Chopin plays through the blackness of the speakers and my heart breaks, just a tiny bit, as it always does when I hear such incomprehensible beauty. The blissful sound of him lying next to me becomes the loudest in the room, his breath regulating as he falls deeper and deeper into the rich, free world of his dreams. His feet are curled around each other; this small detail betrays his childlike nature, so deeply hidden inside a seemingly impenetrable frame. Dark brown eyes stare at me; apparently lifeless, but the imagination within has never truly sublimated itself for the sake of misplaced maturity, and so the notion that those eyes are full of life – filled with some kind of soul – remains a thing of truth. A hopeful thing of truth. He understands when I tell him how I’m feeling, I tell myself. The rational voice inside tries to tell me of how ridiculous and untrue a notion this is, and although I know this to be true, I refuse to allow it to penetrate the childish and arguably immature idealism that keeps my hope for connection alive. It’s my imagination, and no one can take that away from me. Not even myself. Even the rational voice inside my own head struggles to argue with that logic.
There are three mobile phones in this room, each constantly threatening to disturb this peace with a vibration, a beep, or an ear wrenching ring. The presence of the outside world is ever looming with the presence of these three blocks of human manufacture – the falsity that they introduce, inspiring addiction and dependence on the superficial notifications they bring; creating a bubble of anticipation and inevitable disappointment when they remain still and silent and as though the world has forgotten that you exist. Knowing that it is all a fabrication to delude you into wanting more isn’t enough. You still feel the deep loneliness of the silence when your peace isn’t constantly disturbed by the illusion that someone actually gives a shit, however superficial, about you. Even though you know that the simple beep isn’t what it means.
It’s enough to drive you crazy.
I sit, uncomfortably on the bed, my stomach feeling monstrously large as the gluttony that I have indulged in over the last few days plays itself out as memory in my mind. A tragic lack of self control; despite the knowledge that I would feel this inevitable feeling of failure, of ill health, of self loathing that is the inevitable outcome of such maladaptive, impulsive indulgence, I seem to have lost the faculty to stop myself from escaping into the momentary comfort of the embrace of the crystalline devil to which I am so hopelessly addicted. You’re not fat, I tell myself – but I don’t really believe it. I feel as though my body is folding in on itself – all solidity is lost, and I plan tomorrow’s remedial self punishment in an attempt to find some feeling of control again. Don’t beat yourself up, I tell myself. You’re not doing too badly. But, I don’t BELIEVE it. And I know that not believing it is just as ridiculous as believing it, so I should just let go and be a bit more fucking happy, but it seems like a huge mountain to climb. And I don’t know why.
I have started to ignore messages from people. Well intentioned people. I have a feeling of guilt at my behaviour gnawing away at my gut, but the guilt doesn’t feel like enough to jolt me into any kind of action that I know is right. I’m not behaving in a way that feels right, to me. My head tells me that. But still, what I DO is what I truly am, and I am ignoring people who I love, and should not be ignoring. I am inexplicably afraid of the interaction that I so deeply crave. Of the intimacy that I so crave. The fear cannot stem from a simple place. Or can it? Can such depth of fear come from a simple root that can be identified and nurtured into something beneficial rather than destructive? Or, am I doomed to be governed by an intangible fear that threatens to destroy my deepest and most fundamental human urge to simply be here?
Why am I so afraid?
The internet is an entertaining place to soul search. I use entertaining in an ill – considered way – it indulges our deepest desires for self – pity and affirmation despite our flaws in the most superficial ways possible, and the least likely to affect any real change. It is filled to the brim with people’s innane stories, problems, and everyone has their own apparently insightful, unique solution to everyone else’s problems. My my, I think to myself – you are prejudiced! Relax a bit, would you? And I can’t help but agree. If only the internet could solve this predicament and remove me from it; can I escape into the adverts promising an amazing job that will gratify me with the most destructive and intangible of all human constructs – money? And for nothing? Or maybe I can go and look at all the “stuff” I want, and lose myself in the dream of aspiration. Of HAVING, HAVING, HAVING. Or, maybe, I can stop my brain from talking to itself in all of these different, opposing voices for a while by indulging myself in some good old fashioned forbidden filth. I could lose days of this confusion so easily, if I let myself. Perhaps that wouldn’t be so terrible.
It’s not what I’m looking for.
What are you looking for, exactly?
Some kind of reality.
A reality I can believe in.
Want to be part of it. Rather than escape it.
Once you have it, you don’t know what to do with it. It strikes me that it’s tremendously challenging to know what to do with the Time that has been gifted to you, through some random roll of the die. It’s easy to squander – tragically easy – and almost immensely difficult to live in a way that you can truthfully tell yourself was a respectful, grateful utilisation or enjoyment of it. Questions arise in your mind about what exactly constitutes a good use of time. When you have freedom, the values around what is actually a “good” or “bad” use of time is entirely your responsibility, and creation. You aren’t operating inside a system that tells you what constitutes time well spent. You are completely responsible for your own life, which, after all, is just Time. A series of moments, that you can choose to lose in a haze of escapism from the simple but unbelievable fact that your heart is beating and you are “alive”, or fully embrace, with all of the madness and confusion that such acknowledgement and truthful living can invite. How do you know what’s best? The simple fact is, you can’t. If you’re embarking on a journey which has had no previous passengers, or roadsigns, or even a map (because you don’t actually know where you’re going), you can’t ever know, except deep down in your gut, that you are making use of your time and freedom in the best way possible. And it’s a constant question that makes you feel like you’re going mad, sometimes.
Mycroft sits, God – like, at the peak of a mountain of books covering the topics of creative writing, fear, how to get what you want (but who knows what they actually want, anyway?), depression in the dark underbelly of Brooklyn and the fourth in a series of books which I cannot believe stemmed from the imagination of one human brain. He sits with one floppy ear lifted, listening intently, his head cocked to one side in concentration as he attempts to comprehend the rhythms he hears in the cupboard under the stairs. He’s probably eavesdropping on the dastardly scheming of the ever expanding family of flies who have now joined our merry band in this place and, I strongly suspect, intend to get rid of all other life entirely, in a devastating, military style coup.
He reminds me of hard times. A gift, borne of love, but also requesting a deep forgiveness that I am ill – equipped to give. So deeply flawed am I to my fundament. He has his own song – a dance which makes my heart cry when Memory comes to visit and plays out some of its most powerful Creations. So much is said of forgiveness – it will set you free, they say – when you refuse to forgive, it is only you who truly suffers. What, then, of the ones who have wronged you? How do they suffer for their behaviours? How do you find silence and peace when someone has done something, selfishly, that warrants such efforts to forgive on your part? Oh, to be so evolved as to be able to truly forgive! To be able to let go!
Memory would once again become a friend, rather than a foe to be feared, lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce at the merest provocation. Love could be the unconditional ideal that this child still wants so much to believe in, despite herself. The four walls on this room could cease to be the passive keepers of such sad stories of human frailty, and could enjoy the pleasures of experiencing romance at its best – without deeply held resentments and anger, and filled with hopes for the future and an untarnished vision of unity instead of all this doubt and frustration that some things cannot be changed. It must be exhausting being the observer of so much human drama. If only walls could talk, and share some of what they have heard, learned, and observed. I’m sure they have much wisdom to share.
One day, I might be able to listen to those lessons. Learn from what they have observed.
First things first, though. Let’s just get through Winter.