Monday, February 14, 2011

Cursed all the same

There's always another side to the coin, of course. You sober up and in the morning your head hurts and you're still tired.

You are reminded often how bad you are at being a father, how like your own dad you are, how long the years stretch before you, that you will have to try to be better than you are and fail, how many years you will have to be reminded how poor you are, materially and spiritually, how trapped you are by circumstances. You hear yourself angry over something small and you think, so much for the positive parenting. Whoever wrote that stuff did not ever feel stressed or unhappy, or had the wherewithal to compartmentalise life sufficiently not to allow one thing to spill over into another.

And you write to the people who give you work and beg for more, and none comes, and each month you wonder how you will pay the rent the next. There is always something else to pay for and you could manage it if you had money coming in and knew how that was, but never knowing whether you can meet your obligations wears you down. Each month the worry grows that you will not get more work, that they don't rate you any more but haven't told you, because that happens and it's not something you can smell in the wind. Or sometimes you do smell it in the wind and have to ignore it because you cannot despair.

And you are stuck with it because you never were happy go lucky but the burden of responsibility has sucked you dry of optimism. You can't just make your meagre living from poker because something tells you that if you try, you will never make it. You can't just write your pirate novel because a little voice says, huh, why bother? No one will want it, just as no one has ever wanted anything you've had to offer. You have nothing at all anyone wants, so give up, drive a bus, work in an office, die as what you were: an ordinary fool with ideas above his station, no one special.

And every time you meet someone you are thinking, let this be the one, let this be the person I will love and who will love me, and you do not know which flaw will be the one she hates enough to let you go, but how can a person as simple as you are have so many flaws! How is it so impossible for anyone to think that whatever there is good about you is enough?

The worst thing is, curses are self-fulfilling prophecies. You expect the worst and that's what you get. Sometimes, I wish I still suffered from mania. At least I had times I felt like life could be wonderful. Now I'm stuck with wondering whether I will even have a life at all.


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