22:11 and beyond my years

Over the past couple of years, I’ve come to real­ise that I am as much still a child as I am an adult. Indeed, though many people could say this about them­selves, for me the two extremes seem miles apart.

I am an adult. I am forty-four years old, but for at least thirty-five of those years, pos­sibly more, I’ve unques­tion­ably been an adult. Some might argue that my child­hood was ripped away from me — I can’t think about that, can’t even com­pre­hend that idea and all it means. All I know, how­ever, is that at the age of nine I con­sciously decided that if I was to cope with all that was hap­pen­ing to me, all that sur­roun­ded me, I needed to grow up. Fast.

So in the same year I moved from primary to middle school, I became an adult. My out­look on life, the ser­i­ous­ness of it, ali­en­ated me from many of my class­mates and friends. I was intense. Child­hood was no more. I knew what adults were like, what they did, how they behaved and — though I was impressed by very little of it and loathed much of it even more — I had to take on the mantle of adult­hood for myself. Simply in order to survive.

Thirty-five years is a long time when — if we regard adult­hood as reach­ing eight­een — I should only have twenty-six years of it behind me. As a con­sequence, I’m tired. Exhausted with being self-sufficient for so long. I dream — I genu­inely dream — of get­ting those nine years back, and what I might have done if I’d allowed myself to live them.

Then there’s the other side.

I am still a child. In many ways. I know this and I am fre­quently ashamed of it. I am not childish, but I recog­nise child–like qual­it­ies in how I see things, espe­cially aspects of adult life that most people my age should have exper­i­enced more often and to the extent where even if they don’t neces­sar­ily take them in their stride, such events won’t knock them for six in the same way they tend to for me.

As chil­dren, espe­cially in our teen­age years, we learn adult skills in abund­ance — even though we most likely don’t real­ise this at the time. We dis­cover the prac­tical and emo­tional upheavals that may come our way in the years to come, and get some under­stand­ing, how­ever small, of how to deal with them.

I missed out on the years learn­ing about such things, because I’d already forced myself to race ahead. I didn’t have the ground­ing needed to cope with cer­tain areas of adult life — but because those areas didn’t impinge on my exist­ence for so long, I some­how muddled through without really noticing.

Now, in my forties, I know what I missed and I’m entirely adrift. I don’t know how to behave, how to respond; my reac­tions seem incor­rect and I don’t know how to cor­rect them. Cer­tain events and exper­i­ences can be fright­en­ing, just as they would be for a child liv­ing through them for the first time, yet there’s no deny­ing they can also be exhil­ar­at­ing. Though exhil­ar­a­tion, in turn, leads to confusion.

So.

If I could go back, I would tell that nine-year-old child that, des­pite the genu­ine risks, he shouldn’t force him­self to grow up too soon. That he would miss out on so much, includ­ing things that would be import­ant to him later on. It would all make sense — some kind of sense, at any rate — sooner or later.

As to the forty-four year old writ­ing this, I don’t know what to tell him or how to guide him through the real­it­ies of adult exist­ence. At that point the child returns, want­ing someone to hold his hand and walk with him.

21:05 and the day unfurled

I have drunk too much cof­fee today. Never a good idea, espe­cially on a week­end. I start out assum­ing it’s going to help me work, help me con­cen­trate, help me drop back into work­ing for more hours than I should be work­ing (70-plus hour weeks are not uncom­mon at the moment).

But it doesn’t. Instead, the caf­feine highs just make me scat­ter­shot. Can’t turn my mind to any­thing. Worse still, they accen­tu­ate the depths of the empti­ness I feel — a racing mind is fine if it has someone to bounce off, to soak up the words and respond with their own — but in my case they just hit a wall of noth­ing and so, find­ing the vacant air uncom­fort­able, I start jab­ber­ing away to myself.

Jab­ber jab­ber jab­ber. That’s all I do. I don’t even know what I’m say­ing. But all day I’ve been jab­ber­ing. I’m now exhausted, but too hyped up to sleep. If I could afford the fares and the extra­vag­ance, I would order a cab right now and just ask to be driven. Any­where. Away from here. Away from me. Just for a while. I’d ask for my brain to be trans­por­ted, strapped in the front seat. Leave the meat suit, the broken meat suit, here. I don’t want his malodor­ous company.

