Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Home

Flicking the light switch, up, then down, then repeating a few times in a vain effort to change the known, a smile appears on my face and I look down the long corridor. Serene, at peace, a long solemn but never forgotten building. I’d lived here, as a child, until I thought that I was ready to face the world, the great supposed known. I knew little back then, probably still don’t know enough, but if I could I’d have probably stayed a little bit longer.


I was eager, alive, full of energy, just like the walls in front of me and probably as tough.  They most certainly no longer make houses like this. Running my fingers across the wall, as I slowly walk forward, I close my eyes a little, remembering the daily buzz. Playing with toys, from one end to the other, trying not to trip anyone as they went. My Father, as with many Fathers, wasn't here that much or, if he were, silence was the spoken tongue until he left again. Mother, as usual, stayed to turn us into the adults we were destined to be. She tried her best, being as magical as she was, always remaining someone to cherish, to look up to, but like many things in this world… there is a time.

A momentary second of sadness floods my mind. I know that I'm never alone but, no matter who I'm with, there will always be that space. This building, with its mood filled light emanating through the window at the end of this hallway, would always stay within a small little secret place within my mind. Memories, mostly good, always a smiling event, bring with them a longing to return to such easier days. I know that it won’t happen, it’s far too late for that, but I can at least revisit one, last, little, time.

It’s odd to think, to realise, that no matter how many oceans you travel, no matter the names you write across your lips, you still return to those special places and moments. As children we might eventually let go of the comfort blankets, the teddies of safety, but there will always be moments that hold and comfort. I know that I don’t need such things, as I'm supposed to be strong, a statue, never failing to protect the ones I love, but there will always, always, be cracks just below that surface of valour. I do, after all, harbour broken souvenirs that no-one will ever take from me.

I remember stamping my foot, in defiance, in this very doorway all those years previous. My Mother, being the way she was, didn't shout and simply waited for me to calm myself. Shouting didn't work, as we were kids, my Sister and I, but what did work was common sense. Mother would eventually sit me, while I was still in a mood, then calmly explain the circumstances.  On this occasion, she said something that has stayed with me right until this very day and that little slice of advice was the following, “The longer you spend in a mood, the longer you waste time that could be used playing. There’s a reason why Mother says no and, if you’d just accept that, your life would be a lot easier”. I reflected for a long time, sat there, using this silly brain of mine, to reach a conclusion that was obviously obvious. Mother knew best. Always had. Always did. Always will.

This house, right now, was reaching the end of its life, with a new dawn arriving, looking for a friend that was no longer there. Time moves on, always, which means the old is eventually, in many cases, replaced with the new. It’s a progression, it’s life, it’s the cycle we’re stuck within and, even when this house and home is torn down I’ll still drive past and remember. This place, right here, held my heart within my Mother’s hands. It’s part of me. We all have places that are part of us.

As I reach the end of the corridor, I glance back down the hallway, for the very last time. Nodding ever so slightly I remind myself to never forget, to never let time fade my memories and moments. This place has felt my tears, had my blood touch its surface in one of those grandiose childish falls, heard me shout and held me so close. “Goodbye”, I said under my breath.


For everything, there is a time.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Three

Walking into the room, the heavy door closing slowly behind me, I cast my eyes quickly across the surroundings and people. I know that I'm not your favourite person, right now, but I know what I'm here for and, if it’s something that I'm very good at, it’s apologies. The thing with apologies is that you only have to do one, simple, easy, little thing and that’s to frankly mean the words that escape from your mouth. Three simple little words. I’d chuckle a little, even smile, but I have to remain in the mood, keep the composure constant, as I wouldn't want to portray anything other than the solace I'm bringing with me.


I brush my shoulders, just in case, ensuring the spick and span etiquette be kept along with that mood I’d just mentioned. Reaching the bar, not too fast, not too slow, walking with defined confidence I make an order which receives a polite nod from the chap behind the bar. Something sensible, not too strong, as I can save that type of luxury for later. A type of credence is required, for the moment, with restraint being kept in control.

Turning, ever so slightly, I'm aware that you’re here. That’s unavoidable. I can feel you before I even enter a room. Maybe that’s why we’re so good together. Maybe that’s why it hurts when I know that I've done something wrong. I'm usually not the type to actually say a bad word, a moment out of time, or a lax interjection, but I'm human and the pretence of perfection is a hard thing to maintain. I'm not perfect, I'm far from an ideal dream filler, but I do try. You know that I try.

