I’ve woken up with the full impact of something that started to creep up on me the last couple of days. Initially like a fine mist, hardly discernible. Then last night the clouds darkened and in them I saw the shapes of truth starting to form. I spoke my truth to a friend and after he left I tried looking in another direction for the sunlight. Yet the clouds now were chasing me.
I’m due to fly to Amsterdam in a few hours to see Pearl Jam and I am so miserable. I feel so lonely, so alone. This is my thing. Or has been for 5 years. This has also been a marker to the progress I’ve made since the summer of 06 when I overdosed and only lived because I was with people who brought me round. I quit using drugs and drink in the autumn of 06. Seeing them in 06 was not going to happen with needles eating the money I had. 07 I couldn’t make it to London to see them as money was thin being on benefits and trying to get myself together. By 09 I had some work and caught the 2 UK shows, met ‘PJ Paul’ and became part of the touring community. ’10 I caught 3 shows, 2 in Ireland, the second in Belfast and I chose to not get accommodation for that night to save money and intended to crash at the airport but it was closed so I loitered in a hotel lobby and wandered the streets till the airport opened.
I had a goal. To be working,earning enough to be able to afford a real road trip without crashing in airports, watching every penny. ‘Success’ for the guy who died and made it back.
’12 came along and I made it to 5 shows but with a backdrop of a chaotic relationship. She went back with her ex just as I’m about to fly to Prague. The wounded child in me accepts her apologies by email,the show is year stained. The pattern learned as a child that to be abused, not be able to trust and to accept crumbs is alive. The little boy in me knows this well…do whatever you like to me and I’ll accept it as long as there’s a little something for me. Lie to me,beat me,break my heart; it’s ok so long as you’re there to do it again. This mess lasted until the December and a horrible ending. But I was free,painfully 4 months of intense grieving free.
As time took me into spring I started to form a dream. A dream to go to the States and see PJ on their expected Fall tour. I was working hard and when the dates were released I committed. I was going to make it happen. I did.
This was for me, for the child in me that never got to do what he wanted. For the adolescent in me who had never been having had to look after himself from 16 in a wreckage of a family. We went to the US. We rocked, we danced, we met people, we ate great food. There were tears. Tears of joy as dreams came true, permission to live alive was granted.
The gift to myself was huge on many levels. Truly loving myself, giving to myself. The first show in Phoenix was a dream. Everything I dared to hope for and more. And more! Me? Me receive more from the gods than I could dream about? Oh my, how does that fit with the heartbroken child? This was good eating, the sweet taste of joy.
And I came back knowing I had to leave my job even though I earned well. I had to take care of me and stop working where I’m not valued,where consciousness didn’t exist,where I didn’t have to fight to be heard.
The gods knew this and gave me the gift of being able to start my own music project,Given To Live, thanks to the right people being in my life. I love this project and it’s tough as I’m alone and haven’t earned for a couple of months. Thankfully I’ve had financial help from a couple of friends to help me get by. I utterly believe in the project.
So I fly to Amsterdam in a few hours thankful I could pay upfront in December when the dates were announced. Yet this feels hollow.
I wonder who I am and what I want. I want to meet someone to love and be loved by. A real relationship built on trust.
I’ve been single for over 18 months bar a couple of exploratory kisses. I feel unattractive, fat, unlikeable. Yet there is a growing sense of self that says I’m ok as I am. Out with the old in with the new. Painfully so.
I do so much to distract myself…series on Netflix, often pure dross but addictive, copious amounts of coffee, smoking fiercely, eating crap. I gamble, not enough to hurt me financially but enough to distract me-and boy are there gambling opportunities with the World Cup on. Oh how like my father I am except he never stops gambling until he is forced to take a break because he’s losing.
All this yet somehow I feel better about myself than I’ve ever done. Perhaps all this distraction is to keep me from letting my magnificence shine through. Perhaps I daren’t shine.
Perhaps after years of necessary distraction, self medication to numb to trauma,pain,shame that is the legacy of my childhood I’m now trying to numb my ascent into adulthood? Perhaps being me is so unusual I don’t know what to do.
I want to write. I want to fall in love passionately. I want to laugh and dance with joy.
Ah! Ah…I’ve been with my current therapist for over six years. A theme has been for me to learn to accept being ordinary. So a little awareness arises and I see this trip doesn’t have to be the same as my US trip. This isn’t about great obstacles being overcome, this isn’t about proving to myself I can achieve dreams.
This is that life goes on. That it’s ordinary. That I can go see my favourite band and have a great time and that’s it. That adventures don’t always have monsters to fight.
Now I’m ready to go. Now I know I’m allowed to enjoy my trip even though it’s not a landmark trip like November’s. It’s a landmark of its own, of thinking ahead and booking in December when I had the money and taking care of me. Of remembering life is ordinary a lot of the time. That this trip,and Berlin the week after, are gifts to me if more subtle than November’s.
I’m ready. Thank you all for this space to share. A place in my need for distraction I’ve not visited in a while. Outside my window clouds are gathering. Inside me the clouds have been chased away and it feels like springtime, a time of hope, of new life.
Note to self…Tom, write more often for the love of god. It’s my stairway to divinity. Pay attention to this.