I know you’re tired of read­ing this. I don’t blame you, because I’m tired of writ­ing it. But if I take away this place, this hide-out, I hon­estly don’t know where I’d com­mu­nic­ate all this debris. It would just stay in here, in my head, join­ing all the other voices, and even­tu­ally they would shout me down, down down into sub­mis­sion and I’d give up, accept the fate that haunts me.

And so I keep going. Just about. A fal­ter­ing and unsteady attempt at con­tinu­ing, at least.

02:11 and the tap drips

As I lie here, I can hear every con­ver­sa­tion, each one drown­ing out the con­ver­sa­tions I can’t hear, the con­ver­sa­tions I’m for­get­ting, the con­ver­sa­tions I’ve already… what? No? Gone. Com­pletely gone.

I hold my own hand and pretend.

You are wip­ing me away, puri­fy­ing the wound. I am wip­ing myself away, because I want to disappear.

I slough off the names like so much dry skin. But like the skin, the names grow back, stronger than before.

I have a phrase, but I’m not allowed to say it. Am I? Curve towards me, whis­per it.

We dis­joint, we polite, we sidestep, we avert, we non-committal.

00:58 and they drill into the earth

My desire, my wish, my need, my want.
Is to be trans­por­ted. Utterly trans­por­ted.
In all senses of the word.

Mean­while. This.

00:23 and dropped wires

Whatever pop­u­lar psy­cho­logy may say about the nature of the indi­vidual — espe­cially in these days when we’re each of us is fre­quently told that we are unique, spe­cial, dif­fer­ent — the truth is that a large part of who we are is defined by the people around us, the people with whom we com­mu­nic­ate and inter­re­late, from friends and fam­ily through to lov­ers and partners.

I feel dis­con­nec­ted from every­one and everything. As if the last remain­ing del­ic­ate wires have been cut clean through. An appre­ci­ation of faces has never been my strong point, but now I find myself for­get­ting even the appear­ance of those I’ve known or still know well.

As for my own face, that means noth­ing to me either  I can’t recall the last time I looked in a mirror.

I dont know who I am, where I’ve come from, what I’ve done or what I mean. I need, I think, to seek out answers to fill those sig­ni­fic­ant gaps before I for­get entirely. But I have no idea where to start.

Maybe I should fol­low the other course of action and become an entirely blank can­vas. Please, just paint what you want from me and I prom­ise to shape myself to your lines and col­our myself to your shades.

I DON’T BITE.

13:36 and two hours in, apparently

I, more than most people, real­ise that it’s only a date. Insig­ni­fic­ant. Just another day in the cal­en­dar. No more mem­or­able than any other day, date or time. Just another twenty-four hours in my life, your life, all our lives.

And yet I can’t help but feel emo­tions and fears more deeply today, try as I might to res­ist them. Wishes and desires for the future, ter­ror about other aspects of what may hap­pen to me, all tum­bling through my head. Since wak­ing this morn­ing, I’ve found myself miss­ing moments from my past and long­ing to revisit them; not many, no, but just a few sig­ni­fic­ant times that bring warmth to my mind while I’m try­ing to blink away the stings of slow-forming tears. I even find myself sus­cept­ible to the ulti­mate fool­ish idea - so, so fool­ish, I know — that this day might some­how her­ald a change, a turn­around, a way out. The thought that the year ahead might bring some­thing dif­fer­ent — even though I’m the first to accept that “you never know what’s just around the next corner” can invari­ably be answered with “no, I do; what’s around the next corner is most likely more of what came before the pre­vi­ous corner, because noth­ing changes that much”.

In a sense, today of all days I don’t want to be that hard-faced, icy real­ist. I don’t want to think that in three hun­dred and sixty-five days, I’ll be back here writ­ing more or less the same words. In three hun­dred and sixty-five days I don’t, in truth, want to be on this site at all; I don’t want An Unre­li­able Wit­ness to exist; I want to be done with this crutch, no longer need­ing it as a secret corner of the net into which to pour all my vit­riol, anger, upset and the darkest corners of my mind, while scrap­ing away the flesh until the blood, muscle and gristle is vis­ible beneath.

