For a very long time I’ve been fucked off with life. Long time or even medium time readers of this blog will know that I can be quite vitriolic and angry about both my past and my present.
It’s always been a bug bear for me that I haven’t been able to shake off these feelings of rage, misery and good, old fashioned ranting…at a past that I would very much like to move on from.
I’ve tried many things, like meditation and visualisation. I’ve read self-help books, taken self-help seminars and promised myself that “today is a positive thought only day”.
All these things had the staying power of an X Factor finalist.
Today I came to the conclusion that it’s not anger that has been keeping me down for so long but pure and simple sadness.
For a healthy life you need several things. I read once that these can be boiled down to: a steady and regular income; the love of children; a stable home; a variety of hobbies outside work; the approval of our peers; and a healthy sex life.
I have two of those things, the peer approval and steady income (and even that’s borderline as I currently hold a part time job and one that I don’t really like).
The reason these things are so fundamental is that they are the parts of the soul that need the most nourishment. We are put here to experience life but also to set down a path for our successors to follow. Having children as a part of your life (either your own or other people’s, such as a teacher or foster carer) is one foundation.
A regular income means no fretting (or less fretting) about providing for yourself and any dependents.
A stable home means a friendly and supportive environment that nurtures and revives you after your day is over and before it begins.
Hobbies keep the mind occupied. Mine at the moment are reading, Krav Maga and Yoga (and possibly gym usage). Hardly a diverse set.
Peer approval reaffirms our self belief that what we’re doing is bona fide and positive and above all appreciated.
And the healthy sex life is not happening as I’m single and my friends with benefits all live abroad.
Yesterday I was at a comic convention selling my books and had a great day. I met dozens of people and it was such a good feeling when, on 3 separate occasions, I had teenagers go “that is so cool” (or something similar) while I was extolling the virtues of my anti-bullying, fantasy novel for older children “The Catastrophe of the Emerald Queen”. While not my peers in the literal sense, they were the age group I aimed the book at and they were happy to spend £10 each on a book by a guy they’d never heard of, just because I was so impassioned about it and the book appealed to them.
My friend at the convention has three boys aged 12, 11 and 9 and they really like to see me, even though it’s about twice a year now. They all came up to hug me goodbye as I left and the littlest one said “I love you Lance” as he waved goodbye.
I made over £100 on the day from my books and, for the first time in 5 conventions, was able to go home having made a profit.
After the show was over, me and my mate stepped into the on site bar and had 3 or 4 beers while chatting to two very attractive ladies in what could realistically be described as phwooarsome cosplay outfits. One was a zombie nurse with a visible cleavage and the other was dressed as poison ivy. A jolly pleasant couple of hours were spent in their company and we left with smiles on our faces, money in our pockets, the approval of our peers and the memory of two lovely ladies in lovely outfits who were nothing short of lovely.
Today I realised that my hitherto mysterious “rage issues” were more down to a lack of grounding in the fundamental elements of “nurture” that are required to skip through a virtual flower bed of happiness every day, as opposed to dragging my heels through the slippery mud of depression.
Something as simple as three kids wanting to give me a hug.
Or a teenager’s face lighting up when I said “forget little boys with magic wands and glasses. My hero is 7 feet tall and fights with a 3 bladed sword”.
Or having a beer and a laugh with some good company.
Or doing what I love and coming away richer as a result.
Simple things, but things my life is lacking in the main.
Going back in time I can see where the seeds of distrust were sown around these things.
My home life as a kid from about age 11 to when I left at 22 was unpleasant. It wasn’t stable beyond financial certainty, and even then my mother made a point of hammering home at any given opportunity just “how bloody hard” she had to work, making me and my brother feel guilty. She also felt she had the right for working so “bloody hard” to take her bad moods out on me and my bro, regardless of whether we’d merited such treatmet or not. She justified this with the line “it’s my house and I’m feeding and keeping you. You don’t contribute anything to this house.”
This had a lasting effect on my ability to see “the nuclear family” as anything other than miserable, unjust, bullying and abusive. Also my mother had the backing of both her peers and my father (who’d made a promise before I was born that he would always back her up to any children they had. He stuck to this 100% of the time. She only did if she felt like it. Result= She was omnipotent and beyond reproach).
So I didn’t trust a family unit to do anything other than piss me off and make me unhappy. I subconsciously decided to stick it on my own as I believed I’d just recreate the same impotent, misery-inducing scenarios.
This in turn affected my sex life as I was afraid of committing to someone in a relationship for fear that they’d treat me the way my mother treated my father.
The steady income was hard. My mother (again) was forced to leave school at 16 and become a hairdresser (a job she regarded as below her social status and she absolutely hated it as she was from a very rich family). As I grew up she would tell me again and again and again how scarring this experience had been, but not with the intention of helping me grow stronger. Merely to make me feel guilty and to offload her own resentment onto someone else (in this case the captive audience of her own husband and two children). Being spiteful and vicious she would also insist that I had to do jobs I hated, for long hours, for awful people and do them even if it wasn’t necessary to do them (e.g. if the money was useful but not absolutely necessary, such as in holiday from university). When questioned on this attitude she was simply set her face obstinately and seethe “I had to do it so why shouldn’t you?!!” Result…no possibility of ever enjoying work as I’m afraid I’m not “suffering enough” in order to empathise with her pain and therefore make myself worthy of her love.
The only one I take full responsibility for is the lack of hobbies as that’s just me being lazy.
Overall it wasn’t anger that was making me full of unresolved rage and clenched fists. It was my mistrust of the things that, in my earlier life, were supposed to support me but had instead driven me away like a prodded pony, forever staying on my own.
Who’d have thought it would take a comic convention to sort my life out.
*N.B. The baby's mum just won the signed print of the book cover in the raffle.