So, I’ve decided on my next tattoo. It’s not going to be anything fancy, extravagant, or even that unique, but it is going to be something that I feel that I need reminding of on a regular basis: the simple fact of life that somehow, someway, every little thing is going to be alright.
Yes, at some point later in the summer, I’m going to get three little birds permanently etched somewhere on my flesh. At first I was planning with all sincerity to get my little Bob Marley tribute placed somewhere next to the Let it Be tattoo inked on my right wrist. Then I discovered such an idea has already been done a thousand times.
Hey, I don’t mind not having the most unique tattoo in the world, but might it not be a good to at least try and inject a little originality into things? Probably.
Why am I telling you all of this? Why would I start my first blog post in several months by telling you about a random idea for a tattoo? If you want to know the absolute truth, I’m not entirely sure, but I do have a couple of theories:
The fact that I haven’t updated this thing since March certainly plays a factor. I need to say something, might as well be whatever happens to be on my mind at the time, right?
Mostly though, I thought it might be a good way to ease into an explanation of exactly why I haven’t posted in three months or so.
Look, I get it. Not many people read this blog. I don’t expect anybody does apart from the occasional curious client who swings by after I sent them to my portfolio, or perhaps a friend who likes to check up on me from time to time (Hi, Kel), but for the sake of continuity and what have you, here’s a bit of an update.
So, not long after my last blog post, I moved out into my own little flat in one of the nicer parts of my home town. Apart from the usual niggles -mostly revolving around a pain in the ass landlord and an Internet provider who took over a month to install my broadband- I’m pretty much in love with the place.
Beautiful views, lovely neighbours, complete peace and quiet, it’s everything I could ask for, and it’s mine. The only place that’s ever actually been mine, and not just somewhere I lived with family, a wife or a girlfriend.
So far, so good, right? Especially when business is going well too. OneCo Creative continues to keep me plenty busy, I’m working on some interesting projects, and I’m making enough to keep living the dream.
It’s been a long slog to get here, especially after a particularity turbulent 2014, so surely everything points towards me being as happy as I’ve ever been in life? You’d think so, but not quite.
After about a month of getting settled in and cracking on with life, I found myself sat in the very same spot where I’m writing this (the desk in my front room, in case you were wondering), and having finally reached ‘the finish line,’ I felt the entirely of the last twelve months come crashing down on top of me.
The surgery, the slow recovery, the mental breakdown, the brief period of homelessness, the strained relationships with my family, the battles to actually get the flat and get settled in the first place, the many other battles to get my business off the ground and make this freelance thing happen..all of it, every moment of it just fell on top of me.
It was as though I hadn’t really dealt with any of those things properly at the time. I was simply trudging through them, occasionally breaking down, turning to Stace to help me back up again and moving on to tackle the next big problem.
Once all those problems were finally behind me and I had a chance to take stock. BOOM. It hit me like the proverbial tonne of bricks. There was, sat at this very same desk, thinking “Life is finally OK, but all of that nearly destroyed me. Damn, I just want to DIE.”
I survived that night. I hopped on my shitty little eight-speed push bike and rode seven miles up the East Lancs to see some friends. I told them what was going on, and rode home feeling like everything was going to be OK. So what if this was just one more problem I had to deal with, I’d already dealt with so much that it couldn’t be any more challenging than anything else I’d been through.
And it wasn’t. For once in my life, I actually did the right thing for myself. I went to my doctor, I was honest, I told her I’d been ready to end it, and that I wanted help.
I got it too.
We’re about a month removed from that episode, and though I’m still not at 100%, I have to admit I’m feeling a lot better.
Since I first picked up the keys to my new place on April 8th, I’ve worried about so many things, from running out of toilet roll to not being able to pay my bills, and I’ve blown every single situation up into this huge ordeal when I really had no reason to.
I have this bad habit of taking any given situation and playing out in my mind with nothing but negativity, thinking up the worse case scenario and letting up batter me into a state of fear and anxiety.
I know it’s stupid, especially when every single of of those situations weirdly just turns out to be OK, but when you’re in a depressive state there’s a huge dependency between logical thought and gut feeling, and no matter how much the calm, rational part of your mind tries to remind you that there’s nothing to worry about, that dirty little devil in the pit of your gut does its damndest to convince you otherwise, burning a hole in your soul and filling it with molten dread until the only thing you’re unable to take the heat and simply melt..melt down into an irrational stupor that at times seems completely impossible to escape from.
But there’s always an escape, and I’m not talking about suicide. I’m talking about escaping from that pit of despair and reaching for the safety of something better, something that reminds you that life is worth living, and that if you let things go, accept help when you need it the most and just keep putting one foot in front of the other, every little thing is going to be alright, even if you need a tattoo to remind you of that.