Friday, September 09, 2016

Not OK

I had a dream the other night in which a stern headmistress was yelling at me for not being unhappy enough and I was a small child promising her I was trying my very hardest to be unhappy.

Sometimes I have dreams in which I have succeeded or I am loved in ways I can understand and then I do grasp what happiness could be. Then I wake up and I'm the same broken failure I was before I went to sleep.

Mostly I don't dream at all or if I do, it's nothing worth remembering.

***

Today is RUOK Day and I am not OK. It feels better to say it but it doesn't really help.

Because it's not depression or bipolar or any other thing that you can easily label. It's having to be strong enough to cope with life. Because men are supposed to be strong.

But no one ever taught me how. I was just expected to grow into a man. As though I were a plant that you could expect to just grow leaves.

But plants need sunlight and water, don't they? We have to nurture them unless we want a world where only weeds prosper.


The only way to unfail is to succeed. But I don't know how. I don't know how not to be me. I don't know how even to start.

The truth is, becoming a man just means withering to the point that there just isn't anyone who even wants to nurture you. It means a choice between becoming hardened or dying, and when  you choose to die, you can do it fast or slow.

***

The other day, Ally said to me, you haven't really grieved for your mum. And that was right. But what she didn't say was, grieve now. Because she is grieving already and she is focused on her new baby and has forgotten that it's mine too and if I'm not all right the baby will be hurt just like her others were and still are being.

***

I was writing a blog about being a new dad. That was fun. Then I realised that I don't have any great wisdom to share and I'm not funny any more and I gave it up, like I give everything up, because I cannot bear any more to pour myself into things and no one cares. Not being cared for eventually feels so much like death that you don't even know why you are alive except that people need you and do they really? Don't they really just need whatever money you can scramble together, the roof you can put over their heads, the food you can buy? And when you become low paid and despised, your worth really does diminish and I am finding that really hard to bear.

***

Sometimes I dream that I am enough. I do. It doesn't feel wrong. So I still hope that I can live.

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