The Watch Lantern

Hello Escritori,

Today I thought I’d write a Ponderland post.


At the end of my birthday, TBG said, “Pola, I think you’re really eccentric.”

“Is that… a good thing?” I ventured. Previously she’s only ever called me ‘a contradiction’.

The geometric definition of eccentric means unequally aligned through the centre of a circle, or something ‘off centre.’ For some reason this intrigued me far more than the literary one, someone unusual who deviates from the norm.

I said intriguing, not positive; and a certain prerequisite of friendship is that you like each other and I thought that this might be at threat in this instance. I’m insecure like that.

“It just is.”

If I had a penny every time people told me “It just is.” or “You just are…!” I’d be rich.

“You’re eccentric, and I’ve met a lot of people – real big shots, from broadsheet columnists to whoever and the only people who really achieve anything all had one thing in common: they were eccentric like you.”

You can see why we’re friends right?

I am very sloppy day to day, so when the occasion calls for it I feel like I work very hard at looking put together. It helps me put on a character to hide behind and yet I’ll phone an old friend for coffee and say:

“You’ll have to excuse what I’m wearing, I’m not very put together today.”

“Pola, I’ve known you for over ten years and you’ve never looked less than well turned out.”

So apparently I’ve acquired glamour at last. But instead of that making me happy, it made me sad in case it’s just a form of boundary wall. This sounds very vain but I get nervous, apologetic and even impatient when men show signs of being attracted to me.

Sure, you like the packaging, but I’m waiting for you to run for the hills any minute.



Bipolar makes me feel like I have a point to prove more than others. Some days I feel that I’m deceiving people by being an ill person in innocuous packaging. TBG said this was rubbish and explained the difference between us: “I’m more ill than you and I worry about it less, I don’t see it as this monster on my back, but you do. You’re ill less, but you worry about it much more.”

This hasn’t been helped by observations from newer friends, that I’m patronising and vain a lot of the time. It’s probably true, because I’m afraid of not being worth their time or energy, or what I have to offer not being useful.

I love my friends but I have found myself living vicariously through them, because of my aversion to risk in my own life. I realise this isn’t fair. Critique cuts a lot more though, I’ve taken it on board with thanks to those that shone that light on my character – not my condition – but our shared compassion is what will save the day.

Keep scribbling,

~ Pola ~


8 thoughts on “The Watch Lantern

  1. Compassion is vital, I think. Fortunately, you’re not a homeless refugee from Syria being shunted back and forth between nations, but I don’t think you need to be suffering something that tragic to be entitled to the most basic of human emotions/courtesies. Sometimes it’s tiring thinking of “the big picture” (e.g. people starving, people dying, etc) – and it seems a kind of crap way of telling ourselves we should be happy with what we have (which in some cases is true, but I feel there’s no need to go to such lengths). Besides, we/you should be able to feel crap/bad every once in a while without the whole system bearing down on you. Does that make sense?

    Hugs! 🙂


    1. I think that one-upmanship, whether positive or negative is never a good thing… but I suppose the relativist argument is what gives our lives context. Self vs Other. There’s no SYSTEM to account to except for MY system/chemistry. This was about how my CHARACTER came across, not my illness. It was an iceberg situation if you will, (90% of the cause is unseen/underwater.) She saw vain and patronising behaviour, I expressed “I am empowered with knowledge, and that makes me an attractive friend, because knowledge is a counter asset against my bipolar.” As for everything falling down, when you have to be vigilant to your triggers, you can’t ever really relax. I get panic attacks and so social insecurity is commonplace. (Thanks though. I get that you mean the sky won’t fall after one bad day.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, one-upmanship is definitely not good.

        Yeah, I see your point… I’d argue that you seem pretty cool (characterwise) to me, but then, it’s not my opinion that is relevant in this case, right?


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