Stars

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“On soft Spring nights I’ll stand in the yard under the stars – Something good will come out of all things yet – And it will be golden and eternal just like that – There’s no need to say another word.”
― Jack Kerouac

 

Okay, technically August isn’t Spring. And I couldn’t see any stars, though I wanted to believe they were out there twinkling their approval, getting in on the moment like they would in a Disney cartoon. The light had already started to fade through the cheap yellow curtains at least half an hour before. Now the dimness draped the room in early night.

She was laying on the bed next to me. I was following the line of the curve from her waist to her shoulders with my hand. She was silhouetted against what remained of the light outside. I stared, trying to capture the moment in some fractured memory bank that wasn’t full of bad times. I couldn’t believe what was happening. Everything I’d ever experienced up to that moment meant nothing. The World could have ended as we kissed. Nothing mattered except being exactly in that single moment with her. Maybe, I thought, I really had earned it after all? I was in love. And it felt like I’d never been in love before. I’d missed out, or missed the point, yet here it was – complete and total desire and respect and admiration and a brand new feeling of a cosmic, chemical, soul connection that transcended anything I’d ever experienced: golden and eternal. Kerouac was right. There is no need to say another word.

Examine this

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Okay. Do you know how wrong it all was? Everything you did? Examine closely. It’s possible.

I suppose most of how we interact with life is down to simple causes, or beliefs.  We are simple creatures, however different we think we are. This is heavy stuff, and I might not be able to get my point across right now. There is not a lot to be said for typing on this keyboard at this hour after the medication I’ve consumed. Oh, and Therapy was cancelled today. But, hey, here we are.

Today is not about death, or hopelessness. It is about life. The most alive I’ve ever felt. The most emotionally exposed I’ve ever been. People with Borderline Personality Disorder are supposed to feel like third degree burn sufferers. We feel the slightest touch. And, mostly, it hurts. But not this time. Right now I’m at the mercy of something overwhelming and good.

There is a shift in my life. A palpable, touchable, event, person, emotion, that has driven out almost all other thoughts. Some might say it’s just down to Oxytocin, but I don’t believe in science. I believe in the look in somebody’s eyes, or the sound of something chasing you in the darkness. You can’t put that in a petri dish and make it grow into fungal lumps, measure it, or get a diagnosis to stick. There is no cure.

Like I’d ever want one.

 

 

 

Fine Print

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Someone told me that you should just write. Doesn’t matter what it’s about – choose the first thing that comes into your head. I followed that advice for years. Even sitting doing paid gigs for magazines/websites and PR companies. Mostly the advice proved to be good. Only one Editor refused to print something I’d written without ‘Major fucking changes to the way you are blowing smoke up the ass of the W.B.C.’

Today I’m finding it difficult. Really difficult. Worse than psychotic episode brain-freeze. Or gibberish. Shit, I liked the gibberish. Reading the ravings of someone deep into a paranoid belief the neighbours are all police officers makes for fun reflection when the dust has settled. I’ve written high, low, hallucinating, starving, puking, hungover, and when it’s been so cold that the olive oil in my kitchen has frozen. But not today. There is no coherent thought I can drag along on the back of. Well, there’s one, but it’s so consuming that I feel like I’m being eaten from the inside out.

My Psychologist and I argued on the phone about how I deal with this. She’s worried. Kept asking me about my propensity to self harm. Wanting to assess the level of danger. I could hear her typing things down carefully as I spoke. ‘No……honestly, for fuck’s sake, I’m safe.’ One answer like that is usually enough, but she must have asked me four or five times over twenty minutes. Same answer, same typing. Same thought, over and over and over. Same face, same smile, same laughter.

Music on now. Loud. Someone told me it’s all about grounding yourself in times like these. I guess it works, mostly. Maybe a quick prayer will help?

