Today I was at a train station, as I got to the platform there was a train approaching which wasn’t stopping there.
I was at the start of the platform quite near the edge. I looked back and as I watched the train rapidly close the distance, there was a moment where I didn’t know if I was going to jump.
Then that moment passed. I stood helpless as the carriages barrelled past me. A pang of regret hit my stomach as tears silently danced down my cheeks. I turned around to walk down the platform to a spot where I could board the train home, and then I saw her.
A woman about my age had been watching me. Her face portrayed a morbid curiosity. No concern or empathy, just intrigue. She saw that I noticed her and gave a short frown accompanied by a shrug then went back to reading her paper.
This is unfortunately the world we live in, one where someone can see a man in so much turmoil and pain that he gazes wistfully into death, and callously watch as though hoping to see something entertaining.
That is not a world I want to be in.
Yesterday I woke up at 7. I went downstairs to get a cup of tea, grabbed a mug, put the teabag in, then stuck the kettle on. The next thing I know it’s 9:30 and I’m just waking up in bed. At first I thought nothing of it, but when I went downstairs the mug was in the exact place where I thought I had put it.
Weird, right? I lost two hours of my memory. I have no recollection of what happened between me turning on the kettle and waking up two hours later. The thing is, it’s not the first time this has happened.
Back in uni, one day I was walking to a lecture and it happened. I woke up in bed again a few hours later, but my face was covered in blood (most likely a nose bleed or something). Again I have circumstantial evidence that it wasn’t just a dream – I had been texting someone that morning and the texts were still there, including one saying I had just left the student halls.
I don’t know what causes these and the only correlation I can see is that I seem to abandon what I’m doing then wake up in bed afterwards. There are other times it has happened but I won’t bore you with the details. It isn’t a frequent enough occurrence that I would consider it a pattern; just something somewhat concerning.
Many times I have been given a chance to change things, whether that’s from finding a new friend group or being in a different environment. The trouble is that I don’t know what I need to change about myself to give myself a chance at a happy life. I can feel that there is something – there always has been, something that keeps me coming back to this place in my mind. I just don’t know what it is.
I like to think that given the chance to understand what makes me how I am, I would take it. But the truth is that I don’t think I would recognise the chance, because when I’m stuck in this headspace I struggle to see the choices I’m making. I do things and don’t understand why at the time, it can often seem like they just happen regardless of the course of action I choose – even though I want the opposite of those things to happen. I subconsciously self sabotage and prevent that change because I’m so used to things being how they are that I’m worried they will get worse as a result of my efforts to escape. I’m scared that I don’t know how to be any different and I’m doomed to remain this way forever.
These are my factory settings and I don’t have the administrator password.
Recently I’ve realised that I struggle to feel meaningful connections to people. This has always been the case, and as a result when I do feel a connection to someone I have a tendency to latch on to it. Those few connections I’ve felt have been some of the most important things in my life – frequently to a greater degree than familial connections. So when the longest standing connection that I had was tarnished by an event that still makes me want to let go of my entire identity even after a year, it put significant strain on the other connections that were interlinked.
I didn’t understand what it was until now, but nothing had really felt the same since. I could be in a room full of my closest friends and I would still feel alone. Almost as if I wasn’t really there. To those around me I probably just seem a bit quieter than usual or a bit more distant, but I have long been known for spacing out at times so perhaps they don’t see the change. While I still recognise that those connections are present, I find it hard to use them and be aware of their meaning. My trust in those I care for is gone; if he could do that then everything I thought I knew about anyone is up for question. I just don’t know how to be around people and let them in to my heart or mind anymore. It’s not just the pre-existing connections; there was a time when I would try to meet new people and forge new potential friendships, but now I don’t know how to let myself do that.
I’ve started a new job recently and my coworkers barely know anything about me as I can’t bring myself to open up to them or take an interest in getting to know them. The online communities I’ve been active and involved in for years now barely hear from me and when I am present they think of me as the quiet type – only saying anything when there is direct relevance or need for it.
To those that have offered support recently I will say this: I am not yet ready to trust again to the degree that would be required for the type of help you have offered. I hear you and I appreciate that you are concerned for me, but I need some time to heal on my own before I can learn to trust again.
A lattice of carvings sweep across the canvas. Both individually and together seemingly without meaning, yet each tells part of a story which gains cohesion when viewed chronologically. Time cuts another shallow channel through the space, making pre-existing tracks deeper and more defined. The two dimensional array of marks gains a third dimension which measures the weight of events. The further past their point of origin in time the less depth they have, until all that remains is a map of key moments.
An autumn leaf sways gently. It’s stem holds fast to the tree with dead fibers, remaining in place only because they have yet to break. A more enthusiastic gust could pluck the leaf from it’s home, sending it tumbling down to join the rest of the detritus on the ground.
A passer-by remains oblivious to the dance of this leaf as it gets caught in his slipstream, twirling through the air as it glides off the path and onto an unkempt lawn.
A swallow swoops down to snatch the leaf from the ground, gliding on the wind to return to it’s home amongst the trees. The leaf is home once more but is not the same as it once was. No longer alone, the leaf is nestled amongst mud and twigs with more dead leaves held between them. Now it is protected and can atrophy undisturbed by further wind.
I’ll start off by saying that if I have misinterpreted your intended recipient then I’m sorry and you can proceed to disregard this (not that I think you would anyway).
In a way you’re right – I’m looking for an opportunity, a way out. I’ve known for a while that it will be difficult to find one, but probability and chaos suggest that there is going to be one. If I am looking at the time then I will take it. I know what a chance would mean to me and how I would recognise it, but it isn’t something I can articulate.
Part of the problem is that I feel trapped. I got a job in hopes that a sense of responsibility would change things, but now it not only feels like I am in a cage but there is a guard telling me when and how to breathe.
I am under no illusion that things are guaranteed to be better past the way out but I am willing to roll the dice. At this point, carrying on due to not knowing seems worse than the alternative.
All of this doesn’t mean I’m not looking for other ways to change it, quite the opposite in fact. I just don’t want to try indefinitely.