Sometimes I feel bad about doing what I’m doing, existing—I shan’t say living—how I’m existing: my days consist of dreaming, writing, listening only to music that really gets to me*, panicking, reading, doing drugs, plotting my escape, working, chain-smoking, cleaning, wishing I was asleep, staring out of the window, trying not to cry, catching moths and waiting for wine o’clock.
Sometimes, usually in the early afternoon when I find myself at a loss (of every conceivable thing but mostly my mind) and I can’t quite get my work right and I have no idea what I’m still doing in this fucking town, I look at the photo of you that I have by my desk and say aloud, “I’m sorry, Dad” then hit the powder. Sometimes I just mumble a quick “sorry”, unable to look at your smiling face out of shame. I can hear you saying DON’T YOU FUCKING DARE but I don’t want to listen. I just turn the music up louder to drown out your faraway voice of concern.
You’d tell me to redirect my sadness and terror outward, into good things, rather than inwards, into self-destruction and an early grave. You’re right of course but I can’t/won’t/don’t want to. I suppose I rather enjoy wasting away this way (properly, rapidly, with Patti Smith for company) although “enjoy” isn’t the right word.
I also know that you were doing exactly the same things when you were my age, in my situation, in my mental state, and look how you turned out. You survived all of this, whatever ~this~ is, to become the most extraordinary human being. And I am lucky. I have a bed to sleep in, medication, food, books, music, my notebook and a handful of people who say they love me. And I have something extra, something you didn’t have: Joy Division.