I woke up this morning and wanted to destroy everything. Doing the usual walk to school didn’t even occur to me; all I could think about was my bed and how wonderful it would be to stay there and never leave. As everyone left the house, I was symbolically left alone to my madness, and everything around me changed colour until everything was one massive blur. Today, I didn’t have to put up with anyone: I wouldn’t have to apologise for the promises I’d broken by making another no-show, and I couldn’t bring myself to care about the phone call I knew was coming, as I was absent from class again.
Today, I didn’t have to collapse exhausted when returning, only to watch TV again. The idea of daily routine was distant and unappealing, just like the reasons people give about why we fall into such monotonous drudgery. I didn’t want to be in school, but I had no ambition for the outside world either. I’m in limbo and every day is such a drag, like the first puff of your first cigarette – it merely makes you feel ill and you can only trust that it will get better.
I just lay there in silence for hours, laughing and crying at the same time, just watching how un-parallel everything was in the room and how it didn’t even matter anyway. The more I thought about it, the funnier everything got. We are the all-singing, all-dancing glorified apes of the universe; we seem to think there are all these choices, but ultimately there is only life and death, and I didn’t particularly see the appeal of either.
Where did the lust for life go? At least, before I desired to have dreams; now I can’t even desire that. I just want to run away – to disappear to a café by the sea and write about everything, even the stuff that nobody cares about. But isn’t it all such a joke?! There is little point in all of it, but most of all in being bored and miserable. Am I just too much of a coward to leave and follow it all? I can’t even claim to be depressed, because at least then I could get better and I’d know there was something wrong with me, not everything else. Despite everything, I feel that I’ve got it right – that I have the truth, but just haven’t worked out what to do with it. The only thing I know is that there’s not much use having the truth while sitting at home staring blankly at a textbook.
Will this crazy mood pass? I can even feel it slipping away now as I write this, as if it’s cruel catharsis in itself. If you knew how crazy you sounded, would you stop talking? Or maybe, maybe you could learn something from me, maybe if you listened to me more everything wouldn’t stop be a drag and you wouldn’t be so mad anymore.
All I want from life is stories to tell, but all I have is pieces of paper and cliché drunken evenings. They would accuse me of being immature just as I would to myself, and they are right I suppose. I am young so I think like this; they are older so they think differently. The only thing we have in common is that we’re both heading towards the same goal, the same place: we’re both going to die someday. In which case I wonder, why does the one with more experience have authority over the other? We’ll both leave with a life of experience and probably the amount of happiness and sadness will be similarly balanced, even if distributed in totally different ways. That’s the thing about happiness, it isn’t a destination or a choice – it’s just a goddamn emotion. There’s no harm in taking a gamble because our ability to perceive things that are worth being happy about are far more powerful than the things that appear to deserve being happy over.
I’m growing older, I feel myself deteriorating even as I write this because it’s all just going so fast; I almost wish it would stop so I could catch my breath. My only worry is that if I stop to catch my breath I’ll start falling; it’s the momentum of everything spinning that’s keeping me going. It isn’t the routine or the hope of a future, it’s just the fact that it’s going so fast and I can never stop it or slow it. I just want to run away, is that such a crime? It can’t be, because I’ve read it in so many books before. Sometimes the characters do, they run off and reach this magical fantasy with happy endings – but how can I believe in happy endings? With a shit start and an exciting middle, things will always end up where they began. In fact, when you think about it, the only way an ending could be happy is if it was the end of a terrible era; the end of anything good is merely a loss.
Are you still with me? I’m not lost in the drama of it all, I just think some people just don’t want to conform, and that’s okay. The trouble is, everyone who has conformed will try and make you join them because they care about you or you scare them. They want you in the box with them, rather than breaking down on the side and trying to pull them out with you.
I used to think the only way out was to end it all, because as the buzz wears off of anything they tell you not to move onto something stronger, but to just cope with what you have. That’s what I want I think; I want the buzz back that I felt on that first Christmas as a kid, the one that people spend their whole lives looking for. While I am safe here, I don’t think I ever will get that buzz, because I’m just being pulled further in, each stepping stone being what defines my life.
Do our choices define our identity? Do they define us? If that’s true, then I am making the wrong choices, because I am not happy and I am not who I want to be. The things I invent and the illusions I accidentally live under are just making me more and more miserable. All the while this is going on there are deadlines and decisions and work to hand in, to do for other people who tell me it’s actually for me. Maybe this is the gateway to my life and I am just wrecking it all, but maybe this choice has to be what defines me when I leave, because this madness has to be coming from somewhere. It’s always been there: in the way I dress, the way I think, the lies I tell and the truths I hide – this isn’t it and it never was. Without the fear I can be anything I want to be, because we always are our full potential. We can’t be anything else. Even if I destroy my life, at least I took a chance; I know I have been honest to myself and been something – been someone worth listening to.
There is no fate, but today I feel like my destiny is in my own hands. Everything I am, the combined effort of everyone I ever met, and I am sat here choosing to deny it. Nothing has ever been so simple, and nothing has ever been so desired. If I leave, I’ll have to survive and prove everyone wrong – I’ll have a reason. Just let me be, and you can chew on the leftovers until you’re sick. I don’t want to be here anymore! In that moment, nothing could have been simpler.
“Abigail,” the teacher prompted as I sat staring out of the white window. “Do you have any intention of paying attention today?” I looked up as she handed our worksheets back to us and took out my pen so she wouldn’t give me detention or take away any of my study periods. The ‘B’ in bold marker in front of me triggered an emotive response in me and I wrote the teachers comments on the back of my hand in the hope that next time I would get an ‘A’ and gain a little reassurance of myself for the real thing. I really did want that A.
Words: Abi Prendergast
Image: Yi-Hwa Lin