What anxieties have haunted my today? My living as if wanting to die. I don’t really want to think about it but, for the sake of my sanity, I really ought to try. When I was a child my baby brother died: I guess that, after she cried, my mother told me that he’d gone to sleep and would never wake up because, after that, I was scared to go to sleep in case I didn’t wake up. Duh. I had a lot of nightmares and then I stopped remembering my dreams. Now, I can feel the blood pounding in my ears just at the mention of some of these fears. Anyway, death always seemed so just around the corner that it wasn’t worth putting any roots down, but now I just don’t know. Life just grows, one gets attached to it as if by magic or witchcraft. One minute I was just a record collection, a guitar, and some snapshots in my mum and dad’s house, the next it’s got as convoluted as Proust.
(Accent isn’t accident).
And my friends are leaving in droves, of course. I keep moving the goal posts, and changing my tune, so’s they haven’t got a clue. They find it hard to find the rhyme and suspect I’m getting past my prime. But I’m probably projecting; it’s that self-pity you’ll be detecting, with that uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach that, believe me, I share. Gut plummeting through the air.
Most days I think I’m plodding along quite nicely but just occasionally I get tugged (impolitely) by something persistent; an insistent babble that, on the surface, I take lightly but must, in reality, scare me mightily, otherwise I wouldn’t have all these black thoughts, would I. It’s my unconscious upsetting my conscience with some kind of nihilist nonsense. Commonsense says I’m on the crest of a wave; my Positive Thinking Guru says I should focus on surfing it bravely, crave, consume, eat away the gloom; See it, want it, take it. Be it, say it, fake it.
Shake it, baby, shake it.
But I’m having a bit of not being like that, basically, and trying to come to terms with it gracefully. My ex says ‘disgracefully’ but, in negotiations, I’d settle terms on ‘shabbily’. I need to sort myself out without a doubt, but it’s not a decision one can make without endless prevarication and talk. I’ll need a chart and a marker pen (of course!), to make anything happen. There’ll have to be an action plan and a clipboard. There’ll need to be rules and laws. Ideally there’ll be a motivational reward, to stop me from getting bored, and reinforcements to fill in when I can’t cope any more, (keeping it professional means I have to delegate; I have to let others share some of my mistakes).
All the self-help books remind me that I can’t do everything, for everyone, and still have ‘time for me’. If their smiling faces on the dustcovers are anything to go by then I think I can truly believe. Perhaps there’s still some 12-Step plan that can save me, or some kind of angel that’ll shame me into ‘fessing up’ to this mess up. I’ll stand with one hand on the bible, and one hand on my bollocks, and announce to the group – ‘I’m Michael, and I am a Deathaholic’.