This Too Shall Pass

Thirty one and single again.

Almost to the day. In fact, pretty much to the day, as in; it was the actual day – my 31st birthday. The woman that I fell in love with looks me in the eye and says “I’m so unhappy, I can’t do this any more. I’m sorry.”

Within two weeks everything has changed. Two weeks. She’s gone. Left the house. It’s bare… and me? I’m alone. I mean, what the hell are you supposed to do at 31?
Should you wear a badge?

“I’m single. Yes, I know too old and that by now I’ve probably had a couple of really shitty break ups, which in turn that I’m carrying a fair amount of baggage oh and yes, given that I haven’t actually managed to settle down just yet (while all my friends have, with babies etc) that I’m also aware that the chances of there being something wrong with me are quite high. But hey, fancy a drink?”

It’d be quite the badge.

The odds are smaller up here. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve actually been aware of my age. What it is, what it means and ultimately, where it’s gone.

Another life

You know you are truly in pain when you start trying to work out how much pain something else might cause you and whether or not that pain would be better or worse than the pain you’re feeling right now.

Staring down from a 4th floor balcony and trying to measure what the branches of that tree would feel like as they thrashed against the skin – would they catch my fall? Break it maybe? I mean, I don’t actually want to die, that’d be rubbish… but some other pain than this one, this one I’m feeling right now, that would be awesome. Thanks.

What if I just put a leg in front of an oncoming bus? Or a passing tube? That would hurt wouldn’t it? I mean really, actually quite a bit. We’re talking broken bones and a stint in the hospital. Maybe she’d come visit me then.

I have a broken heart. It’s been broken once before (Just once he says?! Ha!), I was married in my mid-twenties, the last of my friends to tie the knot (no pressure) and nine months later I come home from work and she says: “I’m sorry, I don’t love you any more.”

That very nearly killed me. Seems dramatic to say that now, but it did feel like absolute death for months. Months and months and months.

The Fear

The thing is, I guess in some ways, I did actually die. At least, the man who got married in his twenties, he died. I don’t even recognise him in the photos from those days.

What happened? I got through it. It affected me for a lot longer than I thought at first mind; I went away to Asia and had a number of life-affirming, life changing moments. “They fixed me” I thought. Nah, they didn’t.

They just helped me through the pain. But that’s not a bad thing.

Being scared is not something that comes easy to own up to. Not for any man. September 12th 2001, I remember waking up and feeling scared, seeing the world in a different way. But that was something else. That was rational fear based upon a terrible, terrible atrocity. You were allowed to be scared.

I keep catching myself panicking. Walking the streets, looking down instead of forward. Avoiding eye contact with anyone I happen to look at. I don’t want to upset anyone. I don’t want to get in anyone’s way. I’m scared.

It’s not cool to be frightened. We’re raised as creatures who aren’t expected to show such an emotion. As early as the first trip to the dentist, “BE BRAVE” we’re told, fear not. Do not be afraid and whatever you do, don’t ever, ever be scared. Ever.

Today I am scared.

For the life of me I can’t work out what it actually is I’m scared of, but I know the feeling and that is fear.

Let it in, let it out

The fear of being alone, the fear of never finding ‘the one’ (again), the fear that there might actually be something wrong with you and that you’re incapable of holding a relationship longer than a few years.

The fear that you’ll always get it wrong, the fear of never having children to love and care for, the fear that the love of your life is already shacked up with some wannabe, posing bozo who’s weaseled his way in at the first opportunity. All those fucking fears. They make me scared. I am so scared. So fucking scared.

An angel whispered to me on the tube last week. I swear it’s true. The Bakerloo line pulled in and a girl stepped off, “this too shall pass” she said, to no one in particular.

She must have said it to an unseen friend, or was mentioning something in conversation, but the words landed in my ears and before I’d taken my seat, I was bawling.

Such heavy, aching, silent tears. “This too shall pass,” she said.

I cry because I know she’s right and I’ve seen this road before.

It’s OK to be scared. It’s OK to cry. Just let it in and let it out again.

Screw what the world says we should do.

Let it in and let it out.

In, out… in, out… and breathe.

