I really don’t know why I keep returning to memoir as a form – or narrative non-fiction, or whatever the fuck you’d call this – but, here we are again. Like a clock that chimes every few months. Even a broken biography is right twice a month, yeah?
There are certainly enough young white males out there sifting through their lives and retelling their own experiences with a bit more zest or flavour added in, just for the kick of it. I’m wholly aware that people won’t – or don’t – care, and I don't really think there are many reasons for them to care. However, I'm delving into memoir - that tepid softcock form of writing - for nobody else but myself. Please, feel free to care or not care away.
Continuing the ridiculousness of my brain and its healing patterns, my eyes appear to be fixing themselves. My doctors don’t know whether it’s the muscles surrounding my eye or the neural pathways that need fixing, but fixing is apparently happening. I really would’ve appreciated this a year and a half ago, but I’ll take what I can get.
I’ve now been fitted with a trippy pair of glasses called “prism”. Prism glasses somehow pull your vision into line so your brain can stitch what it’s seeing into one coherent image, like a normal person’s brain would. It does this through some sort of black optometry magic. Wearing them is a novel experience: something akin to having your finger bent back all day.
By this I mean, at the end of eight hours of uninterrupted prism, it fucking hurts.
I’m working as hard as I can to be a better person, blessed or cursed with the quite and acute knowledge that I have a lot of time to make up for (no matter how much I say it doesn’t, the year of 2014 weighs heavily on my mind, even now.)
The difference is, I don’t think it makes me a good or interesting person.
Communication puff pieces lifted from social media, four:
“Facebook is like a Pokedex of all the friends we’ve captured”
“I'm done! FFS! Nothing left! What the actual... ?! #innovative”
“i’m a trailblazer in the sense that i like to get blazed while walking on trails”
“On set for my first ad in which everyone is working very hard to make sure I'm "unrecognisable". Three years of drama school.#welcometothebusiness”
“When I’m telling a story and a friend interrupts:”
“karmic retribution is a pretty name for a baby”
Even now, returning to Sydney feels like a battle of epic proportions. Flying over, I can’t help think of me, two years younger, listening to Owen Pallet’s “I AM NOT AFRAID” in the desperate belief that, like “The Secret”, if you put something out into the world enough, it’d become true. The battleground is different, though: there’s nothing immediately pulling me back to That Place (NIDA; the place where I spent the majority of my waking hours, at least the first time) and I’m much more secure and comfortable in myself. (Unlike “The Secret”, I don’t need to put that out into the world – I just am.) More than anything, returning feels like that part of “The Wizard of Oz” where the Wizard is finally exposed for the fraud he is:
Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion – my personal favourite as a child, oh the irony – shake in fear as a huge emerald green head floats in front of them, bellowing fire and shrieking loudly like a viridian poltergeist.
“DO YOU PRESUME TO CRITICIZE THE GREAT OZ?! YOU UNGRATEFUL CREATURES!”
As he screams, Toto – that faithful rat of a dog – calmly trots over and pulls back a large green curtain, revealing a squat and chubby bald man.
“OH!” he squeals once he realises he’s been exposed. Then, closing the curtain, the classic: “PAY NO ATTENTION TO THAT MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN.
I’m well into that section, now. The veil has been lifted; I’ve paid attention to the man behind the curtain and I’m just now in the process of figuring out how the fuck to click my heels three times.
Speaking of Sydney, returning last time taught me to be careful about whom I invested in, friendship-wise. Cultivating companionship is harder work than it should be, and I don’t have the time for bullshit, or running around attempting to please people. This mental shift developed into me losing people I’d thought were my friends, but also not really caring as I reasoned:
- If they wanted to be my friends, they might consider trying a little harder, and
- Less bad friends means more time for the good friends.
Except now my initial, conditioned response – one rarely acted on, mind you – is “FINE, WELL HAVE A GOOD LIFE” if someone doesn’t respond to me within whatever time my brain has decided is polite to respond in. I haven’t acted on this insane impulse, though, as I’ve reminded myself quietly and firmly: people have lives, dickhead.
There were so many things that I wanted to say to you, but I never gave myself the chance – or maybe (probably) I was scared that it’d be too full on to do so. After a year and a half’s worth of unspoken intention and intermittent anxiety, me suddenly developing the gumption to actually speak freely and honestly would’ve been a lot to handle. So, I should’ve taken that chance – or one of the numerous ones offered to me before it – and actually put myself out there like real friends do.
I fucked up, and I’m sorry, but you stepped as far away from me as you could, apropos of nothing – and that’s fine; you gotta do what you gotta do. But don’t expect me to play at the friendship we used to have when I see you. You seem to be doing well, though, and I hear that you’re busy. I’m happy for you.
Suddenly I've found myself reliving my late teens, situationally, anyhow. I've got braces again and I'm working in a call centre, again. At least this time I'm more emotionally stable (knock on wood, right?!), have better fashion sense, and am avoiding stupid boys as a blanket rule. Finding myself back here is both fitting and humbling in a way, letting me know: however high you think you've gotten, there will always be dental work and depressing employment opportunities waiting with open arms.
Five text messages selected at random:
- “I’ve never had the pleasure of absorbing that charisma in person.”
- “We chose French in the end as we wanted a free bottle of wine jahaha”
- “Hi this is disgusting I feel dirty delete it fat x”
- “Haha if we couldn’t we’d probably be dead.”
- “be gentle”
It’s my new game plan for myself.
Aimlessly browsing Tumblr just now, my finger hovered over the mouse button to reblog a picture. There’s a hot pink painted wall, fluorescent lighting above, and a pink and black sign in capital cursive that reads: FUCK YEAH, IT HURTS.
Previously, I’d have reblogged this without a second thought, playing endlessly into the online persona I’ve created for myself; an intelligent and sarcastic gay boy who you’re never quite sure is joking or hurting more*. Now, I find, I falter, pausing to consider putting that out there: again, FUCK YEAH, IT HURTS.
I don’t really have any interest in doing so. Maybe because it doesn’t hurt. Or maybe because I don’t want to come off like an overenthusiastic BDSM bottom.
* I once found an image on Tumblr that I felt summed this falsity up perfectly: a pastel pink and blue image with the words SASSY AND SAD emblazoned across it.
As said before: I’m not doing this for anyone but myself.
I’m too poor for a therapist, so blogging will have to suffice as a poor effigy of mental clarity.
The thing that nobody tells you, is that it actually works.