Demons entering my mind, as I take a small sip of my chosen sustenance, I make a move and in that second I can feel my heart start to taint my thoughts. That little trip, the cacophony of beats reaching into my ears trying to destroy that ever so controlled composure mentioned before. It will not have its way. It will not control me. Adrenaline be damned, be it controlled, or ruin what I'm intending to do and say.

The room suddenly feels very, very small. The view from my eyes seems to be closing in as I approach. It’s haunting, it’s an embarrassingly embracing feeling to know that I care so much for a person that my own body betrays my mind. Breathing, starting to shallow, before I admonish myself for letting my emotions over ride my thoughts. Again and again, I remind myself that I'm only here for one reason, for one person, which means that my own self-preservation can, for now, be pushed to the side.

As control returns I gather myself and look ahead, straight towards you. Eyes lock, small smiles appear, but I can see that you've been caused pain. It’s written across those eyes of yours whereas, being honest, I should only ever write my name across those lips. I've missed you, so damned much. If I'm not kissing you, then I'm failing with life. It’s a command, it’s my very reason, to love and hold you. It’s not a difficult task, it’s hardly moving a mountain, but it’s what I would and should do anyway. I'm supposedly a man and, to me, that’s what men should do.

My mind wants to race, it even wants to hide, but it’s too late as I'm here, you’re there in front of me, so now is the moment and this is where I do what I'm supposed to do. The smile doesn't hide your feelings but it does betray that you've missed me and, of course, I've missed you. Life simply isn't the same without you. It’s empty. Expressionless. Void of many reasons. I've already spoken the most important three words that a person can share with another, with each other, those ‘I love you’ moments, but now I'm here to simply say the second most important words,

 “I'm very sorry”.


Friday, 10 November 2017

Noodle

Let me tell you a quick story, about how I used to be. I was a bad little f**ker back when I was a kid and it was only going to get worse! You see, being honest with you, I had already done a lot of crazy sh*t, hurtful stuff, but that’s what you get when you've been dragged from place to place, home to home, not quite knowing where and how things would happen.


It all changed, one day, just after my mother cried for the second time. I don’t know which day as I didn't care about that stuff back then. Wednesday, Monday, all the same when you’re a kid waiting for something to happen. I’d just been expelled from another School, something about smacking a kid in the face until his lip burst, as well as smashing a window, but that’s neither here or there. We did stuff back then.

You see, I’d smashed the sh*t out of my Piggy bank, filling my hands with whatever I could find, as well as my secret pennies taken from the burst lip kid, as I wanted to get my Mum something to eat. We’d hit hard times, as usual, with another dead beat guy using my Mum for the usual stuff, making all of the promises in the world, delivering none, then taking another dream away. It was real. A wake up call for a kid like me.

I made my way to the shop. Sure, I could have bought some sh*t, chocolate, or filled myself with sugar, but I just wanted to buy my Mum something. That was all. I’d seen her cry far too many times as she just wanted a break, something real to hang onto, so there I was, a sh*t of a kid, barely passing an adults knees in height, off to the shop on my own.

I got there, as it wasn’t far, looking at the prices while being watched as usual. Yeah, okay, I’d stolen a f**k load of stuff but I wanted to do better. This was my present to my Mum. Maybe I was already starting to realise the sh*t I’d done. Maybe. Don’t know. Anyway I looked at the damn Pot Noodles. Bloody Pot Noodle. Two for one, or some sh*t, with me barely being able to count. Pays to listen in School you know.  Anyway the guy walks over, not happy with me being there, muttering something about being two for three quid. Yeah… I didn’t have enough and he just wanted me out of there.

So, there I am, in some f**king shop, crap all over my face, looking like a train had hit me, standing there looking confused as  the store guy goes on and on obviously wanting me to leave. A guy comes over, some stranger, saying in a calm voice, “I’ll get them for you!”  He reaches up and grabs two Pot Noodles, taking them over to the till. I didn’t know what to do. It’s new to me. I walk across, looking up, to announce, “I have money for them!”

The guy looks down, quickly, “I know you do but it’s okay.” Just like that, one moment of damn kindness confused me. Mum always said to never speak to any strangers and, looking at it from where I am today, the guy wouldn’t look at me so I didn’t have to talk to him anyway. He had a calm voice, kind, obviously, then when finished he handed them to me and before I could say anything else he walked out of the shop. I stood there wondering what had just happened and then, slowly, walked out of the store. The store keeper kept an eye on me the entire way. F**ker.