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28 Responses to

This Too Shall Pass

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention This too shall pass | Campaign Against Living Miserably -- Topsy.com

  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qybUFnY7Y8w

    This too shall pass.
    It’s a song by okgo.
    Might not have been what she was refering to…

    I haven’t heard the song in a few months, and I just showed the song to a good friend who’s been struggling with depression for a while to try to cheer her up.
    So it was a bit of a funny coincidence.

    I’m only 28, but I feel like I’m carying a badge like that myself.

    I’ve given up on the entire relationsip thingie though.
    It’s not right for me. Or. I’m not right for it.
    Or. I dunno. Something’s not right.

    Absentidei 30th December 2010 at 4:52 am
  3. This really struck a chord with me, especially the line ‘You know you are truly in pain when you start trying to work out how much pain something else might cause you and whether or not that pain would be better or worse than the pain you’re feeling right now.’

    That feeling of being scared, the uncertainty, the anxiety…..you wonder if it is worth risking a relationship again, yet we are not meant to be alone. Some people appear to drop their baggage pretty quickly, but do they really or is it a matter of dumping it on their new partner, doesn’t this automatically then doom the relationship to failure.

    Over 3 years since my partner left and I’m still in a vacuum. I try to tell myself it is because of not being in another relationship, but is it really ? Do I still love her ? I am so scared of loving again that the pain I feel is better. ?

    Sometimes we keep our walls up not to keep others out but to see who cares enough to break them down .

    ninesquared 31st December 2010 at 5:14 pm
  4. Erm, this is going to sound absolutely crazy but, i feel asthough the girl you are refering to is me? lol I know its possibly the weirdest thing but, the end of last year i was in and around london all the time. I was going on and on about the tattoo I wanted to get which was ‘This too shall pass’ (but I wanted it in Spansih)… I know its probably rather unlikely it was me, i just have this overwhelming feeling it was? very strange. I remember specifically talking about it to my friends on the tube but, I don’t remember where abouts. It would be nuts if it was me as I just stubbled across this by accident!! When was it and what did this girl look like? lol Im gonna sound like a nutcase ha.

    leah 21st March 2011 at 1:01 am
  5. Jeez, this cut right to my heart. It’s everything I fear; it’s the stuff that keeps me up at night. And that last part (“The fear of being alone…So fucking scared.”) is exactly what goes through my head, all the time. I always fear I’ll never find that ‘one’ or that even if I do, I’ll not be worth a second glance to her. And so I feel like I’ll be single and alone my whole damn life, and that terrifies me too. And I keep thinking and worrying that I’ve already met my soul-mate, and completely fucked up my chances with her. And whenever I get into a situation where it seems there might be a chance with a woman, I get antsy, nervous and I panic. I feel I don’t know what to do anymore. I’ve never had a long lasting relationship, so I’m not even sure what I’m doing wrong when it all comes crashing down, again.
    But, it’s helped me reading this, because actually knowing there’s some-one else out there who’s gone through this gives me hope; because it tells me I’m not alone, and it’s what I need right now, to not be alone. I was actually welling up reading the very last part as well, because I tend to hold things in, I know I shouldn’t though. I actually find it hard to cry, really hard, because I’m so used to holding everything in.

    So, Thank You. Thank you with all my heart; because most of my friends are like yours – in lasting relationships, and I feel depressingly alone. I’ve never talked like this to some-one who isn’t extremely close to me, let alone a stranger; but you’ve helped me realise something I could never truly fathom before – I’m not alone.
    And I’m crying, and it’s OK =’)

    Thank You
    Icarus

    Icarus 16th June 2011 at 11:19 pm
  6. I came on to the web loking for help and i found this, and i related to it, tears falling down my face, feeling very low and want to fall no further, i know i need help and today i start looking for that help.

    Andrew 19th June 2011 at 8:10 pm
  7. Six months ago I was rock bottom.

    I was unemployed, few friends, in a shared house with people I didnt get on with, and worst of all, the one beacon of hope I thought I had – a friend from work I had become close to and had begun seeing – went back to her ex, ending it badly. Everything seemed hopeless. Ive been suffering on and off with depression for over ten years, but this bout seemed the worst. Job seeking became futile, as it seemed I couldnt do anything. Days were spent lying in bed thinking of her. Everyone else seemed too busy to get in touch with. I wasnt eating, and drinking heavily. During the early hours of the new year, after feeling detatched at a party (basically sitting in a corner drinking and despairing) I went home and smashed the living room up, crying.

