New Year’s Day alone
It was a New Year’s day to be spent alone. The night before had been spent of his sister’s house with his sister, her husband and their two year old and five month old daughters. He enjoyed spending time with his sister and nieces and it was the only place he could see himself spending the New Year. His friends would no doubt be out celebrating and everybody but he would be oblivious to the fact that he had been for days filled with anxiety about what he should do. He thought the festive time should be spent with friends and at his age, late twenties, he should still have the urge to go out and party, but he had just had another terrible end to a year which started out so promising and full of happiness. Since August he had lost his girlfriend, his job, and his home and had been moving from place to place, simultaneously examining his own fatal errors that had contributed to events, trying to hold up commitments that could help him move on and desperately trying to scrape together some optimism and talk himself through this current depression. He had had no money, found himself at one point in a housing association room that was full of damp, had no heating and no hot water, no way to wash or dry his clothes and where all the clothes he did have quickly began to smell. His belongings, including clothes were strewn around and in boxes as there had been no storage space and in desperation after two months he had visited a local housing scheme, who had assigned him a key worker who had instantly branded the situation unliveable and over a period of ten days or so had talked him into making the move he had told himself he would never be able to make – back into the hostel system. He had moved his belongings on his birthday and his life, it seemed, was over. He missed his girlfriend terribly and had tried to explain to her the sequence of events that had led them from being inseparable and living together happily to fighting and breaking up. He knew deep down it was his fault and all of his attempts to speak to her were coldly rebuffed. He hadn’t intentionally set out to destroy things, it was just that things had become unmanageable and he hadn’t taken care of matters when he should have. He had recklessly abandoned his programme of medication when the doctor’s surgery he had been registered with made it practically impossible to make appointments and he had wrongly come to the conclusion that, having lived without it for so long and it being the one thing he had always craved, now that he had a companion whom he loved and who seemed to love him back and want to understand him he probably had no need to take the pills and that things would work out. He had, after all, been through the mill of this his whole entire life and should have known better. His depression and anxiety were a chemical imbalance, or a form of Asberger’s syndrome, or some other ailment which made functioning as a normal human being and not being lost in the tide of his own dizzying emotions almost impossible for a man who felt worthless and suffered from a tiring asthma due to smoking. The fact that they enthusiastically smoked marijuana on a daily basis soon led to almost complete inertia. He found it hard to face the outside world, decide what kind of job he might like to try for and frequently made excuses to avoid social occasions, fearing questions about how exactly he did spend his time. He had stopped reading books and began to feel frustrated at the hidden “enemies” who now appeared to circle his relationship, feeling sure that secretly people wanted to see him and his partner split up. He looked back on these events with shame and anger at having been so nonchalant, yet also questioned whether he had deliberately sabotaged everything because he hadn’t been happy. His girlfriend had been more than eight years younger than him and he had felt insecure about this, as well as it becoming more of an issue in some of their dealings with each other. Not that he was too old for her, it was just that after many years of drug abuse, he felt ashamed that he could not relay to her exactly who he was or what she meant to him. The weed was crippling him and he could feel the hammer blows. Nobody could live with that inertia and that’s what he feared. He had refrained from smoking it regularly before they met, and had gotten healthy, was holding down a job, exercising and even taking on work experience, writing and reviewing for a music website. After they had gotten together they had become increasingly interested in smoking together, and the sudden drop in activity and therefore increase in the intensity of the relationship had accelerated this habit. He had unwittingly let go of his own independence and they were taking up each other’s time with her tolerance of the drug being better than that of his abused brain and her youthful energy making it clear that if they continued in these habits, her life was going to be much better if they were no longer together. It was the ultimate sucker punch, and he had walked right into it. Now, though, he was determined to take the steps to prevent this kind of thing from ever happening again and had started by registering at a local health centre to arrange a doctor whom he could explain things to and ask for analysis and treatment. He wasn’t sure what they would discover but he knew he could not live in ignorance any longer, he had lost everything and it was a cycle that had continuously repeated itself, all the while his misled optimism persuading him that he could live naturally, that it was the only way for him to know what he really felt and to be sure to avoid the “zombie” state he had feared he would end up in. That analysis, however, had been his downfall, and memories of previous lives and missed opportunities haunted and weighed him down. He had a lot of things to accept. He had to accept that he was now in this hostel position, difficult to get out of unless actively sought and pressed. The options were clear – he would have to look for a job (difficult enough), a part time job would allow his housing benefit to still be paid and also give him a little bit of financial freedom. He could continue at college and speak to tutors about the possibility of university once he had passed his course and how to apply for the funding to make this possible. He would continue to have a hand in helping to establish an “open mic” evening he had started shortly after the break up and try to work as much as possible with students at the college he attended, helping out with performances and hopefully to get involved with some of the characters making noises in his direction about organising events and maybe even jamming with a view to the recording of the album he had spent most of his adult life compiling material for. Women and relationships, he assumed, would have to be off the agenda for the foreseeable future. He didn’t have any money and wanted his time to be as productive as possible, drawing the conclusion that his mental state, his lack of will to really have this distraction and the fact that he was not allowed any overnight visits at the hostel were all conditions that meant the forming of any meaningful partnership was practically impossible, even though stranger things happen. If he wanted anything to change he had to focus solely on himself. Only when he had sorted himself out, he sensibly thought, could he have any kind of positive contribution to anybody else’s life which was what he wanted. He didn’t want to be forgotten or for his life to have been a waste of time, he wanted to help people and ideals to flourish, he wanted to be able to express his own ideas and views and he wanted to make a dent in what he saw as the ills of society and human nature. He wanted to afford others the freedom he had been denied, or denied himself, throughout his chaotic life. He knew he had made many wrong decisions, been manipulated by sentiments he had found made not one scrap of difference to where he was now. He had tried to please others instead of pleasing himself and had often neglected his own duty to himself and now as he surveyed this he had known that this was martyrdom that he had been blind to, his masochistic abandon denying others from really seeing what he in fact wanted and had it in him to do. He had cursed himself and now this last straw would be the one that would break the spell, he was determined. He had always excluded himself, believing himself not worthy of the simple, easy relationships people seemed to take for granted but he had always managed to sabotage. What he wanted was somebody to understand him and nurture him, to help him understand his nature, but he had realised that this was something he could only do alone. He would no longer think about what other people did or feel hurt at the simplest things which he viewed as rejection or neglect, it was pointless. He had to heal himself and the only person he could trust was himself, something he had not been able to do before, being so strung out and at the mercy of his raw and festering emotions which would take him over and push anybody close to him as far away as possible.