Okay, God, you fucking owe me. Let’s not argue about that, eh. We both know it. I’ve borne enough bullshit and hurt to last me from here until you high-five my hand warmly as I ride through those big gates on a Raleigh Chopper. Time for that re-birth you’re always banging on about in those pamphlets that come through my letterbox infrequently. Forget the gibberish about dinosaurs and homosexuals. That stuff isn’t important. You’ve lost your way a bit concentrating on things that don’t matter. Give me this one fucking chance to feel good.

There. I told you this thing would be incoherent. But at least whatever being is tending the eternal campfire up there now has the fine print in black and white. Spiritual proof, if you will. Maybe you can write your way to anything if you let it just flow?

The Connection

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The chapel had been funny. The Elvis impersonator was a Chinese guy. When they said the whole ceremony could be done in less than five minutes they weren’t kidding. Even down to the karate routine at the end. Outside there was a queue. In Vegas the impersonality of vacationers lends to crazy impulses, and there is always some scheme set up to fleece the good-willed. And hordes of willing victims. Still, in there, at that moment, they were both laughing. They were in on the joke of it all. That’s the reason they came. That, and the connection they’d made that was so intense you should have been able to see it from the Moon.

In the convertible outside they sat down into the seats, put on the stereo loud, and squealed the tyres blasting down the strip to the lights at the end. There was crazy talk over the noise of the wind and the music. A sense of dangerous excitement and a big motherfucking country right out there in front of the steering wheel. Cheap motels, the desert, and the Mountains of the Sierra, all moments away. They took turns to drive, both jamming their right foot hard into the floor. Gunning the thing. Laughing. Holding hands. Stopping to refuel. Kissing. Two people with some weird soul-bond, heading out under the milky way with the roof down. Maybe all the way to Alaska, Canada? Fuck, it might not end there. There were Northern Lights to sit and stare at, hold each other. Plan a graffiti crime-spree on the walls of a hick town. And wondrous, spirt-touching, intense love making to send them soaring.

 

 

Woe

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The chairs scraped on the tiled floor in the little back room in the big Georgian house. There was a blackboard on the wall chalked with Greek, sometimes Latin, other times French verbs. We always had about half an hour in there before we went into the main teaching room. This was a time to say hi to the other students (about eight of us) and practice the shit on the black board. The technique must have worked because there I was, ten years old, able to conjugate French and Latin verbs. The Greek was fucking impossible.

The place was for gifted kids. Man…..

-I can’t concentrate. I couldn’t back then, and I can’t today. There’s a recirculating thought zipping back around when I thought I’d given it the slip. Even a simple memory and a few minutes sitting typing is impossible. What the fuck is happening to me?!

I’m trying to avoid feelings of woe. Yes, I guess that’s the main issue today. But I’m not the only one.

The rain flooded out a big festival near here last night. Girls with smeared glittery faces turned up at the supermarket shivering and trying to reconcile that they’d gone past the point where festival mud had stopped being chic and funny. The headline band had cancelled their show. Up on the bleak hills of the festival site, open to the elements, 20,000 people are shivering in brown goo this morning. And no amount of ketamine will dry your clothes. Rumours of water being turned off in the showers, cars too deep in the mud to move by tractor, and roaming gangs destroying tents. Fear is apparent in the Twitter posts of desperate teenagers. No chance of walking home from that remote hillside. God, the nearest train station is 6 miles away down a road with no pavements, used by speeding articulated lorries from the quarry. No escape. They are all trapped like tadpoles in a jam jar.

I can’t think straight. There is not single chance I can write anything coherent today. I’m thinking of airplanes, sunny beaches, electricity, the solid thwack of a metaphysical arrow. Woe.

Staying Alive

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At 3am you get the sense you’ve been here before; light crawling up the hillside, the grey porridge of the end of night, too early to move, too late to go to sleep. Early July, 3am, is a time to sit on the edge of a bed and draw the curtain and create the notion of hope in the forming daylight. You might sit like that for a while, pausing to throw yourself back onto the bed and stare at the ceiling and wonder, and think, and try to let all those thoughts drift up and out of the open window with any prayers you might have silently mouthed. And I did.