By the time I’d walked outside he was in his car, starting to drive away and, I kid you not, I put my arm into the air and gave him the biggest thumbs-up I’d ever given in my life and, for a second, a smile appeared across my face. F**k me. Someone being kind. Baffled me. When you’re a little, nasty, nasty f**ker you do give off that kind of appearance that people ignore.

I ran home, burst through the door, handing my Mum the Pot Noodles. She looked at me, with a daft expression on her face, before small tears appeared in her eyes. I know, I know, I was a damn kid, but that melted something in my head, maybe even heart if I had one, but it changed something for me. Some random person being kind, not a twisted f**ker, with nothing to gain, just being kind and, seeing my Mother cry, made me think about my actions moving forward. Yeah, I was still an evil sh*t but I was still kind. I was just evil to people that deserved it, not just everyone. Look at me now, with my own kids and wife, doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Providing, being there, helping. Being kind.

All because of Pot f**king Noodles.



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Could be a true story. Maybe. Somewhere.

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Monday, 23 October 2017

Warmth

Sitting here, realising what I've done, remorseful, brandishing my shame like a type of child’s blanket, I look around the room. Comforting, warm, with the ever growing feeling that, one day, I’ll have to let go and face the life in front of me. I'm not scared, hardly a coward, but moments like this are few and far between so I'm at a loss as to how I'm supposed to proceed.


Logically, methodically, the answer stares me in the eyes. Right there, just in front of my face, resilient, barking the truth at the top of a voice but, as usual, it’s not just about logical fact. There’s always feelings. Feelings that pick, damage, devalue and berate a person. Usually I don’t like to mix the two as they can confuse. One says yes while the other, often, states no. They say that you’re supposed to go with your gut but, when you’re honest, if ever, you know that ‘that’ view usually leads to trouble.

We’re all born beautiful, kicking or screaming, a near blank slate, but fate and fact have led to this very second. I'm not perfect, never will be, which is a design of life and society, but I can at least try. From across the room I can feel the heat, from the roaring fire, flow across my face and hands. It’s a special heat, not fabricated like many modern houses, despite the fact that it could destroy all I see, it still holds a place in my heart from when I was a young boy. That’s the type of heat that I want, that I need, from the people in my life. Real warmth, a real feeling, despite many of us being surrounded by fabricated and veiled lives.

We sit at home, alone or with others, yet feel the deepest loneliness that can hardly ever be shared. There’s moments, those seconds, while alone, where it manages to escape into the void of your life. You feel it, within those seconds, then quickly console yourself, maybe even brandish harsh words against your view, before conducting your composure to reach a valid smile that could fool but the most vicious truth seeker.

I'm stuck, here, right now, right in front of you. I find you exhilarating, I need you to be exciting, spontaneous, to take that fire from this room and to instil the feeling within my soul. I'm flickering, I'm but an ember of whom I used to me, but I'm never, ever, going to exclaim this to anyone but myself.

I'm not allowed, not permitted to do such a thing. We’d all like to reach out, at certain times, in order to seek help, but surrounded by souls working away at their own square of life, it’s selfish to expect a knight to move for a rook. Forgive me, I've slipped into a game of sorts while knowing, obviously, that life is not a game.


Maybe it is, maybe it’s just the way of things. I'm going to let go of the blanket, I'm pushing away the supports I've built around myself and, right this second, I'm going to step forward and do what I need to do. Time is precious and, more than anything, it must be lived. I'm stepping forward, to tell you, that you’re amazing. You’re who I would like to give me warmth. But that, when I reach the end of the words, is up to you and every other person we meet today.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Young

I was so young, all those years ago, with the oppression experienced by a child, carefree, without any weight upon my shoulders, albeit believing that I was always hard done by if I couldn't go out at a certain time. I thought that I knew everything, had the world figured out, yet still trying to understand the basics of maths and English.


I was so young, all those days previous, when I started the weekend job, venturing forward into the world, away from the safety of home and parents. It seemed easy, it all happened with such speed, but at that point in life it all moved at a snail’s pace.


I was so young, when I first fell in love, the heart strings finally being placed into the hands of someone else, someone new, with wide eyed feelings and trust. The world seemed to stop, for the shortest time, with each kiss and the thoughts that we shared.

I was so young when my heart broke, for the second time, the third time, while managing to also break someone else’s heart. It was tragic, it was a mess, with emotions spiralling out of control, the world making little sense while staying perfectly, exactly, the same.

I was so young, blaming the world for everything and anything. It was never my fault, it was not quite due to my beliefs or actions, with situations and stagnation settling. The repeating ways of the world ensuring that I, once again, managed to end up in the exact same place.