Even here, how­ever — this place, this hide­away where I find myself con­fess­ing to almost everything — even here I can’t admit to one thing. One closely-guarded secret. Because I know what I would like this day next year to look like. I know what I want to exper­i­ence three hun­dred and sixty-five days from now. But I don’t dare tell any­one — not even you — because it feels hope­less, needy, pathetic and, of course, deeply unreal­istic. I need to resign myself to that, but I can’t. I can’t quite give up on it.

17:28 and at 17 per cent unreturned

I’ve not been able to work today. Stared at the screen, mov­ing win­dows around, open­ing applic­a­tions, load­ing up the things I need to do but then just star­ing, star­ing, star­ing. I await dead­lines. I can’t relax without a dead­line or two. I wait on people’s emails with their wishes, dir­ec­tions and thoughts of how I might best bring their vis­ions to life.

I am beset by wak­ing day­mares. Head pound­ing, ringing, thun­der­ing with viol­ent thoughts. Grue­some. Grim. Of bowd­ler­ising myself. Of tear­ing my eyes from their sock­ets, bloodily, face stream­ing with red. Of cut­ting out my tongue with a rusty knife, then gor­ging on the piece of dis­gust­ing flesh. Of hit­ting my face over and over with a scorch­ing metal tray pulled straight from the oven.

Or worse. Even worse, that even I — with my accept­ance of such hideous­ness — can’t bring myself to think about in order to place into black and white.

Believe me, I don’t want to think like this. I want thoughts of con­tent­ment, bliss, light and warmth. Not con­stantly, but briefly. A pause from the end­less phys­ical tor­ture. But how­ever much I try to pro­voke such vis­ions, they refuse to appear. They’re off enter­tain­ing oth­ers, I suspect.

I want to be secluded in peace and quiet, wrapped in silence — not with THE SOUND OF LONDON CONSTANTLY SHOUTING THROUGH MY WINDOW — with warmth nestled against me, hands rest­ing on hands, heads rest­ing together, held with noth­ing but breath­ing, rising and falling.

13:38 and all talk no talk

There are so many con­ver­sa­tions I want to have with you. Espe­cially you. But also you. And you. Even you. So many moments I want to share, too. The know­ledge that they may well never — and in some cases, will never — hap­pen fills me with an unas­sail­able sad­ness, a crush­ing empti­ness that’s so heavy I don’t think I can move from under it.

It’s true that the past few days have been full of dia­logue. Burst­ing at the seams with it, in fact. I’ve barely shut the fuck up. But all the talk has been one way. Because the wall behind my desk, my front door, that tacky orna­ment, my kit­chen, my hands, text files and posts set to ‘Only Me’ on Face­book don’t answer back. They don’t give me the reac­tion I need. They don’t engage me with their thoughts and ideas and wit and passion.

This morn­ing, when I reached the fourth repeat of one par­tic­u­lar con­ver­sa­tion with the wall, I grew frus­trated, screamed back at it to demand some­thing, any­thing in response. Just one word. An exhaled breath, even. But no, noth­ing. Of course there’s noth­ing. It’s a wall, not flesh and bone and voice and thought and mind.

I don’t know any­thing any­more. I wish I did.

16:18 and a wreck for guidance

These should be the simplest of things to do. Actions that barely require a moment’s thought, because no one else would think about them bey­ond a second or two, if that. And yet they reduce me to a bag of nerves — agit­a­tion, clenched fists, fin­ger­nails dug into palms, pal­pit­a­tions, twitch­ing eye­lid, even phys­ic­ally trembling.

I don’t know how to com­mu­nic­ate sens­ibly any­more. I have become a nervous wreck.

A few hours of nor­mal­ity now seems like such a dis­tant yet much-needed goal that such an exper­i­ence has taken on an air of abnor­mal­ity for me. Some­thing extraordin­ary. The height of absurdity and the depths of deprav­ity. The voices whis­per to me that I shouldn’t want this. They tell me that I should stay cocooned, that I shouldn’t foist my vile pres­ence upon good people. That I shouldn’t even dare. That I shouldn’t even. That I shouldn’t. Shouldn’t.

And then a cli­ent calls. I can hardly speak. Stum­bling over words. I must pull myself together.

