This is a rant from the train journey back to Brighton. I wouldn’t read it if I were you. It’s self indulgent, self obsessed post Christmas malaise. The feeling is lingering longer than it should. I’m hoping this is just a preamble to a much more positive and forward facing New Years post. But then, I think I got my new years excitement on the solstice, in true pagan style, and may have run out far too early. Anyway, consider yourself warned.
Essentially just bored and trying to convince myself back into starting writing again. It’s been a funny year. I think I’ve succeeded in doing the majority of things I set out to do this year, but they have not exactly turned out to be what I expected. The best example of this was of course Nanowrimo, where I set out to write a slightly shallower novel than previous years, which led to me overcoming various blocks by just settling for rubbish, and so suceeding in finishing a 50,000 word story, that’s absolutely rubbish. I’m quite happy with some of the writing. To be honest I think my prose fiction style is improving (my prose non-fiction remains self indulgent, rambling, obscure and impenetrable) but I seem to be running out of ideas. Or depth. Or a willingness to treat things with the importance they deserve. I’m not getting that across. What I think I’m saying is that this has been a shallow year for me. I’ve done things, many of which have been reversions to earlier forms of existence (work being another example) and so I’ve not really progressed much. I think my personal growth is even in recession. Not entirely. Meeting Lucifer (the illustrator, not the Morningstar) has triggered a series of changes that have made me more thoughtful and better at engaging with others. I’ve finally grown up enough to acknowledge and hopefully start to deal with the way I have treated some of my former partners. I am finally taking responsibility. But I’ve stopped doing Tai Chi, I’ve started smoking. I stopped drinking for a while, but it didn’t make the usual impact on my mood swings. Instead I’ve spent plenty of time moping around, unable to sleep and suffering from headaches. My dedication to everything this year apart from NaNo has been pathetic. I’ve made plans, for example my theoretical plan to go into teaching from a science angle (which means doing A-levels) has just wallowed in my brain. I plan I am proud of having come up with, but am too scared to actually start enacting. I guess this is what new years are for. Christmas has been wonderful, but it hasn’t stopped me tearing apart the threads of my identity and questioning everything about myself. Hence this ramble. Last night as I lay awake in the darkened silence I found myself circling around a few different themes. Firstly feeling let down by my mother, something I’ve never felt before. It’s a tiny thing, but basically I made a self deprecating comment about the fact I was putting off these A-levels because I was scared it wouldn’t work. I’m pretty sure she meant to be reassuring but it wasn’t the feeling I got. She said maybe it shows it isn’t the right idea for me. I felt that like a kick in a gut. I haven’t realised until now, writing this, how much I’ve relied on my mother’s unconditional support of my choices. Mum is good. She is incredibly stoic and has never put any pressure on me. She wants me to be happy, and she wants me to do what I’m good at. That is all. In fact, that is all she is doing here, telling me to find the right path in the most relaxed way possible. Anyway, the other theme is more personal. I think if I scour through my dangerously unreliable and self serving memory I realise I have this crisis of conscious this time every year. Essentially, I doubt the solidity and substance of my genderqueer politics. I dress as a traditional boy (tiny nods to femininity, but all discreet and measured) for a few days because I’m scared of coming out to my parents (even though mum at least would be stoic and supportive no matter what). It doesn’t bother me, but I feel like it should. I start to think about how it would be if I entered into a more conventional job/life structure, and whether I’d just abandon this whole thing to a youthful rebellion thing. I mean, I’m getting a little old for that sort of thing (though I’m not far enough along for it to be a mid-life crisis), but I just don’t know. Add to that the loneliness of being single at Christmas, a time when I feel it more intensely despite being surrounded by loved friends and family. I just wish I had someone to share this with. To introduce to my family and my surrogate families and all the tumbling mess of connections that surround me. I want to pull someone into this and throw myself into someone else as well. And I wonder, ‘would it be easier if I wasn’t wearing skirts?’ What sort of barrier am I putting up? I think I still look good most of the time, but attractive? That’s a different question. I don’t know what people are looking for. Obviously, you’re all yelling what I know I should be thinking. It doesn’t matter. Someone who doesn’t see you as you are and love you for that is irrelevant and useless. There’s no point in not being yourself. But I just don’t know who I am sometimes. I spend so much time thinking about it, and telling people stories about it, and trying to present my most appropriate facets, that I really don’t know. Like I’m a swirling mass of ideas around this hollow core of emptiness. I am the calm at the eye of the storm. I am meaningless. Which is, despite all my usual clichéd platitudes, the truth. Or at least a truth. The centre cannot hold, and all that jazz.
The train is getting closer to home. Back to Brighton. Where enough people are weird enough that I can fit in. Where I can wear what I want and only get heckled, and not abused. I love it. But the bubble scares me. What do I look like to people on the outside? And is it enough to pretend they aren’t there? Or that they don’t matter? I mean. It doesn’t matter what they think of me. Sticks and stones and all that. If I can be happy being me, then that’s what matters. If I can strive to be a good me, by my own standards, then that’s what matters. But it doesn’t get me closer to knowing who to be. I take cues from others. Who my friends expect me to be, who strangers scare me into pretending to be. And it’s only when I am alone, agonising over every thought and moment, deconstructing and destroying my identity, that I have these worries. Put me in the situations I’m talking about, and unless I’m REALLY depressed, I’m fine. This is all just thoughts, painful thoughts. Words, words, words.
And I can’t help it. I solliloquise my misery and thus make it so. I’m like a boring Hamlet. Too clever to take action. Too thoughtful to just be. Too lonely to speak truth to anyone but myself. Too pretentious to bother with.
Ah well. These things happen. I’m home. And I’ll be fine soon. Very fine.