I was so young, when the world decided to apply pressure, with a mortgage and things to maintain. It seemed like fun, it seemed like the right thing to do, the same as everyone else, yet I had started to let go of the real safety net of home, parents, as well as the ease at which I previously lived. Life was happening and moving faster.

I was so young when I finally realised, on that amazing day, that I was to blame for all of my problems. I could no longer point the finger at other people, other loves or similar relationships. It was all me, the circular situations, that had taken many, many years to finally become reality within my heart and mind.

I was so young when I resolved issues of the past, a momentary reprieve and reset of the actions and circumstances of my younger youth. It was glorious, it was mind changing, plus also a tomb where being self sufficient belonged to my present and future.

I was so young when the biggest part of my life left this world, which nothing could prepare me for, no rhymes, no prayers, no sacrifices or situations. I was powerless, vacant, lost and for the shortest time, completely alone in the world. No matter how hard you hold onto a hand it will eventually, one day, let go.

I was so young when I realised that my friends, along with the people that broke my heart, with the people’s hearts I broke, plus the family in my life, formed who I am. They are special, they are my memories, my current space, as well as my past and hopefully future.  I have no enemies but a few friends.

I was so young when I realised that I would never truly, completely, understand life. I understood that there were questions that I’d never have answered, not even possibly upon leaving this place. I knew that if I could return to when I was young, to an earlier moment, I’d impart wisdom, I’d prepare myself, but I would still be too young to appreciate the words no matter the age.

I was so young when I knew that this is it, the experience, the crazy ride that we call life. We have to live every second, love every minute, hold onto the special people and be good to all others. We’re here together, with all ages alongside us, breathing the same air and speaking the same thoughts.

I was so young when I finally, on that last day, knew that it was my time. I’d loved many people, I’d left a few, had a few leave me, worked in many places, seen far off places, but still managed to reach the end of this paradox. I've always been young. I've always been that child that arrived into this world many years previous, but I never, ever, let all of the experiences take away that youth. Hold it. 

Embrace it.

I was so young… .

Friday, 6 October 2017

Paint

With a thunderous rapture, a cacophony of events smashing the brief second of silence, the brush moved with ease and effort. The canvas, A3 in size, is held tightly to the ground from a stand built to last, painting in whatever circumstances life decides to throw my way. With each movement, each moment of purpose, the picture forms and speaks to me.


I'm alone, on this mountain called life, viewing the valley ahead of me, being brave, fearless, vehement emotions beaming from every single slice of my skin. I'm here, right now, surrounded by the very nature that breathed life into my veins all those years previous. Nature, all around, feeding me, believing in me, wishing me to be all that I can or should be. The canvas, an expression of my mind’s eye, a place to create, to express, to clear my mind of the daily folly.

The rain starts to pour, covering the land all around me, washing away the weight of the world. Many words could have been spoken, in vain, in anger, but now all that can be heard is the ear splitting sound of said rain. Washing away everything, cleansing my soul, flattening the electric tension from the world.  I'm trying to feel free, apart, separate from the daily toll and toil of life. I'm here.

The rain kept on thundering to the ground, but with each stroke, with each deciding line, a splash here, a moment there, I'm creating the forward view onto this canvas of mine. I'm in control, I'm aware of what I'm creating, no matter how many clouds or moments, it’s my story, it’s my picture drawn in my own special, eloquent and specific way.

I don’t care about the rain, I'm ignoring the spurious thunder, I'm ignorant to the cold forming over my shoulders, as this moment is all mine. Stepping back, just a step, I can see the colours, merging, being formed from the rain adding their own take on my creation. It doesn't matter, it’s hardly a sin, as outside forces often try to reform whatever you wish to take place. It’s a liveable circumstance, it’s how I expect things to be, but that picture, it’s still there, alive, part of me, no matter how it’s changed or maligned by life.

I close my eyes, imagining my picture, the lines, the expressions, painting my heart out, while taking in the ambiance all around me. It’s the moment, it’s right now, it’s how I envision the finished picture whilst also knowing that it might not quite be what I wanted. It’s okay, it’s fine, as life is creation. Life’s a revolution of time, set to come back again and again. Maybe I’ll repeat this moment, next week, with completely different emotions, moments, but that’s what life’s about. Experiencing, expressions, trying the unknown whilst chancing and changing the known.

Another splash of rain, another stroke from the brush, the seconds ticking as the clouds allow a peak towards the sunshine. The thunder is over, the rain is at a stand still, with a new moment waiting behind the wailing. I've painted my heart out, I've done what I came here to do, to experience. I'm awake, I'm open eyed, despite the clouds, the rain and thunderous shouting.