    Yet reading this blog helped to me to realise that I wasnt alone. Other people feel the loneliness and despair. Other people out there are the last from their peer group to settle down, find a wife, have kids, live the dream. Other people feel they lack direction, other people have regrets, other people have been hurt by someone, other people dread the future.

    Thankfully, this helped me to realise that while these feelings may seem bad at the time – they can pass. I managed to quickly move to another house with people I get on with. This helped with my confidence and in turn helped me get out more, and helped me form new friendships. Have also had a few temporary jobs which has helped my moods. Still single, but that outlook of dread and loneliness isnt as bad.

    Felt I had to come back and tell everyone that its ok to be scared – most people are. There isnt an answer to everything, we just go about things the best we can.

    Because this too shall pass.

    Damian 28th June 2011 at 1:10 am
  8. Dont know what just happened man, I just bawled for the first time in years cause you said it was ok. I thought i’d found the one but she said she’d had enough to, i gave up uni and family for her and took a shitty job as a barback just to buy her what ever she wanted. Seems like I’m holding back some stuff, i didn’t even realize just how hard I’m trying to be strong. This hardman bullshit I learnt as a kid to defend myself physically and emotionally has fucked me up even more then the beatings and humiliation it helped me squash.

    Ken 14th October 2011 at 12:03 pm
  9. This story hit me. Im suffering from depression for the 2nd time. Im only 25. The first time i suffered from depression i dealt with it myself. This time its over a girl who I have been on and off with for 4 years and we got close, so close we were inseperable, now its over. All i think about is her, and everything I do I think to myself what would she make of this, would this impress her. She tells me she loves me but she cant be with me. Im so scared of hearing that day when I hear she is seeing someone else. Doing all those relationship things with her that I want to do. Making her smile the way I want to make her smile. I used to be very good at talking to girls but now I have lost all my confidence and my friends even make fun of the fact that `i have lost it`. All my friends are seeing people bar 1. But its been me whos been the single one for a while, whilst being on and off with my ex my friends have been seeing other girls and now I feel am i ever going to meet mrs right or the 1? I dont want to be alone and this lonely feeling is gradually getting worse.

    Rhys 4th November 2011 at 10:43 am
  10. It’s nearly a year since I wrote the post above and on Monday November 21st, I’ll turn 32. In the 360+ days that have passed I’ve traveled, I’ve loved and I’ve lived.

    Embrace it. Embrace every moment you have. It gets better. I swear to you, honestly and from the bottom of my heart, if you’re feeling low (and oh my God, I felt the pain would never end) it gets better.

    I wrote the above post anonymously at first because I didn’t want anyone to know who I was or how I was feeling. It took five months but eventually I started ‘owning up’ to what I had wrote, to how low I’d felt and well, my friends have been over-whelming. Some people, people I didn’t even know, reached out privately and told me ‘Hey, I’m there too’. Others just kept their counsel to themselves and merely hugged me when they saw me.

    From all of the above and more, I’ve learnt so much about myself (and actually, about what actually happened and the reasons why). Today I’m a better person; brighter, happier and forward-looking.

    If you’ve read this all and read down this far, I mean it, it does pass.

    Things will and do get better.

    The last week of October was when I felt it go completely. We’d had a late summer towards the end and when suddenly, near November, autumn arrived – it hit me, really hard.

    Y’know that fresh, cold and crisp autumn morning? The wind is just right and the leaves are crunching? “Yes!” I thought “It’s autumn! My favourite season! It’s nearly my birthday!”

    And like that, it all came flooding back. For days I was down and depressed again; every time I stepped outside and took a lungful of air, I remembered how I felt the year before. It was horrid.

    For days I felt like shit, moping around and generally being down. “What do you want to do for your birthday?” my friends would ask… “Sit in the corner and cry, actually”. Eventually, they kicked me out of it – “Embrace your birthday!” they said, “We’ll help!” and they did.

    Here, today, three days before my birthday I feel *amazing*.

