Object Impermanence

By Alison November 5, 2023 7 Comments 8 Min Read

One of the things I like most of all, is coming to an understanding of why things are the way they are. Sometimes revelations dawn on me slowly, a creeping awareness that eventually cannot be refuted while at other times they whack me about the head like a reverberating punchbag. And so it is with my sudden realisation that if I cannot see something I file it away under matters of no immediate concern and boom, it is gone for always.

This applies to all manner of things. It is why I own so much washing up liquid, as I pop it under the cupboard under the sink and head out to buy yet another bottle because there isn’t one sitting on the kitchen window-sill. It is why too, I make for an awful friend and an unreliable boss-lady. Not because I do not care: I do, I care deeply. But because when my head is trying to deal with the present moment, those I am not sitting next to… don’t exist? I haven’t forgotten you, you have just not presented yourself to me (at which point I will be THRILLED to see you!) and my brain doesn’t seem to operate in the same way as other peoples, so that which is not presented to me, will simply not appear on my radar. Heaven forbid then, I ever have cause to stick you in my Whatsapp archive, because frankly thereafter, you may as well be dead.

It is in fact the root of endless shenanigans and unintentionally hurt feelings. It is the source of much muddle work-wise, because unless I have got it neatly arranged in digital boxes in front of me, my brain will not go jumping through hoops to find it, or even attend to that which must be attended to. And on the dating front? Heck I do believe the men of the North West may be gathering in disappointed, and surely mildly disgusted circles to discuss me: because I start conversations, sometimes really great conversations, and then I go to bed, and boom, nice man in snazzy hat with penchant for puddle-jumping becomes the kind of fleeting dream I can taste but cannot describe the next day and I will just go toddling on, going about my business, entirely oblivious to both his existence, and his sense that as he told me that the ball was in my court, he now feels ghosted, utterly unaware that putting the ball in my court is frankly the route to no-man’s land because I don’t seem to own the right bat.

It is why social media is an issue for me: because if is isn’t specifically built into my daily routine, or someone takes it in to their head to @ me, I will forget to visit the app altogether. It is why I’m now obsessed with shopping little and often instead of doing the “big shop” that I used to: because if something is put in the back of the fridge and somewhat hidden, it will rot before I have discovered it. And it is why other people perceive me as exceptionally strong in the face of grief or heartbreak, because my head simply drifts away from that which is no longer there and it is only when I am forcibly reminded of what went before that I can be temporarily consumed by it, before it slips away again and my mind has moved on to what still exists.

I am almost always right here in the present moment, more likely to verge on anxiety for what might be tomorrow if I drift away from that moment, than I am to ever mourn what is now lost or plunge into all consuming depression. It is how I am not totally overwhelmed by the injustice of what has happened in the past eighteen months and how I keep turning up to BrocanteHome after all these years because it is here, and it is mine and doing anything other than it is so far beyond the realms of possibility I don’t even consider it. And it is both tragic and eternally useful at the same time. It makes me terrible at planning and bewildered by anything not immediately visible in my eyeline. And it makes all manner of financial management more complex than it ought to be because I presume money looks after itself when all too often it is dilly-dallying behind the scenes plotting the kind of drama I will come across with astonishment. But so too, does it simultaneously provide the kind of clarity that allows me to get up every morning feeling both purposeful and hopeful -unencumbered by that I have likely forgotten to worry about.

Thankfully I have friends who know me of old and know there is never malice in my silence. That I love them with all the same passion I always have, and that if they are here they can be absolutely certain of it. It is why BrocanteHome has lasted as long as it has, because you have always, always given me the grace to be myself. Recognising when I am retreating. And knowing I am not abandoning you. It is why the men I eventually do go on dates with are the ones who are quietly persistent: the ones who keep showing up, because they see in me something of themselves, often in terms of neurodivergence, and they do not take offence when I fall silent. They too have lives they fall rabbit hole deep into and they are not looking for evidence of rejection because like me they simply believe in a I am ok, you are ok attitude that allows for life to get in the way, without causing the kind of screaming male ab-dabs that are becoming all too familiar in my frankly ludicrous dating life (remind to tell you all about it one day!)