Maybe I'm the canvas, maybe my words are the paint, forming, creating, showing each of you what I, we, you, could be. Maybe we’re the brush, taking control of our destined picture. We’re capable, all acceptable to each other, within the limits of our own sized canvas of life. Maybe we’re the view ahead, controlled by a higher power that holds the very brush that creates our lives or, just maybe, we’re none of the above. Maybe we need not be defined. Maybe we’re an abstract creation.

Either way, no matter the picture, no matter how smudged we become, no matter how the conclusive picture reveals itself, at least we tried. It’s complete, the journey for today, the task of the moment and, above all, I have something to show for the very seconds spent on this journey. I know that I'm alive, I know that I can even place myself into the picture.

The whole world is your canvas, no matter the weather or location, all you need to do is close your eyes and… paint.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Prison

Resting my head, onto my hands, as my legs rest on the cold concrete slabbed floor, I realise that I'm here for one specific reason. I can look back, to the past, the misdeeds, the missteps, the never-ending cursing of faith or ability but, when I've finished procrastinating, I'm still the reason why I'm here.
The rain, smashing against the walls outside the cell, seldom bringing comfort but at least it affords a moments relapse from the silence. That, alone, can be such a deadly place to be. Alone, solitarily confined within your own mind, waiting for a respite, but that seldom arrives once your own mind starts to tick away at your patience, strength and resolve.


I often, while lying there, cold inside, think back to the decisions that I’d made. Should I have turned left, maybe the right side of right would have been best left alone, but we just sometimes do not know which way is left before looking to the right. Straight forward, the usual fast forward of life, grasping, shouting, thrusting forward with such strength in order to enforce the resolve of conviction, sometimes just destroys the very bridge you've created with our bare hands. It’s tough, it’s tragic, but it’s life. My life.

Lifting my heavy head, with cramping neck and trap muscles reminding me of the strain, I reach forward grasping at the thick black bars ahead of me. If I had the strength, the resolve, I’d use every ounce of my energy to escape this place. The bars, their imposing picture, become a constant reminder of the space just beyond my confinement.

The trouble with all of this, the very crux of the situation, the pondering insights into this very state of mind, is that I'm probably still here because a part of me doesn't want to leave. It’s safe, confined, away from the world, a palace of misery with no golden slipper at the end of the road. If I could turn anything into something else I just might. My companions, the stone walls, the dust, the shallow mattress, are all so perfectly safe. Maybe I'm deluded, promising myself that there’s bail just around the corner. A solution, a rescue, someone to take my problems away from me. Heaven knows I've placed my faith in others before, prescribed to them my perfect prescription of cocktailed comfort, but we all know that I'm the only one that can escape this place.

Using the bar to steady myself, I rise, slowly, to stand as tall as I possibly can. At any point, at any time of life, I can stand as I have just done, I can change my thinking and proclaim my innocence. It’s possible. I can dive, from this place, into an ocean of freedom. Sure, of course, I might not be able to swim once I get there but, amongst anything else that can be said, I’d prefer to try than die as I am in this place. 

I know the solution, I know the issues within and the cause of this cancerous position that I'm in. I realise that my dis-ease will form the disease that finishes me off, so right now, this very second, I have to decide. I have to take a single, solitary, motionless second to change something, to change anything, but most of all I have to realise that this prison, this very place, is all in my own solitary mind. It’s up to me to simply… Break free.

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So many people suffer from mental issues and, thankfully, there are millions of people that do care and ‘can’ care as many have been through situations or can at least try to appreciate or connect to those feelings.  There is hope and there always will be. Talk. Talk to yourself… Find an answer.





-6,188 suicides were registered in the UK and 451 in the Republic of Ireland since records began.
-The highest suicide rate in the UK was for men aged 40–44.
-The highest suicide rate in the Republic of Ireland was for men aged 25–34 (with an almost identical rate for men aged 45–54).
-Rates have increased in the UK (by 3.8%), England (by 2%), Wales (61.8%) and Northern Ireland (18.5%) since 2014 – however increases in Wales and Northern Ireland may be explained by inconsistencies in the processes for recording suicides in these countries.
-Rates have decreased in Scotland (by 1.4%) and the Republic of Ireland (by 13.1%) since 2014.
-In England and the UK, female suicide rates are at their highest in a decade.
-Male rates remain consistently higher than female suicide rates across the UK and Republic of Ireland – most notably 5 times higher in Republic of Ireland and around 3 times in the UK