It was 1997 or maybe even 1998 and I was wondering around Canary Wharf where I worked, I felt like a teenager and was certainly acting like one.
I had just only just got over big relationship number two and little did I know I was heading for big relationship number three and a couple of years later would have my heart ripped out again.
I would excitedly meet ‘then girlfriend’ and gaze into her eyes over coffee at Pret, or wait in the rain by the Docklands train – no Jubilee line in those days!
Not that she really ripped my heart out on her own in the end, I did not help matters.
Going out with a girl whose Dad is Greek and Mother is South African and the rest of her family is four older brothers was always going to require skill and super human tact to pull off.
Getting very very drunk in front of her father and then explaining that my ‘economic model’ is to drink lots of neat vodka early in the night at the family BBQ so that when we get to the night club don’t have to buy so many drinks at those ‘inflated club prices’ is not quite reassurance he is looking for in a potential son-in-law.
As I sit here in Canary Wharf I have a feeling I have craved for years. The ability to genuinely smile at myself about those times, to have realised I have let it all go and can be here now.
We were madly in love, I think we were both madly in love with being in love. We wrote letters to each other everyday and even posted them. I’d rush down to the letter box and wait for the postman, often there were little treats, surprises or CD’s in the package and I’d listen on my disc-man on the way to work, we’d communicate via BT pagers and arrange to meet for coffee on our breaks from college.
I was becoming a better person, apart from when I got so nervous and drank too much.
This is when my self destruct button kicked in, my huge sense of self-worth went from normal to ‘you c*%t – you don’t deserve her, quick screw it up before it gets any better’.
At this stage in life I was so AMAZINGLY unaware of the forces of nature – my head was often torn between joyful and manic – this was how I coped with life and I thought it was totally normal, I looked for others that did the same thing, there seemed to be enough of them so I was not weird.
I had striven on for years and was just about going somewhere. I think.
Everything seemed to be working out, I started to feel secure and ready to take the next logical steps towards adulthood – I don’t know what they are so I can’t write about them here.
I had no fucking idea and every time I came up against a new life challenge I became overwhelmed and had some drink or drugs, looking back now I only ever took drugs when I was experiencing massive self-doubt or sorrow, when I was feeling ‘strong’ it did not even occur to me to look for anything stronger than good espresso.
I remember in Christmas 2002 going to a club near Moorgate with a group of friends, I’d been in the toilet and sneezed as I was about to hoover up a line of cocaine. I cleared it up – by which I mean I ‘rescued’ all the coke from the top of the toilet cistern, composed myself and went out to ‘party’ on the dance floor.
When I got on the dance floor the ultra violet disco light showed white dots of coke on my face and clothes, a couple of girls licked my face – I felt like Jim Morrison at a party in Paris. Of course I was a million miles away from anything like this, I was a lost little boy in a shit night club under an equally shit travel agent in Moorgate drinking over priced Fosters lager – hoping the night would never end.
Not end because it was so good, rather not end because the morning would be a miserable fucking Saturday waking up in East Ham and wondering where I was going.
It is easy to write this now, after tests about dyslexia, finally getting to and getting through University, after pouring oil tanker loads of drugs and alcohol down my neck after everything falling apart (in my head) every few years and at the end of 2012 finally plucking up the balls to ask for some real help.
Since January 2013 I’ve been taking new drugs that balance my serotonin and I prescribed by a NHS doctor and sitting in a room in East London having therapy every Monday with a brilliant French lady. I have learnt to sit still and meditate and in the last few months my humour has returned.
When I am out with #Babybernie and breathing fresh air and laughing the above scene seems a GAZZILLION miles away.
It is too easy to chide “it’s all part of growing up” ha ha! It was seared in doubt, confusion and uncertainty a desperate need to escape life.
This week I am ‘living into’ fear, doubt and uncertainty – this year decided to ‘double down’ on podcasting, so I very happily busting my balls on a couple of podcasting projects. Of course there is a bit of money there but the uncertainly is not the money – it is whether they will really work, whether all those books and podcasts and events that I have read and attended were the right ones.
Do I really know what I am doing?
Everyday ”self destruct me” rears his ugly head, about to pull the pin on his fuck-bollox emotionally charged hand grenade. Every time I forget to send something important or I shout at #Supercoolwife or #Babybernie the pin comes out the hand-grenade a bit more.
These days his head hardly gets out, let alone the pin.
In fact often I can see him coming and in my head throw my banana skin on the floor in front of him and he slips and looses his purchase on my emotions. There is a gap and then I breath (thank you Miia!) I take a moment and then ask #Supercoolwife or #Babybernie what they needed or want to say.
Peace and connection.
One of the best things I have learnt from #Babybernie is how not to be an arse hole.
Of course he has a little temper, and when I am a miserable, selfish, angry little fuck so is he – like he is tuned to my frequency as if he needs to compete.
On the days when I am super patient, laugh, take time to ask questions instead of TELL – let him decide what to do rather than telling him – the results are joyful and amazing. Like the photo above.
There is more…. but I gotta go!
Thanks for reading.
p.s. Today I rushed to meet #supercoolwife for a 15 minute coffee. I felt like a teenager and loved it.