16:03 and retracing evidence

I tried killing this place again by mov­ing it to other host­ing as a test site. Rather hoped that it would van­ish in the trans­fer. It didn’t. I found myself won­der­ing how and where I’d communicate/remind myself I exist if it went. I genu­inely don’t know.

Even more than so-called-normal, this is a diary entry. All my entries are now diary entries, I guess, but this even more so. Diar­ies are dull, so you should stop read­ing now. It’s really for me, to keep tabs on myself and where I am (even who I am), because I have become all sieve and no reten­tion. I am made of dis­tant memor­ies, but no recent memory.

The past week — is it a week? I’m not sure — is fail­ing to stick in my memory at all. I’m not sure. I’ve spent all of today think­ing it’s Monday when it is, in fact, Wed­nes­day. I keep think­ing tomor­row is Fri­day. Last Sunday I thought it was Monday. On Monday I thought it was Sunday. You get the (dis­orderly) picture.

I resumed work­ing earlier than I should have done. I was sup­posed to start up again today, but instead found myself immersed in code and design last Fri­day. I con­tin­ued to work over the entire week­end, even though I should have done that even less. Part of it was neces­sity of the fin­an­cial and dead­line kind, but a large part of it was also the neces­sity of (some form of) men­tal bal­ance. I could feel the voices, the vicious babble, the black-as-pitch thoughts all clos­ing in again. Work­ing myself into the ground seems to be the only way I can keep them a little at bay, out­side the door and ham­mer­ing to get in.

In all, the two weeks I should have taken off work became — due to cer­tain events — about six days. I am try­ing to feel refreshed. I think I prob­ably do. But there is some­thing lack­ing. I think it’s enthu­si­asm.

Enthu­si­asm. Enthu­si­asm for life, for liv­ing. Yes. I am so very tired of myself — my voice, my thoughts, my talk­ing to myself, arguing with myself, pick­ing at myself, berat­ing myself — that I can’t sum­mon up any enthu­si­asm for yet more of me. Any emo­tion that used to reside in my words or in my speech is drain­ing away, leav­ing noth­ing but bland­ness. I keep telling myself that I used to have a brain that per­mit­ted me a little intel­li­gent thought, but I can’t loc­ate it. Je sens morte, M. Cotard.

I’ve tried return­ing to social media, to see if I can find some solace in the com­mu­nic­a­tion that offers, but I find I have abso­lutely noth­ing to say. My mind is exhausted and my brain is empty. I’m just post­ing things — images, links, whatever — to remind myself (more than any­one else, frankly) that I still exist. I’m a cipher for the things I see, just spew­ing them out again without com­ment because — because? I’m not sure why. Pre­sum­ably because oth­er­wise I sit inside my own head and those sur­round­ings have become so very, very tedious.

Oth­er­wise… well, oth­er­wise. Oth­er­wise, this. And that. Oth­er­wise this and that.

02:12 and two hours thirty-six minutes early

You had it right, Sarah. Even with the ever-present rum­bling noise of a city that never sleeps drift­ing in through my rot­ting win­dow, there’s a point in every sleep­less night when exist­ence becomes bar­ren. When you won­der why you’re still here. When you have to do some­thing to occupy your­self, because if you don’t you might take that final, fatal step in the wrong direction.

I often have a wak­ing dream on nights like these. A dream of a knock at the door — non-threatening, not caus­ing alarm, even though it’s the middle of the night. I open the door. Stand­ing there is either someone to whom I was close in the past, though look­ing some­how dif­fer­ent, or some­times a com­plete stranger. “I’ve got a car,” they say. “We’re going. Now.” And without a word of dis­sent, without cast­ing a back­ward glance at any pos­ses­sions, without — I’m ashamed to say — even con­sid­er­ing for a moment the respons­ib­il­it­ies I have here, I take their hand and let them lead me to the lift, down five floors, out of the build­ing and to the car parked imme­di­ately oppos­ite the entrance. Not a word is is spoken between us. I just go — will­ingly, gladly, without the slight­est of nerves. 

The dream never con­tin­ues. I never find out where we go — whether near or far, to our death or to a new life.