Where thoughts like that go is anyone’s guess. I could almost see them reaching out from inside and forming long golden lines like cosmic silk, floating up into the morning. Almost. Perhaps some God somewhere gathers them in and weaves a better future if you can only provide enough? A vast omnipotent being, taking in my hopes and dreams and slowly piecing the threads together until it hands them back to me fully formed into a gold jacket. Maybe that’s what happened to Barry Gibb? He had the right contacts up there, a direct line. Priority customer. Maybe I’m still in the queue, further down the list? Or they boogied all their bonhomie away on that one sacred item of clothing? NO energy left to complete my order.

And that’s it today. The birds need feeding, the grass needs mowing, and I still have to write some more stuff in order to eat. Standard day on earth. Basic human events. Totally under control. So why is my heart beating faster than it should? My thoughts aren’t still. They get only so far then return to the same point over and over, like a looping disco track. I just don’t have the right clothes.

 

The Karma Instinct

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Right wrist swollen. Hot to the touch. Four hours of broken sleep thanks to a dog barking outside, then a neighbour coughing up the first cigarette of the day at 6am. The horsefly which bit me on the wrist yesterday is laughing hard from the place insects go to when they’ve been crushed to death. I felt the mouth pieces pierce my skin with a sharp jab. Now whatever bacteria was on that evil proboscis is breeding under my skin and causing me to fear things flying around right now. Every fly, or moth, is an animal trying to hurt me.

This constant state of fear won’t last. That’s the lie I tell myself, anyhow.

But beneath the fresh hell of another animal trying to kill me, I feel happy. It’s funny the effect people can have. Even from a distance. Thanks to my friends visit I now have a beautiful set of thoughts to return to when I want them. Like a good, righteous, film. Or the best album I’ve ever heard. Play and repeat, and love the feelings.

More Redbush tea. There’s no caffeine in it. And maybe that’s showing, because I’m 169 words in to this and I don’t know where I’m going with it. I keep returning to those thoughts. I suppose I’m allowed. I’ll take it as Karma, maybe some Cosmic payback.

You don’t turn your back on feelings like these. Not if you’ve learned anything about how the Universe works. Or the consequences of ignoring an instinct.

Passionate debate

She was wearing stockings. I could see the tops of them as she crossed her legs up high, drunk. The short dress was skewed from a bad rearrangement following a trip to the toilet. Across her shoulders a small fur stole hung off one side and exposed a black bra strap. Her hair was messy curly and looked like it’d had recently seen the ruffles of an overzealous lover.

He sat the other side of the small pub table and spoke loudly, gesturing his hands like he’d watched too many politicians and was trying really hard to expand his power base purely by hand signals. He was winning. The small party around him listened to his slurred words. She ran a stiletto up and down his leg as her husband watched out of the corner of his eyes from another table.

“We are in control of the country now. Let’s just get the immigrants sorted out and we’ve done it all,” he boomed. She swooned a little under the weight of the booze and the prospect of a fuck with a sense of purpose, from someone who was going places. Her hand moved under the table towards his groin.

Next to them at this post-meeting Conservative pub crawl, four older members watched the foulness in front of them and nodded approval. The immigrants needed stopping. They would lower the tone of the whole fabric of British society if they were given half a chance. Where would family values be when people were having sex in the streets and homes were being invaded by heroin-addicted squatters? Thankfully, they thought, all that was a long way away right now. What we had here was the cream of the crop, spilling gin and tonics and cheap lager on the scrubbed tables of a backwater pub high on a hill – non-white patron count = nil. This was the future.

Her husband finally had enough of watching his wife fondling the local Conservative Party council candidate. He stood up, told her she was a whore, stumbled out of the pub and rapped on the window outside. “You fucking bitch,” he yelled at her, then zigzagged off into the night.

Much was decided locally that evening, including my solemn oath to never enter politics.

Dichotomy #1

There’s a famous quote I say to myself a lot: “He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.” There. Got it?

