A brief dedication is due, as although I wrote this during the period of a walk, following an emotional chat with my sisters, and with the desire to be near someone well acquainted with my history, of who Be— was the only candidate in the city and also whose space I wished to respect at that point in the day, a set of circumstances that left me jotting some notes for a text which grew to be what you see below, because while I did write this on my phone while I was walking, the truth is that this piece represents the fruits of a 12 year labour: a struggle through anxiety, depression, alcoholism, drug addiction, self-harm, and abusive relationships in which I was most often the bad guy, and a pretty deplorable partner by all accounts—I have a lot to not be proud of, it is fair to say.
Now, amazingly, and to my surprise as much as anyone else’s, over the last one-two months, things have started to get better, like, a lot better, to the extent that I have a lot of difficulty articulating the profound nature of the change—so this is what I have endeavoured to do below. I hope you will enjoy what you see when you look into my soul.
In dedication to my family, Ja—, El——-, Ch—– and El—, and to Be—.
I needed more from all of you than was fair to ask and still you delivered. I would not be here today without each and every one of you. Thank you.
And a special thanks to you mum, for putting son before shrink; for valuing love over science. I look forward to learning more from you as life goes on. Rare is the mix of intelligence and humility necessary to exceed one’s self-expectations so thoroughly – I’m not sure I will meet another who does it with such grace as you. Love you!
Of Science and Salvation
I feel foreign to my own head. My mental geography has changed so rapidly that the map-makers could not keep up. Everything is familiar other than the feeling—I feel safe. I have a home in this strange land, somehow.
I feel content; comfortable.
It’s as though a genius inventor took hold, tore at the seams, reduced my mind to its component parts, then reconstructed it in such a fashion as to radically alter the landscape while fundamentally changing nothing.
Every piece, still recognizable. All the spikes and barbs still remain.
Yet they’ve been enfolded, nestled, and woven into one another in so brilliant a pattern that they no longer threaten the witness.
There is a peace. A harmony. A melody out of mad parts.
Three feelings born of composition and not addition.
I am at once disoriented and calm. Things have found their places. The machine no longer grinds against itself; no longer are two parts moving in opposite directions forced into territorial contest of great exertion, where even the winner leaves as less than before. The pieces still possess opposite natures but space has been allowed for them to move smoothly—like a mad carnival whose Ferris wheels run through each other by every conceptive angle save the perspective of the rider.
How do they do that? I cannot say.
Had this transformation not taken place in my own head I doubtless would not believe it had happened at all. Even as it moves in my domain I am hesitant to believe it—yet move it does. Round and round. Every narrowly missed collision prompts not sweat on the brow nor lightning-panic, but the gradual redefinition of what can be considered narrowly. As though ten years of emotional oil flooded forth in a month, surging from some un-surveyed, unseen dam, remedying all maladies of machine mischief. For before I knew not of oil in application, just in theory, and I could not look at the chaotic clunking of best intention and identify its lack—the well lubricated and the languished are inseparable to the neophyte’s eyes. To the eyes who know from books and diagrams but not of experience, never having felt the very thing they so eagerly profess!
I have felt it now.
I have touched the truth, and only now know that I knew nothing of what I dealt before and could never forget; could never fall; back into ignorance.
So familiar. So foreign.
Finally to have found form in family.
Grim features forged in flame suddenly, without warning, bear flowers.
Long supposed dead buds, planted in a lost age—it must be!
All logics defied; fictions fill the void that was not known to be there.
As charred wood brings forth life without forgiveness; unabashed, transcendent growth—Holy miracles! Am I worthy of thee? For so long I have suffered!
I dared not dream beyond; and alternative I could not conceive!
Yet before me it stands, thrust upon me, smuggled in while I slept, no hand in this have I—Fair Father! Mighty Mother! Sensitive Sisters! You stood by me while I floundered. You stood by me while I spat venomous slander; accused you of standing idle; accused you of abandoning me; accused you of every sin I knew; of every sin I had learned to commit! Oh evil of evil! How horrid I’ve been to the ones I tried most to love!
And they loved me all the while; showed me how to love, what love was; is; showed me how to love a most unlovable brute, for what else could be said of me in those years!
You showed me how to love myself.
Thank you for standing by me.
I cannot ask for forgiveness when I have done everything unforgivable.
But as I slowly stand, as I crawl my hands up your most formidable family, as my legs shake in memory of their treachery—Oh how I’ve misused them!—I slowly find my balance, a foal from foul fool!
Twenty-five years it has taken me to find my footing.
Any sensible animal would have left me to die during that first formidable winter, yet you stood by me, and I didn’t understand.
For twenty-four winters I didn’t understand.
But now, at last, I do. I see what is true; I see that we are not sensible animals at all!
We are lovers.
And so I clamber to my feet at last to find my legs firm, for my heart finally beats without the hapless interference of thoughts.
Thoughts may make the world, but actions make the man.
And so at long last I stand. I stand by you, my blood, as you have stood by me, for finally, after twenty-five years, my heart does honest beat.
In my excitement to consider myself a quick-learner,
I failed to realize when I became the slowest of them all.
For one last time, to all those who have stuck with me over these years,
I’m sorry, I was only ever doing my best.
I love you all