I wanted to upload a video but my plan doesn’t do videos and I don’t want to upgrade yet so I went and made a sneaky YouTube channel specifically for it, which I kind of didn’t want to do until I got better at music but there you go. Watch it here so my writing makes more sense.
TRIGGER WARNING: This post does briefly make broad and gentle mention to suicide, grief, and mental illness. But this is, believe it or not, a positive piece about growth, strength and the pursuit of happiness.
I can’t do all the fancy finger work like Dallas Green yet. I couldn’t work out the end so I just varied it slightly from the rest of the song. I don’t have the best singing voice and this is the only song I’ve managed to sing to while playing, without it being awful but it doesn’t matter. This isn’t really about my musicality. It’s about trying and being brave.
This guitar is, to me, the most stunning instrument there could ever be. It was one of Chloe’s – my late sister, who left us on her own terms. It seems odd to call her late for she was always at least 30 minutes early to everything. Death seems rather uncharacteristic of a person you once only ever knew to have a pulse though too, so I suppose she does a few things differently now.
She was the strongest person I knew but even the fiercest of us have limits; an end of a tether.
Since her death, I’ve struggled. Naturally. In trying to carry on, I watched my relationship of two years, eight months break down. I got caught in a brief but scarring psychologically and sexually abusive dating relationship. I gave too much of my heart to someone who decided too late that he couldn’t give me his. All the while, I grieved with an emptiness that was only temporarily filled by others. The truest fulfillment has come from making art and nurturing myself.
Mum thinks I have depression but I don’t. If I went to get a diagnosis, maybe they’d say I do but I believe doctors are too fast to make that call these days and people listen to doctors. If you say it enough, it also makes it easier to become it. Engrain it. Solidify the hurt. Make concrete of cement.
Personally, I don’t feel like giving pain a greater sense of glory or control with a heftier name is going to help me. This is no disease of the mind. I still think too optimistically for that. I have felt depressed. Little has seemed easy for a long time but depression is not a possession of mine.
I will confess instead, that I’ve been dealing with a lot of unresolved pain and lately, I’ve felt particularly awful. It’s been as if I built a dam of sticks and mud and resilience and someone came along with a hatchet and ripped holes in it. It’s caused all I’ve withheld over the last fifteen months to flood out, all for me to deal with at once. I haven’t known what to trust. I’d just started feeling good, at least despite exterior situations. I hadn’t felt more securely aware of myself since a brief while when I was seventeen. My self-care was paying off. But while you can control what you do for yourself, you can’t always control what happens around you or the effect it has.
I sing this song to no one but myself. Because though I’ve been trying hard to stay focused, there are always other things that are going to get in the way, get me down, make me crash. I’m sorry for every time I neglect myself. I’m sorry I did it for so long.
Upon my most recent resignation to defeat, I started to feel almost hopeless –almost because I’m unsure I could ever be totally bereft of hope. Life of late seemed largely full of disappointments. I’ve cried a lot. I figured I should stop expecting any good thing to remain good. That I shouldn’t get so excited about anything and then I won’t be so let down. That I shouldn’t invest so much in anyone because it hurts too much when one after the other, they leave or inspire such unhappiness that I leave. It seems that apathy can be contagious. If I’d let that rule me for longer, I could see that being depression.
But that’s just not me.
On Thursday, a bunch of guys at uni I’ve been wanting to befriend all year showed me a kindness in asking me to join them after class. It brightened my whole outlook. A tram assistance officer made friendly conversation with me on the way home just to reinforce that even strangers can care. On Friday, two people made effort to get to know me. One of them even introduced me as a friend when encountering others he knew.
It’s not in my nature to lack enthusiasm for life for very long, nor is it to miss the good to be valued in others. There is beauty to be found, right down to the way a person speaks. Just talking to someone, even briefly, can have such an effect. Kindness breeds joy. It certainly did for me. So, I’m not going to give into loneliness and ill-faith. I have too much love to give for that.
Some people don’t deserve that love but it isn’t about them. It’s about finding the ones who do and I need to be one of those people for myself. Always. Because when it comes down to it, the most solid thing you can know in this world is yourself and we’ve all got to be our own strongest person.