I guess in simple terms this is a mantra for myself to explain how I react in any given situation and is the blueprint for my default setting. I explained this to my Psychologist but she disagreed. Her take was that I wasn’t a ‘beast’. Hooray for cheerleading, eh. There’s nothing she won’t try and dig me out of if she thinks it’ll help me. But the exchange [Break – Phonecall, just now while typing. It was my old, soon to be returned to work after having a baby, Clinical Psychologist. Was great to hear her voice. She’s having me back on her caseload] did get me to thinking about the effects of my behaviour on others.

Here’s a post I read the other day – https://slaygirlsociety.com/2017/02/14/i-asked-my-boyfriend-what-he-thinks-of-my-mental-illness-for-valentines-day/  I thought it was brave to ask your loved one to pick at the scab over the biggest wound you have.

Unbelievably I do have a girlfriend, but I can’t bring myself to ask her to explain to me how my appalling behaviour affects her. It’s unfair for starters because I hide most of it – the cutting and punching, etc – but I guess I just don’t want to know what someone I love really thinks about me. The truth often hurts, in my experience.

I don’t know where I’m going with this now. The phonecall threw me. If there’s anything to learn reading this it’s that you should never be afraid to put your trust in someone you feel worthy enough to hold. Life, and love, are as simple as that. Ha! Talk about dishing out advice I can’t even follow myself. The fucking, skin-splitting horror of revealing the true me is just too awful to contemplate. Focus on the good, Ben. That’s the key here. Ignore the shitstorm underneath, if you can keep it hidden this far then the signs are good that trend will continue. Hopefully forever.

No, that’s unfair. Bring it back on theme for the love of god…. I am not all the terrible things that creep around corners in my brain when I’m looking the other way. There is good in all of this, along with the bad, and there is hope it can permanently change. After all, that’s why I’m in therapy.  In Chicago a hundred years ago they reversed the flow of an entire river. No-one cares now where it used to go.

The quote at the top is a reflection of who I am in my ill state but it’s not a pervasive story of my entire life right now. Sure, I feel the pain of being alive a lot, but I’m also loving and caring and take real joy in being with the person I love; the dichotomy of life, and I didn’t even need Valentines day to prompt me to say it. That, like so much I have done, was yesterday.

A Borderline Christmas

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I meant to write about the things I shouldn’t have done in my life. It was going to be a tortuous and sometimes violent list, including such lowlights as: heroin, getting married, and attacking a guy at the front of a Steven Malkmus gig. Not a lot of laughs there, but then, reading my blog must be like self-harming in a way. Speaking of which…. nah…probably best not to go down that line because I went back to the razor blade recently. Plus I’m on my own for the rest of the day and night and I’ve got access to a lot of booze and pills. Bad idea all round. Time to change the tone of this thing.

Soon enough it’s going to be Christmas.

Will that do?

I’m guessing it won’t. I have bad memories of Christmases stretching back into the 1970s. Sometimes it feels like they weren’t even the earliest ones either; I got to live this crap well before I got born this time. Cursed, I guess. Stuck with it.

“What would life be like without this?” a Psychologist once wrote on some paper and gave to me. It was the last time I saw her before she gave up being a Psychologist and went travelling. Ironic, predictive, and telling I suppose. At the time I thought that scrap of paper – pinned up in my house – was a tiny key to a big lock. It might even cancel out the reincarnation curse if I could find the answer. I haven’t worked it out yet, but I might.

Instead of what I have done, maybe it’s all about what I haven’t? I mean, I’ve worked with serial killers, addicts (been one, too), counselled rape victims with their bruises shining out at me, seen the dying, and the dead, seen violence you probably won’t ever get to see (if you’re lucky), and I’ve been involved in all of the horror of a life with BPD and too many lonely nights. These things aren’t helpful. They’ll never be helpful to anybody at any point. My partner says I’ve been in the dark too much. I think she’s right. It’s no eureka moment, but you get the idea. And so do I.

No, today is all about the love of a good woman, the little tree she got me – it’s the only Christmas decoration in my house – and the hope drawing in from tomorrow. Yes?