    It takes a while, in some cases a really long while but, believe me when I say it, it gets better.

    James Whatley 18th November 2011 at 5:56 pm
  11. Wow.. great article.

    As a 27 year old I can identify with most of what you say James. For what it’s worth I personally believe society has much to blame for unwritten expectations and you know what, f*@k them. Marrying because it’s time to really only appears to lead to seperation, divorce and general unhappiness.

    I am so happy for you and I hope I too can look back from a similar place to where you currently are.

    Keep inspiring

    al

    Alan Ritchie 3rd December 2011 at 9:24 pm
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  13. I’ve got a mate, well more of a work colleague & he’s recently split from who he thought was the love of his life, however little did he know she was getting destroyed week after week by several members of his band. And i would like to take this opportunity for a little confession. I am absolutely ashamed of myself but will feel better once i’ve confessed that i too was bumming the living daylights out of her whilst he was at band practise. I didn’t even really like her if i’m honest & he wouldn’t hurt a fly but as the rest of the band were saying she was a proper slag i couldn’t help myself. Anyway things were going well until unfortunately my mate found out one day the whole band tagged teamed his girlfriend after band practise and he had to leave the band. His head is now full of suicidal thoughts, I”m concerned NO band, NO girlfriend, CANT trust his mates……..does he need help?

    John Hardman 11th February 2012 at 12:19 am
  14. It is true -it does get better& better,u only have to live till then….therefore hang on,go through this link http://jeeteraho.blogspot.in/2010/10/there-is-hope-only-if-there-is-life.html

    induchhibber 15th February 2012 at 2:36 pm
  15. I wish my brother had read this article or even heard of calm before he killed himself last Thursday

    fran 24th February 2012 at 9:39 pm
  16. This is an amazing article,
    a real insight, that’s so honest.
    something so many people want to pretend isn’t how they feel.
    I’m a women and even i can identify taht i used to feel in a similiar way!
    if only more people knew that people do feel like them,
    and people do come through
    and things do get better
    and sometimes people go back to feeling down again, but that’s ok because things will get better.
    If only my brother had read this and let his family know how he felt, we would of dropped everything for him,
    and although he felt depressed over something else just speaking out and having others who truly care, it can help.
    wheather it’s your family or a friend or someone over the phone, there’s always someone who can help, and for me it was even to go to a church which teaches the love of god, and the bible how it is, other then changing the truth and changing the god at the same time, it helped me realise it’s god alone who strengthens and will never let me down.

    I love how you posted another comment a year later it’s a real inspiration :) .

    keep it up chuck :)

    Anonymous 25th April 2012 at 5:11 pm
  17. Great article.

    shavedrhino 7th May 2012 at 12:01 pm
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  19. hi i can relate to what your are saying the difference with me is i have never had a relationship with a women before and it eats away at you i know now why that is because i have asperges syndrome or high functioning autism that can make social problems seem even more difficult and complex the feeling of being stared at the paranoia.That people treat you like a freak but i do get some insight to why i am like this, i mean it feels like a test to experience a lot of misery and loneliness in this life so that in the next i will be able to understand and care about other people who would,be going through,shit like that and have a great understanding so even if i were happy with my life i can see a better person because of it yes i consider my self to be having a spiritual awakening and i understand that not every one believes in that stuff but it s helping me and it all starts there

    raymond 4th August 2012 at 12:38 am
  20. Actually, I don’t think it does get better, and I have given up expecting anything but pain, loneliness and fear, for as many days as I am unfortunate enough to live.

    Somebody else feels good, so what

    Stewart 14th September 2012 at 9:44 am
  21. Sorry you’re going through a tough time. Do call the CALM helpline if you feel the need. London – 0808 802 5858 Outside London – 0800 585858. Line are open Sat – Tues 5pm – Midnight. It’s free, anonymous and confidential.

