Days sober: 28 – four weeks.
It’s okay in the day, I’m staying busy
Tied up enough so I don’t have to wonder ‘Where is he?’
Got so sick of crying, so just lately when I catch myself I do a 180
I stay up, clean the house, at least I’m not drinking
Run around just so I don’t have to think about thinking
That silent sense of content that everyone gets
Just disappears soon as the sun sets…
[Wake Up Alone by Amy Winehouse]
I am doing lots of things to keep busy, to keep my upsetting thoughts and hurtful memories in the dark and distract myself with light. I’ve found a few lectures that I would like to attend, talks on various topics at different places in London throughout July. I just hope I’m brave enough to go to them (being in an unfamiliar place full of strangers is usually ok, but it depends on the strangers; if
people stare men leer at me I get nervous and panicky, and aggressive.) And I’ve made sure that none of these lectures include pre- or post-talk wine, or audience participation.
Along with learning from experts, I also want to learn things for myself out in the field, so to speak. I am going on a Cemetery Crawl. Like a bar crawl, but with cemeteries instead. I’ve written much on this blog about my preoccupation with death. My life is one big existential crisis, day after day I am terrified of being alive and terrified of death and the uncertainty of afterlife. I am obsessed. It’s unhealthy but at least it’s interesting! So I’m going to visit all these amazing cemeteries in London and learn as much about them as I can – the people who rest there, the funeral process, the art of gravedigging, the traditions and hauntings, all of it. I’m so excited! I’m going to visit the Magnificent Seven, as well as some smaller local cemeteries which I love to walk through. Here’s the big ones: Highgate, Tower Hamlets, Abney Park, Brompton, Nunhead, West Norwood and Kensal Green. I guess my logic is maybe if I expose myself to death, I will worry about it less and accept that my questions about death are unanswerable.
I went for a walk this evening. I wanted a cigarette but my mother was indoors so I couldn’t have one unless I went “out-out.” I walked around the block, looking at all the Victorian terraces that the bombs missed during the war, the houses that I’d walked past so many times with R.L but that I’d never noticed. My lighter ran out of gas so I went to buy some matches and then walked to the old fire station. What a shithole. It’s totally overgrown with nettles and brambles, there’s rubbish everywhere, the windows are smashed, the door boarded up. This annoys me because it’s been like this for years, the council should turn it into flats for people like me or a homeless shelter or a community centre or something.
Anyway I’m sitting there on a broken wall and thinking about how awful everything is. The people going by are the usual riff-raff, there’s some kids trying to kick the lock off a garage door and some guy is flogging broken speakers out of the back of his van. I think about this derelict fire house and look at the scattered clouds, someone from the pub walks by and asks if I’m ok and I say yes and he says “Jolly good” and walks on. And I am ok, I’m okay. Four weeks sober. Reading and writing and painting and learning and going to graveyards for fun. And alone. So fucking alone. I am so alone.
Then I look at the wall by the gate – it’s totally bare apart from this little sprig of some sort of weed which has little yellow flowers that have grown through the cement. Yellow flowers – my absolute favourite. If they were red or blue I wouldn’t have thought twice, but they’re yellow and they’re there for me.
I look at the rest of the brickwork that I can see and there’s only stinging nettles and tired grass growing. But this weed with its little yellow flowers grew for me, I am probably the only person who will ever see them as they’re on the inside face of the pillar and I don’t think anyone would ever sit here by the nettles and cider cans and pizza boxes. It may be a weed, which some find annoying and unsightly, but compared to all the other shit around here the little flowers it has are the prettiest thing. They’re here and they’re growing even in the face of adversity. This weed is growing alone, it doesn’t need other weeds in order to grow, it just does it anyway.
This little weed and its yellow flowers are here to remind me that it is possible to find beauty in the ugliest places, in the ugliest people, in the ugliest situations. Beauty can still exist even if your situation and environment are ugly. Thank you Mama Nature, you never fail to amaze.