

I should be happy?. Autistic happy?. Routine, no distractions, no people? But I’m not. I just yearn for brighter days and something different because although the routine and lack of distractions are lovely, this isn’t my choosing, this isn’t my set up. I’m cramped on a tiny table, missing the things I need, struggling to cope when I get calls I can’t handle, wary of another meltdown and wanting to cry,

I’m forced into it. No time to arrange…sort myself out but thrust cruelly into the situation and trying to do my best…and then feeling it’s not enough.

I’m not alone, I know that but my ADHD is rampant and my Autistic senses are in overdrive. I’m masking even though I don’t need to because I can’t get through to people and get them to see. I seem to spend my life worrying that I can’t educate others about me and that’s yet another failure on my part. It’s so tiring and confusing.

Travel, my love, is now so unlikely I feel my heart breaking. I can see no light in the tunnel nor feel the heat upon my skin. I’m beaten down by others, the anti-vaxxers, the headline quotes who never read the whole story but use the headline to make false points, the liars, the cheats and just the nasty vicious inhabitants of social media and the wider world.

The news destroys me with its unrelenting misery. It’s continual focus on death and gloom and trauma. It’s giving me ptsd just from watching the horrors unfold. I know they are there, I know they are happening but is there nothing good in this world?. Nothing good that is newsworthy? Nothing happy?.

I’m tired. I’m tired of everything. I’m tired of living. I’ve had enough.

I’m falling down.

Again.

But this time I don’t want to get up again.