this week... I blew up at the neighbours...
Updated: Feb 20
It was a lovely, sunny, winter’s day and I had just come back from the most delightful Lomi Lomi massage… my first in close to 14 years. I was blissed out and looking forward to a relaxing bath and restful evening when the banging started. An hour in, I was convinced my upstairs neighbours were bouncing a tennis ball on the floor with the sole intent of driving me crazy (this is not out of character).
I went outside to see if I could see up to their window. I went back inside. I was fuming. Despite part of my brain saying 'stay inside the house' I march myself upstairs and peer through their window. There are three people sitting around a table making ravioli. They see me and one of the tenants comes to the door.
‘Come inside and I’ll show you what we are doing’ he says.
‘I don’t want to come inside, I want you to stop the repetitive banging’ I say
‘It is 6pm on a Saturday and we are making ravioli’ he says ‘come inside and join us.
‘I don’t want to join you… I don't want to hang out with you... I want your life not to intrude on mine’ I say
The other one joins him…
‘What is wrong with you?’ It’s a council flat, what do you expect, it’s not our fault. You are miserable. Don’t come up here again’ he says.
My neighbours moved in 8 months ago after the apartment was renovated. Before then, there was a quiet family of 4 living there, and 4 years before them it was empty. We have had 6 months of pleasant discussions and negotiations previous to my last blow out, which in hindsight… came after a week-long stay of two visitors and their socialising every night at home. This time around, it has been 5 days.
I am a hostage to two flatmates I never asked for.
I am caught between two veins of thought…
1. The universe is making me uncomfortable, so I take the next step in my spiritual journey and leave this busy city. That this situation is happening for me
2. That this is all happening to me, woe is me and how am I going to rent or sell to someone else when I know the impact of their lifestyle.
My spiritual self knows the answer but it is a complex dance that occurs in my mind, one that most of the time I am not winning.
The negative mind is a funny thing, and it spirals and spirals. When it is churning it is really difficult to switch it off, even having all the tricks and tools to do so.
It took me the rest of the evening to calm myself and what ensured the next day was utter shame. Shame that I had no control over myself… shame that post my confrontation, they escalated the noise impact by putting on high heels and stomping around. Shame that I had paranoid thinking. Shame that I couldn’t apply my spiritual practices to shift my response to the situation.
In retrospect, it has brought a few things to the fore… I have always been a passive aggressive type of angry, especially with those I am close to. I am that person who withdraws or runs away when I am in a situation that I feel I can't shift or change. I feel powerless to negotiate through situations in a real way and feel very uncomfortable expressing my anger.
Pretty confronting stuff!
I spent the next morning listening to a podcast about anger and how we don’t think of it as an emotion that will pass, we get stuck in it as a situation, often masking a much deeper issue.
When I really sat with this… it has highlighted how unsocial I am these days. Which has felt necessary on lots of levels to find my way through things that come up when we start looking and understanding ourselves… but this can also feel quite isolating, especially when you don't have a large troupe around you going through this process with you. I would also tell you that I was a fairly easy going person... that it takes a while for things to build up (from all the stuffing down I've done for years!), but perhaps more honestly, the isolation is just a false economy of calm... removing myself to ensure there are limited opportunities for me to end up in confrontation.
In the quiet of the aftermath (spending 5 days with noise cancelling headphones), I realise that I have been a little too comfortable in my safe little haven. I have been working through the process of moving out of London for over a year now with current stops and starts relating to visa issues. After chats with a few friends... I have decided to jump... and have booked a month out of the apartment to get a bit of distance, some perspective and a second opinion from the sweet soul that will stay here whilst I am gone. Happy universe? I am jumping!
Interestingly... this is not the first time I have experienced this situation. It occurred in a very similar way 13 years ago when I was contemplating leaving Australia. A co-incidence?
I should also note… a Lomi Lomi massage is a releasing process… I should have known there was something coming out!