Here I am, sitting in a tin can

Today has been stupid hard. Took me till past midday to get out of bed and that’s only because I gave up on the idea I’d feel any better at some point, but had at least stopped nearly throwing up.

Now I’m sitting in a pub with my sister listening to Bowie and I feel more normal, more a freak but more sane, than I have in a long time. There’s a bunch of working people letting off steam, singing half the songs and downing cider and craft beers. They’re gorgeous, so much more themselves then they ever are during the working day. We stop being cogs in a machine at night. Sometimes I kind of forget that’s true of other people too. I fall in love with them all, they are human again, shedding roles like dead skin. I wonder if any of them work in mental health and if they’re assholes during the day. By night all is forgiven, there’s a brotherhood here. The more extroverted/soused are dancing by the DJ. I’m drinking a cider chosen for the picture of gumboots on the label.

The beat thumps in my throat, welcome change from the lump the size of a baseball I’ve been trying to breathe around. I’m wearing eye shadow for f sake, when did I last do that? I’ve spent the last year trying to get pregnant, turning myself into some frighteningly narrow idea of a parent. How can you live for a kid who doesn’t even exist yet? How have I lost my sense of self? Why When’s the last time I did something as myself not as a parent in waiting? What would I want myself anyway, a generic parent starving, or some actual weird-as person being themselves? Easy to answer, hard to do. I’m freefalling without roles and grasping for instructions (someone save me!) yet none of them bring me back to myself like being here tonight. (I promised, no more saviours, still have the scars from the last one) Obedience will make me whole? I f doubt it. Outrageous defiance is a likelier path, love.

I take off my coat just to feel the cold on my skin. I remember there used to be no better protection against the brutal day than black lipstick. Nothing has brought me into line like age, nothing has made me afraid of other people’s opinions like pregnancy and loss. But here? There’s nothing to be afraid of here. We know life is short here, and the world is a mess. Might as well drink. Might as well dance. Might as well sing along in a corner and remember how much I enjoy writing and how comfortable I am wearing the identity of writer like a very worn in coat. ‘Freak’ settles into my soul like a stiff drink. Being alive is such a weird mix of selflessness and self centredness. I have to know what I need and want, have to be able to run from the things that burn and numb. No more making ‘art’ at noon under fluorescent lights. This is better than temazepam.

Like all midnight epiphanies, this will be gone by dawn. I’ll turn back into the broken girl and nothing will make me whole. But I’ve seen something here, some part of my compass that isn’t broken, some sense of self that isn’t ruined. And after the day comes night, always. I’ll find my way again.

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