I want to know where and how we end up. Yet, at the same time, I don’t care. It’s imma­ter­ial. The main point is that it’s just Away, Out, Gone. And all done with the help I need because I no longer seem to have the where­withal — in any sense — to do this alone. 

If you want to go too, then bring the car here. I’ll join you. I’ll give you my address. No ques­tions. Just drive. We can go. We can do it. 

Away. Out. Gone. 

I’m wait­ing. 

23:38 and the eye of the clock

These days are full of other days that I’m remem­ber­ing too much. Everything is remem­brance. Every moment is a memory. I’ve thrown myself back to some­where in July of vari­ous years gone by — 1989, 1993, 1998, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2012. Times when any­thing and everything and all seemed pos­sible. Corner­stones that deman­ded to be built upon.

I want the pos­sib­il­it­ies back. I need them. Excite­ment, a small thrill (only small, I’m not selfish or demand­ing). The future, as viewed from the here and now, looks too much like the wall in front of me, the wall that stares back at me wear­ily — bland, fea­ture­less, an unin­spir­ing shade painted by someone else to keep me in my place and pay­ing for the privilege.

I don’t have the resource­ful­ness any­more, the get-up-and-go. I’m exhausted. I barely have the get-up-and-blink. I need an accom­plice. I’ve always been bet­ter with a like-minded accom­plice (and I could reel off their names too, one and some­times even two from each of those years lis­ted above — but, well, I value their pri­vacy too much, even though each of them is either long gone or try­ing to go, and cer­tainly not read­ing here).

“We could be the bright­est fire­works, you and I.”

And I believed it, more fool me.

17:08 and infernal silent ticking

I now hold — at arm’s length, dis­gus­ted and revol­ted, like a piece of vile, decay­ing flesh ripped from a cada­ver — the real, genu­ine fear of los­ing my mind to such a degree that I can no longer trans­fer thoughts into speech, that the stumble over words becomes an end­less fall, that any attempts at coher­ence des­cend into noth­ing but gib­ber­ish, noth­ing but ram­bling in con­tam­in­ated tongues.

11:42 and coiled in hatred

Last night: dreams, vivid dreams, almost tan­gible in their cuts and bruises, their wounds and blood­i­ness. Dreams of such awful, sick­en­ing viol­ence. Per­pet­rated by me. Com­mit­ted by my own hands, my own sick mind, my own vile intent.

I know they’re only dreams. I know I could never be viol­ent. I know that I abhor viol­ence. Because I have exper­i­enced viol­ence, I never wish to mete out the same to any individual.

And yet, this morn­ing I still feel sickened to the core. I need to scrub myself with wire wool. I need to be clean.

I need to be renewed. I need to be renewed. I need to be renewed. I need to be renewed.

I am tired of this corpse.

17:10 and haze and hazy and hazier

I am — fool­ishly, irra­tion­ally, unwisely — remem­ber­ing the rare week­ends of the nearer as well as the more dis­tant past when long sum­mer days seemed relax­ing, almost care­free, bor­der­ing on bliss­ful. Warmed out­side by the sun, yes, but — and more import­antly for me — warmed inside by com­fort, an under­stand­ing pres­ence, lazily mur­mured con­ver­sa­tions sud­denly break­ing into riot­ous laughter, shared thoughts. To be with someone who gets it, who can share their world with me a while as I share mine in return. Someone or some oth­ers. Companionship.

I am try­ing not to miss this, to recall this, to want more of this. I am fail­ing appallingly and abjectly.

The noise, the smells, the heat, even the very feel of sum­mer car­ry­ing on out­side is infuri­at­ing me, filling me with impot­ent rage and gib­ber­ing anger, crush­ing me with point­less­ness. I want the dark, I want to crawl away, I want to sleep and sleep and sleep some more and for­get, for­get, for­get. For­get some more. For­get entirely. Erase.

I am tired of myself. Exhausted with myself. It’s all me, me, me — not out of selfish­ness, I prom­ise you, but because there is only me, me, me. My voices (though not my voice, since I am once again in the pro­cess of for­get­ting how to speak). My thoughts. My mind. My fail­ing brain. My picked clean/picked bloody flesh.

But sleep isn’t com­ing, and neither is forgetting.

Please help me forget.