    rachelclare 14th September 2012 at 11:30 am
  22. I broke it off with my girlfriend of a year and a half 3 months ago in july, it was the biggest mistake of my life. My mood had been going downhill for a while anyway and i had been irritable and finished with her, then i put myself on a free dating site 6 days later, one that we had met on and she said she knew id do that and joined up to catch me out. The old saying that you dont know what you’ve got till its gone has never been more appropriate. My depression led me to that behaviour and dumping her. I poured it all out to her only 2 weeks after breaking up with her but she said its too late. She then met someone else on a night out. I have lost 2 stone in weight, cant sleep and have been suicidal imagining her being intimate with this other guy. More than anything i miss and love her. I tried phone calls, texts, letters, went to see her 3 times to no avail. She had told me shed never loved anyone as much as me shortly before i messed up. We are both 38 years old and this should be the relationship that worked out. I am struggling 3 months later and feel i have nothing, no job ( and a terrible work history anyway) lonely, lost my looks and weight. It is pure hell. She managed to moved on within weeks. Depression if you dont fight it can make you make bad decisions like i did. Ive never known pain like this even when i got divorced it wasnt this bad

    justin 3rd November 2012 at 2:49 pm
  23. Justin, ur so right; we make bad decisions wen we have depression; I’m now divorsed, broke, the only single person I know, but unwilling 2 ever go on a dating web site coz I wud not wanna meet someone with the same issues as me! I work hard an have 2 keep appearances up for my kids; but I have to pray a lot to make it tru da day. I paid a massive price 4 my bad decisions. My ex husband is now remarried and very happy, an Im happy 4 him. Ur freakin out over dis woman so much maybe coz u Lost out again an feel like a failure after ur marriage breakdown; unresolved loss an grief and this new break up is even more acute and painful. All I can say is I hope u don’t rush into a new relationship again until u learn 2 sit with ur slf an figure out wots goin on. My heart goes out 2 u and seein as ur post is a few months old I hope things ate betr; god bless u.

    Ashputtle 4th June 2013 at 2:26 am
  24. Well at this moment in time for me,The THIS TO WILL PASS,just feels like words to me.I have just returned from South Australia after my 15years and 2children of my world walked out the door.I started to try and stop drinking,went on the anger managment and learnt what co depend and domestic violance are.She didnt come back of course and if she had it could never be the same once the trust has gone.I got to that place that i have never been and tried to electricute myself but failed ,idont know what hurt the most ,the jolt or the fact that as an electrician icouldnt even get that right.I drove to her house and his car was outside,i stepped over the gate and crept upto the bedroom window and i could hear him licking her and her moaning.I banged on the window but they didnt answer,cowards.I went before the police could arrive.Upto that very day she told me again and again that nothing was happening and it just goes to show that you never really know anyone.I have now returned to my brothers in the UK to keep me safe but i have no friends or a job and everything that i have to my name fits into one bag.I put everything into one place and can not afford to ever do it again,but i know that i will.I try to see the kids on skype but it just hurts so much and they can not help telling me of the places and things that they are doing with this imposter.6Mths on i feel no better and some days even worse and still feel bad enough to harm myself but i wont she used to be worth it but not anymore.Where does it leave me now,the same place most have been and some have yet to.It doesnt feel like it will get any better or me either,all i want is my world back and there is nothing that i can do about it.I will try and let you know when it has. T.M.H.

    Tim.M.H. 6th September 2013 at 11:01 am
  25. I’m 37 have that badge, t-shirt…embossed mug.
    This time I am not going to go running back to another relationship. I am going to date myself.
    After 4 years in a destructive relationship, I lost most of my friends and now am choosing to spend more alone time because I owe myself a lot of time. I have spent too long defining myself based on other people, based on what they think. I need time to think.
    I have been told the ending of a relationship is very similar to bereavement and has stages, so far I have found this to be true.
    When a relationship like that goes it can leave a gapping empty infected wound and I guess that is why it is best to work on healing yourself.

    Good luck life adventurers and know that you are not alone.

