Good day today dodging security guards (even had a bit of a chase, cool) and then coffee with Mary - doesn't get much better than that. One of the things we talked about is something I've been thinking about for some time, although I'm not sure quite how far I've been getting.
In life there are certain things we are meant to be and feel - deviating from that path is a rum do. Very rum. We can feel pride in a new born baby, but not jealousy of the attention that baby may receive, we can feel joy but never loneliness, and if we are such unfortunate genetic mutations that we do feel something unacceptable we must push those feelings down deep inside - and if they will not be pushed they must be medicated away.
But just as pain killers only mask the symptoms of a deeper problem the yearning for a happy life can only become a barrier to living an honest one. I also suspect that the expectation of happiness can, in itself, become a source of dissatisfaction when we fail to live up to these fake norms.
I remember once, when I left the SWP as it happens, one of my former comrades essentially refused to speak to me simply because I'd decided to leave (I didn't have a big bust up in the branch or anything). When telling a female friend of mine about this I started to cry, as I thought we'd been friends and it had hurt me to think that the friendship had been contingent upon my possession of a party card.She was absolutely horrified and from that moment on thought I was about to burst into tears at the slightest thing. Once on the phone she accused me of crying when there was a slight pause in the conversation. I certainly don't feel ashamed that I valued that friendship, nor that I expressed the sadness at its premature ending - but for her I had gone from a normal person to one that cries, because of one incident.
Equally I've been feeling quite distressed at the situation in the Lebanon and Gaza and after the wacky leafletting today those feelings have definitely become much easier to live with. Whilst I'm not arguing that the main purpose of political activity is to make yourself feel better, I will argue that my feelings were telling me "do something" and were not to be alleviated until I did.
It seems to me that surely if you are sad or lonely it's your brain feeding you information about your life, information you may be able to act on, or is at least useful in coming to terms with new situations. If we pretend we don't feel envy, or hate, or a malicious need to gossip surely we are burying part of ourselves that will not be buried.
The sublimation of these unacceptable emotions can manifest itself in a variety of ways including the physical - but what will not happen is that these feelings simply go away.
This story at the BBC about the fate of the "slimmers of the year" I think is instructive.
"An investigation into the weight loss habits of 70 slimmers showed that less than half had kept their weight off, with the remainder being overweight, obese or severely obese. Moreover, eight out of the 70 demonstrated indications of bulimia and 10 showed signs of Binge Eating Disorder.
"Fifty-one of them either binged or used compensatory behavior in the past month, such as taking water tablets/laxatives and hard exercise. Nearly three quarters of the champion slimmers had binged at least once - with some binging up to eight times - in the past month. One slimmer tells the programme: "All the time that I was at 'Slimming World', I was bulimic."
That desperate desire to be thin is, I think, a sublimated desire to be adequate or acceptable, and one that cannot be resolved through achieving a target weight.
I remember when Ginger Spice came out as having an eating disorder and elicited, rightly, wide spread sympathy - not a month had gone by and she had released her slimming and exercise video - saying on the advert "you too can have a body like mine", illustrating not just the prostitution of her soul but an inability to reconcile 'herself' and her outward persona.
Perhaps we should recognise the importance of these 'negative' aspects in our lives and be less concerned about how we are and are not allowed to feel.
Obviously if my girlfriend doesn't like me or my co-workers think I'm lazy they can keep that to themselves.