I was reminded of all of this last week, when I was talking to one of you about our community here at BrocanteHome. How the way that I had set it up meant that even I was not seeking out my own forums because entering them one at a time simply isn’t the way my head works, no matter how pretty the site may be. How hiding what I want to share makes all our lives more complicated and less inviting than I want it to feel and how when there is no simple app in which to access all things Brocante, we lose our momentum here, because I, as she in charge, simply don’t remember to switch my torch on and light the way.

One of the truest things I would say I know about my career in blogging is that it has been an unveiling of both my idiosyncrasies and my failings, as I slowly unpick who I am and which bits of me can be labelled as a means of me understanding the whys and wherefores of the things I do. It isn’t always conducive to either the sense of permanence most people presumably cherish or particularly useful in terms of maintaining relationships, but the thing that I do know is that each time I unpick something because it isn’t working for me, I am creating something that bit more in alignment with the way I want to live, and the lessons I want to share with you along the way.

So in creativity as in relationships: despite my inability to nurture what I cannot see, every time I unpick something I do it with intention. In search of both object permanence and flow. Every time I drift away from a date that hasn’t resonated, I am saying let’s not get in too deep, because I will hurt you. Every time I choose not to pursue something: a platform, a man, another bottle of washing up liquid, it is because for a moment they ARE on my radar and I am aware that something isn’t working, something is surplus, something isn’t right and I am simply trying to circumnavigate my instinct to leave things unattended or add to the chaos or pain I have already created!

All this to say that our lovely community will be back very, very soon and in the meantime I am going to wash every plate in the house because I am a woman in possession of enough Method washing up liquid to get the Mediterranean a-bubbling. Carry on, Beautiful.

On My Kindle Today

Went to London, Took the Dog

  • From the author of Love, Nina.
  • Nina Stibbe is now 61 and shares her return to London in this engrossing, moving diary.


  1. Paula says:

    I was trying to explain object impermanence to a bank the other day. I need my statements to be on paper because if they’re online then to me they don’t exist. You can send me emails but it doesn’t work because they hide among all the more interesting emails.
    Whoever I was typing to didn’t understand/care/have any intention of helping me.
    So I rang the bank (which I hate doing), spoke to a lovely customer advisor who assured me that all would be protected for me. And it was, despite the subsequent email from the bank telling me that they had switched me to electronic statements only.
    It also turns out that my account has all the necessary markers on it to tell them that I need special help.

    1. Alison says:

      Oh Paula… I know it’s hard, but I do think that since diagnosis you have sounded so very much stronger? But heck yes, none of this is easy… keep on keeping on. I’m always here rooting for you and trying to put these struggles into words I hope resonate…x

  2. Helen Morgan-Jones says:

    Sooooo…. Have you ever been tested for ADHD…?

    1. Alison says:

      Well now… my sister has been diagnosed and Finley is about to go for diagnosis: but my doctor and sister (who has written a well respected book on neurodivergence) believe I’m somewhere in the region of autism? My own sense is that I might have a bit of everything…x

  3. Christina says:

    From my limited perspective out here having followed you for many years now… though I would never presume to know more about how your brain works than you do, I feel confident saying that, simply put, I think you are an artist – with all the gifts and all the challenges that artists are privileged to be born with! And I don’t think I’m alone in my appreciation of your willingness to share your art – in the truest sense of the word ART… You hold up a mirror and allow the rest of us to see our own reflections more clearly… Thank you!

    1. Linda says:

      Cristina, I agree. Our Alison is an Artist.

  4. Jodie rebecca says:

    I resonate so deeply with this post. I cou!dnt put it in better words myself. My mum says I bury my head in the sand. I try to explain its like quicksand, my heads buried before I realise I’m stood in it. 😣

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