***

Foot­note: There are occa­sions when I want to throw cau­tion to the wind and send this site — well, a link to this site — to a short, select list of people who should know, who should remem­ber, who have shared pri­vacy, a room, a pres­ence with me in the past but now seem all too keen to remove that aber­ra­tion from their minds. People whom I selfishly want to wit­ness this dis­astrous men­tal decline and the cor­res­pond­ing fear that I don’t know where it will end. People who have claimed in the past to ‘get it’, but — for all their warm words — clearly don’t. I res­ist, though. Psy­cho­lo­gical revenge isn’t my style. Revenge of any kind isn’t my style. If it were, I would have engaged in it when I was barely aged double fig­ures. I didn’t, of course, being far too much of a cow­ard. And my cow­ardice con­tin­ues. It has done for over thirty years. My cow­ardice is a major con­trib­utor towards the place, the stasis, in which I now find myself. Cow­ard, cow­ard, fuck­ing vile cow­ard. Get out of my fuck­ing sight, you piti­ful, dis­gust­ing, despic­able, filthy COWARD.

17:43 and without propulsion

Very sens­ibly, I don’t drink alco­hol these days. Maybe once a year, if that. For that reason, because of the infre­quency, the res­ults are always dread­fully ugly.

But, right now, I badly need to clear my head. My thoughts have been even more of a jumble this past week — if that’s pos­sible — and my reac­tions and brain power have con­sequently been fur­ther deadened — if that’s pos­sible too. I feel the desire to get drunk, in the mis­taken belief that the burn of alco­hol will provide some tem­por­ary oblit­er­a­tion and some­how ‘reset’ me.

I know very well that it won’t, of course. So I’m res­ist­ing. I won’t open the dust-covered bottle of cheap, harsh super­mar­ket bar­gain brand vodka that’s been stand­ing in the corner for months on end. I won’t. I don’t want to feel even more dis­gust­ing than I cur­rently do.

Yet still I want my head to clear. I crave dis­trac­tion, an escape. Sleep isn’t provid­ing it. Music means noth­ing to me. Films don’t engage. I don’t have the con­cen­tra­tion to escape into a book. I have no ima­gin­a­tion in which to hide away. Even the mild­est drugs aren’t avail­able to me. My mind is blab­ber­ing and jab­ber­ing and gib­ber­ing too much to allow me to attempt any kind of ama­teur med­it­a­tion. And on med­ical orders, I am not sup­posed to be work­ing for at least a fort­night (though it would have been a month had it not been for my res­ist­ance and the simple fact of fin­an­cial necessity).

I know what’s wrong, of course. I know it.

In my last post, I said “I’m going to fight and I’m going to tell the truth”. I stand by that state­ment. I meant it and I still mean it. And yet, even to the hand­ful of people read­ing these pages, I can’t admit to the truth of why my head needs clear­ing, empty­ing, renewing.

21:01 and maybe it’s the heat

I am entirely out of energy — and that’s not just related to the heat­wave cur­rently roast­ing the UK; no, this is men­tal exhaus­tion lead­ing to phys­ical exhaus­tion — yet, curi­ously, I just man­aged to give myself a rous­ing speech, an invig­or­at­ing talking-to, in which I told myself that I am going to fight.

I told myself, too, that I am going to stop lying just to put oth­ers at their ease, to avoid rock­ing the boat, to keep things ‘nor­mal’. I’ve been lying to pro­tect oth­ers since I was six years old — that’s nearly thirty-eight years of art­fully con­struc­ted untruths — and I’m tired of it. So tired. I have no lies left to tell, I’m all out.

I’m going to fight and I’m going to tell the truth. No, not about everything — I’m not that brave (read: fool­hardy) and, well, there are cer­tain truths that could do far too much dam­age — but about the things that mat­ter to me in the here and now, in the near future and in the long-term yet to come.

I’m tired of being dis­missed because, appar­ently, “I just don’t under­stand”. I am not a child. I am not a forty-three year-old child. I am not imma­ture. On the con­trary, I’ve been an adult since before my age reached double figures.

I know this is risky, that it could — if that’s even pos­sible — leave me yet more isol­ated than I am now; yet more alone than I’ve gradu­ally become over the last three or four years. But I’m past caring. I have almost noth­ing left to lose.

