Almost a decade ago I coined the phrase, "embrace your aloneness". At 44, I was unemployed, surviving on £500 (GBP) per month. I'd been made a widower after 18 years together; the last six in marriage. I had no friends, apart from the gallery owner Colin Jellicoe. I had a severe mental illness, and my geriatric, arthritic and incontinent dog, was evacuating indoors daily, but I hadn't the heart to euthanise her.
I was quite a poor general prospect, and certainly little attraction to a new partner. Continuing to write, my poems took a turn, and often became like journal entries. That's where the title "My beautiful diary" is from. They started revealing a philosophy which hadn't emerged beforehand, because my imposed state of isolation had apparently been a necessary catalyst for it.
For example, on the 18th of January 2014, aged 45, I wrote "Amidst depression" and "The road home from Damascus" on the same day. Both poems suggested that something needed to change !
I’m not incarcerated, but there’s nowhere better
than my bedroom to go. I smashed
the egg-timer. Sand no longer torments me,
and I listen to the sad chamber music
of Kenneth Leighton repeatedly.
I keep thinking that I must be bad,
because why otherwise would I spend
every day alone, listening to music
and confusing people online with mood-swings?
When I look back at my life I don’t remember
ever acting out of pure love.
I always got my reward. As such
I’m reaping what I’ve sown. Hell is on Earth.
I’ve convinced myself that everybody’s alone
only people just haven’t realised it.
We live lies. The sooner we realise this truth,
the sooner we can become our true selves.
My god has betrayed me. I’m in the jungle,
and those who perish rot to the ground.
Carbon recycles, but as for souls
it’s the biggest fallacy of all, a bigger trap
than thinking sex is for anything but procreation.
I’d like to believe again, but this time
I know I’m bad. Even the priests’ expressions tell me.
That’s made it really close in on me.
I must be strong though:
I’m still here.
The road home from Damascus
John 4:8 - Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
He’d believed in God
and an afterlife.
He could meet folk again.
Then it dawned on him
that everyone has an agenda
and doesn’t act out of pure “love” alone.
giving while receiving their rewards.
Everyone is proud.
He’d been betrayed
and realised that this “love”
did not exist. It followed
that God must be a delusion,
making him think,
as he was alone and wretched,
helplessly watching people starve
and die slaughtered,
that maybe Earth is Hell.
Some of us twig this
whilst others pretend forever.
He wanted to pretend
but sought the truth.
Had the few saints out of the billions
been the only approximation to "love?"
He wondered if he had become bad from birth,
like baptism was another joke,
or if he chose to be bad later?
He amazed at what people felt
when deluding about “love.”
If the truth be known,
he’d never felt anything but a glimmer
his entire life.
* * *
I realised there was no perfection in love, but today, I would add the caveat, outside of Jesus Christ. Then with further consideration, I realised I was wrong, because surely it is found in nature, or "Mother Nature" I you like. I was becoming pantheistic; however, I'd never ever heard the word before. What happen next was made possible because of Facebook, and the connections I had on it, to old school friends and some people I didn't really know, because I was called a "pantheist". I was thrilled to have discovered something for myself, rather than reading about it in a book and I was that. In a way, it chose me. Heck, on the strength of it, I even joined the Green Party briefly, because I hadn't reached the point in my life where I was avoiding labelling.
Five days after writing the above two poems I wrote the one below. I've said before, decisions happen in a flash. Collecting data can take any amount of time, but choice is momentary.
I searched for it
my entire life.
Then I realised
it had been there all along.
Nature asks for nothing.
She feeds us, clothes us,
warms us, body and heart.
Nature must be love.
We take advantage
and she forgives.
I saw a robin today.
Surely it was God
with its characteristic trust.
I shared moments
in my space; its space.
I smiled at its lack of dogma.
I know simplicity was divine.
It became clear that before anything else, I needed to love myself. I learned how to talk to strangers, even how to reveal my dreadfully nicotine-stained teeth in a smile; the latter being made possible as I knew any visual aspect, was like a proverbial iceberg type metaphor. My smile was made infectious because it hinted at genuine individuality, and how cruel misfortunes, both unfair and even unusual, might have facilitated that outcome. I was embracing my aloneness, my uniqueness, and that was all I could do. Either that, or I could be a clone. Life stemmed from there, eventually beginning.
Still in my mid-forties, despite everything that had happened, and importantly; because everything had happened, things started !!! And that's the paradox. I eventually remarried, and successfully, but not to the cliched "ideal" person who just walked into my life and made me happy. I made me happy first...
Jordan Peterson said, "I know you're full of snakes. I know it. Maybe I know it more than you do, but we'll play anyways."
After entering the world, I started voluntarily walking dogs for the RSPCA, every Thursday. I also joined a writing group in Manchester city centre, and attended every Monday evening. My poems were very well received, but I thought they might be, because many had previously been accepted for publication, by international literary markets. I'd been regularly submitting work over the previous few years.
Ultimately, I wrote my autobiography : "Embrace your aloneness". Life started for me, not in a small part after my acceptance of that dictate. Soon afterwards I met Michelle. She'd also risen above misfortunes. Despite our snakes we had a shot at life together. It's not easy, but neither of us are quitters. We married on Valentine's Day 2015 : my 47th birthday.
* * *
If you do nothing else, drop your victimhood. Stop harming yourself, whether by neglect, or through substance abuse and other addictions. Then, however thick the camouflage is, because the world remains atrocious, count your blessings. They might only be hidden by denial, and be just under your nose.
* * *