Staring into the Void

This time of the year is a bit like a twilight zone for many of you. The gap between loneliness and hopelessness. Christmas seemed to happen to everyone else, and there doesn’t appear much to look forward to next year, just a lot more of the same shit we say we enjoy but we know doesn’t really fulfil us. All the memes, all the festive sentiments posted as far as the eye can see, all the pictures of smiley faces, festive pranks and all the determination that next year will be the year it changes. You see it but can’t relate. It doesn’t feel real. You’re still numb, except perhaps for your pain.

I’m not going to pretend that anything I have to say can offer any change for you, but I do want you to feel less alone in this moment. Amidst the casual acceptance of those around you that your pretend smile means nothing’s wrong, we both know not everything’s right. The tissues in your trash tell the story. Or perhaps the scars on your arm.

It may seem twee, but who you are right now is valid. It might feel like you’re defined by all the things you’re not; that your self-identity is framed by what you perceive as your weakness, but there’s still a ‘you’ at the core. Nobody might see it, or understand it, but you know you’re there, hiding away in the dark.

Would you take my hand if I offered it to you? Would you be brave and not shut me out if I told you I think you’re precious? Or if you did, would you let me keep my hand there, waiting for you to hold when you’re ready? If you’d do it for me, perhaps you could do it for your most trusted person. You might just find they’ve been waiting for you for a while.

I think the world is full of ‘you’s . They’re all around. We’re each just hiding away, assuming we’re the lone inhabitant of a vast, isolated cave. It can be comforting to picture others, even those we’ll never get to know. You’re not truly alone.

So as another year approaches, perhaps looking a lot like the last, let’s not fill it with empty promises and cheap sentiment. Let’s just clutch each other’s hands and hold tight, because anything might happen if we can bring ourselves to believe in somebody.

Thoughts on a New Year

Try typing ‘new year’s day’ into your phone. You’ll probably find it altered to upper case. We know why that is: the cultural importance necessitates a certain gravitas in phonesville, and that’s understandable.

But time doesn’t mark us. Actually, it’s the other way around. The start of a new year (or your next birthday, for that matter) doesn’t dictate the requirements you ought to have reached. It doesn’t provide an expectation against which you should measure yourself. It doesn’t actually provide any standard whatsoever, it’s just the passing of a specific measurement of days. Yet concepts like resolutions can pressure us horribly and encourage us to succumb to declarations of intent, whether publicly or privately: it’s now or never!

The truth is, it’s neither.

We are the ones who mark our time. We decide how best to live; what we feel capable of achieving and what’s realistic to expect of ourselves. Time isn’t some concept we can outsource any of that shit to, it’s simply a measurement of something about which we are always fully in control: the pace we set ourselves to handle our business the best way we know how.

The last thing I want for you is to feel pressured by the start of another year. Even if you’d prefer to improve yourself or your situation right now, don’t let this focus on the next number to put on a date stamp make you feel any less capable or held back.

You own this.
Always did; always will.

There is no rush. Take your time and do it your way. The focus shouldn’t be your speed but your direction. Are you heading somewhere that’ll improve your sense of peace and well-being? If not, what does that look like and how do you start to get there? Let self-enquiry guide you, not the pressure of keeping up with new year fads.

My hope is that 2017 won’t bring you anything you wish for right now. I hope it’ll surprise you. Astound you. Resurrect your belief that life can bring goodness and fulfilment, and strengthen your hope in the fullness of time.