I can’t go back to pre­tend­ing just for the sake of others.

21:47 and disconnects at dusk

  • I just tried watch­ing a TV pro­gramme for about the first time in a month. Not only could I not con­cen­trate on it in the slight­est, but I found it almost phys­ic­ally pain­ful, both visu­ally and aur­ally. The bright col­ours, the noise. I worry about what’s hap­pen­ing to my once rel­at­ively act­ive mind that even a simple tele­vi­sion show proves too men­tally taxing.
  • I’ve been too tired to sleep prop­erly for about three days.
  • I fool­ishly broke one of my self-imposed rules today. One of the rules I told myself to live by now that I’m try­ing to con­vince myself that this is my new nor­mal and I had bet­ter grow to abide it if not to love it. Five and a half hours after break­ing that rule, I pro­foundly regret it.
  • I am drown­ing in occa­sional fits of vicious, vile, unspeak­able jeal­ousy. I loathe jeal­ousy as an emo­tion, yet I am start­ing to give into its tempt­ing, sick­en­ing deceits.
  • Finally. Finally. I am tired of tread­ing on egg­shells, tired of avoid­ing all those sub­jects, tired of always being So Fuck­ing Con­sid­er­ate. You may think con­sid­er­a­tion and humil­ity are laud­able qual­it­ies — I do too, I guess — but they get you kicked repeatedly in the fuck­ing teeth, they really do. But I have to be con­sid­er­ate and not say what I mean because it will embar­rass you or because you’ll shuffle uncom­fort­ably in your seat or get up and walk away or just not respond or or or or. And yet you’re always the first to say we should speak our minds. I don’t have much of this mind left, yet I’m try­ing to speak it here. So why not try listening?
  • I need to sleep. I hope I can. My bed stinks of sweat and failure.

18:12 and no pause for thought

This morn­ing, I awoke and did the star­ing thing. The star­ing thing. Where I just briefly look at the wall in front of me, but then for­get to stop look­ing. No idea what I’m think­ing. If, indeed, I am even think­ing. Before I know it, an hour has passed. Though I’ve always been sus­cept­ible to ‘holes in time’, I don’t want “he stared at walls for hours on end” to be in my obituary.

I said — at least I think I said, I for­get, I can’t be bothered to look and I haven’t read a single post back to myself since I star­ted gou­ging the blood and gristle from this putrid open wound onto these clean white pages — I said, I think, that I am try­ing to accept this. Whatever this is. Try­ing to accept that this life is the new nor­mal, that I should get used to it because, while the hope of change may exist, hope of change is what hap­pens in pop psy­cho­logy manu­als, not real life.

So I am try­ing to accept this new nor­mal, try­ing to live with it. The prob­lem — based cer­tainly on this week and prob­ably many weeks before it — is that I don’t want to accept it and I cer­tainly don’t want to live with it, because I find liv­ing only with myself and thus, inev­it­ably, within my own head to be the most excru­ci­at­ing and unbear­able thing I have ever had the dis­pleas­ure to experience.

And I don’t see any solu­tion to all this, save for the obvi­ous one.

01:24 and the ice pick assassin

Today an old face, a famil­iar name, appeared in my inbox — a wel­come relief amidst the usual spam and work-related mes­sages. I genu­inely smiled in recog­ni­tion, felt a brief flicker of some­thing the aver­age human with aver­age social con­nec­tions might feel — some­thing approach­ing warmth — before even this nas­cent flame was snuffed out in the space of a couple of para­graphs. After the friendly open­ing, the miss-you-we-must-catch-up-soon-just-been-so-busy spiel (busy? busy? you mean, you’ve been busy for three years? really?), it arrives: the favour, the request, the you’d-be-really-helping-me-out. Pur­por­ted friend­ship = fin­an­cial transaction.

I raged. I had to, I needed to rage. In (vir­tual) pub­lic, too, though I shouldn’t have done. Now, right now, when I feel the most unwanted I’ve ever felt, when I have all the self-esteem of a piece of shit stuck to the bot­tom of a shoe, when I crave some warmth to ease this sick­en­ing cold that’s seiz­ing up my soul, some touch to lessen my skin hun­ger, some pres­ence and human inter­ac­tion to just make me feel nor­mal — now, right now, a famil­iar but long lost face emerges for the sole pur­pose of want­ing some­thing, because I’m clearly the last port in the storm. Not because they have any desire to talk to me, see me, inter­act or spend time with me. None of those. No, just because of money, because I’m an easy touch, because I have gone to the ends of the Earth for friends many a time — and they know it.