    Greta Escapologist 16th November 2013 at 12:48 pm
  26. dear all, its ok to feel hurt and cry, to miss that special one.at least you felt something. I was deeply hurt by someone whom I thought was “the one”. It took one particular wonderful friend, much soul searching and endless support to finally realise I didn’t deserve this, and I had put up with a lot of crap.

    four years down the line, has it changed me, yes. will I let it happen to me again, no. support and friends are so important. “everyone needs a bosom for a pillow” as the song goes. good luck to you all.

    graham 25th November 2013 at 7:55 pm
  27. This struck a chord.
    I’m 21 and just left a serious relationship, she was abusive jealous and controlling, it was a nightmare, I loved her with all my heart, and I think still do, I tried so hard to make it work but in the end I gave her an ultimatum, stop abusing me or leave me, and she left.
    I work as a doorman, and I met a girl who had been flirting with me for a while, and I let my guard down, we had a brief couple of flings, and I felt so happy to be around her, it was so refreshing to spend time with a girl who wasn’t treating me badly, and then I started stupidly getting a bit attached, let my guard down too much, and felt like I could love her. A few weeks ago she came over and I sat in her car, she told me she didn’t want want to keep seeing me, I held out strong, told her I understand and that she should do whatever makes her happy, I got out of the car and went inside, and it hit me hard, I ran back out, I just needed to hold her one last time, but she was gone, I was broken, this person who had made me happy was now leaving me, and I didn’t understand why, was I not good enough? That’s what I feel, I feel like everything is falling apart, no job, no car, failed relationships and back on your mum’s couch, yeah, you failed mate. I really liked this girl, but now she’s gone, and I’m scared, I’m scared il never meet another person like her. I’m scared nobody will want me because everything is wrong with me, I don’t have anything of any significance and a lot of things below average, at least that’s how I feel. I have been hurt, abused, and used, and now I’m alone and empty, and iv never cried so much in my life, the pain is overwhelming, my self esteem is at rock bottom, and I can’t see a future, I have no future, certainly not one I could enjoy. I have suffered with major depressive disorder before. But this time it feels like nothing else. My heart feels broken. My future seems hopeless and my life is in ruins. And it’s all my fault. I’m stuck. Reading what you said, made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I can only cling onto the last shreds of hope, that one day it won’t be like this, one day, maybe I will be happy again, maybe I will bump into her in a year, and it will be better, or maybe I will find somebody else, but deep inside, I just feel sinking, agony. But it’s ok. It will pass. In. Out. Breathe.

    A B 23rd January 2014 at 7:36 pm
  28. This is truly a great article and just what I need.

    I have recently been dumped by a girl who I thought was ‘the one’. I’ve been in plenty of relationships before and ‘been in love’ many times, but nothing compared to this girl. For me it was genuinely love at first sight and just after one date with her I felt we could go the distance.

    The thing that hurts the most is that I’ve never been so sure about anyone or anything in my entire life and she is literally everything I ever wanted in a person. She would message me saying ‘I want to be with you for a long time’, we liked all the same things, I liked her family and they liked me, etc. I felt I was living the dream and was so happy and felt my life would start from here.

    Then she broke up with me. I wasn’t really surprised and saw it coming. We had got into one big fight (our only one) but after making up and admitting she was right (she actually was) she said she needed some time. After a week apart we met up and she dumped me.

    I was devastated, she said she wasn’t happy and couldn’t see a future between us and she never loved me. I have never cried so much in my life, not even over lost family members. Every dream for the future I had made with her shattered before me, it destroyed me. I knew things hadn’t been as amazing as they had been but I thought we could work through and change things but there was no attempt on her behalf. I just feel so alone and powerless because the only thing I want in my life I know I can’t have. We had so many good moments, how could she just throw that away without trying to improve things? I would have done anything for her.

    There are many reasons why I am so upset. There’s the doubt that I will never love someone as much as her again. Where will I meet the one for me? What if she is the one for me, how can I just let her walk away? The sense of loss. It almost feels like someone has died, but I guess it has. I would share everything with her, if I was upset she would be the person I would turn to and now she is gone. Then I saw a picture of her with another guy. She was just dancing but the way she had her hand over him, that used to be me! A few weeks after we broke up! I know she is single but It hurts just knowing it confirms that she doesn’t love me and that she must care so little for me.

    That’s what I miss the most, the intimacy, just knowing that if I’m with her nothing else matters. And because she is generally such a wonderful person I want to try and be friends because we have got along so well. But I doubt that is possible because some part of me will always love her and that’s the most terrifying thing, accepting that it is over and that one outcome of life, the one I wanted, will never happen.

    James A 9th April 2014 at 2:33 pm

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