It’s dif­fi­cult — and for me, impossible — not to think the worst of myself at such moments. You might assume, given the tone of entries here over recent months, that I’m not even mak­ing the slight­est effort to tell myself that I’m not the vile, despic­able, hideous, filthy cunt I cur­rently see in the mir­ror every single fuck­ing unbear­able day, someone not even worth push­ing to the ground to beat, kick, molest and defec­ate upon. But I am. I’m genu­inely try­ing. I haven’t suc­ceeded yet and, if I’m hon­est, I may not — but I am mak­ing the effort. 

Then an ‘old friend’ — someone with whom I once shared mean­ing­ful con­ver­sa­tions, warmth, con­fid­ences — comes along and pisses on it. Pisses on even that slight­est attempt to pull myself up to at least ground level. No higher. I’ve long given up the idea of scal­ing the heights. But appar­ently even crawl­ing on the ground is a sign that I’m get­ting above my place in life. Lovely to see you. Miss you lots. Must meet up soon. Mwah mwah mwah. Blah de blah de blah oh god how much of this smooth talk do I have to give the sick­en­ing, abject cunt before I can demand some­thing from him and then not speak to him for another three years?

***

I retreated back into work — another 13-hour day — to lick my wounds and try to for­get. But I had to stop a couple of hours ago due to exhaus­tion. CSS was just becom­ing mon­key gib­ber­ish in front of my eyes. I couldn’t pur­sue design and logic with my eye­lids hanging like lead weights.

I retreated fur­ther, back to a time I know I prob­ably shouldn’t recall, but couldn’t help myself. Because I needed solace, because I needed com­fort. A tumul­tu­ous period of a few months, not even a year, when I felt alive. Genu­inely alive. Des­pite all the usual uncer­tainty that was swim­ming around me at the time, I felt I could cope with it, maybe even beat it and emerge vic­tori­ous, all because I felt alive, wanted, under­stood. The exper­i­ence of meet­ing a like mind. Thought-provoking con­ver­sa­tion, a lack of inane small talk, phant­asmagoria, ideas that made my mind feel elec­tric, excite­ment, child­ish stu­pid­ity at times, shar­ing secrets, the sen­sa­tion of being at one against the world. Warmth and touch? Yes, that too, but they weren’t the import­ant aspects, and cer­tainly not as import­ant as all the other sen­sa­tions and exper­i­ences. Not as import­ant as being under­stood and wanted. Like minds, as I say. 

I shouldn’t have been recall­ing any of it. I should have kept those memor­ies firmly locked away. But I caved to tempta­tion, to a need for a little bliss­ful warmth, to remem­ber­ing some­thing that, in ret­ro­spect, I should have real­ised at the time was actu­ally import­ant to me, but which I dis­missed as just a bit of fun because — because of what? — because of bravado, I guess. Bravado and fear in equal meas­ure. And because I was aston­ished to be liked that much, aston­ished to be wanted — I felt almost as if they’d mis­taken me for someone else and would soon come to their senses. 

Why did I let my inde­cision and my dis­missive ness drift? I should have spoken out. I should have com­mu­nic­ated. I should have seized the moment. I shouldn’t have let the cow­ard in me rob my voice and strike me silent. I should have said the words I knew were there behind my eyes, even from early on. That here was someone who meant a great deal to me, someone who though I didn’t yet EVOL, I was cer­tain was becom­ing that way for me. 

When the cow­ard finally found his tongue again, years and months after, it was too late. Fool. Fuck­ing fool. Fuck­ing, fuck­ing fool.

Never say those words again. Never utter that phrase again. You’re not worthy of it. You don’t deserve it. This — all this and noth­ing — is what you deserve. Drown in it, you filthy, despic­able, hideous, worth­less scum, you vile piece of shit. This and this and this and breathe in the stench. Sleep to for­get for a little while. Unless.