A few friends have been asking what’s up recently, and giving them a concise answer has been challenging. I’ve mainly been replying with ‘just some big life stuff.’
I’ve been hanging on, as it were, but I didn’t realise quite how deeply this ‘big life stuff’ has been impacting me until yesterday when I went to York for a two-day black metal festival and started to lose my shit, not long after arriving in the city.
It was peopled to the point I just wanted to turn around and get the next train home. I’ve never found York to be as suffocating as yesterday, and I couldn’t cope. It was also pissing down (of course it was, when is it not?), and I’ve had it up to here with the fucking rain. I’m very much of the Scandinavian ethos, ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.’ Still, the woefully wet climate of this damned country can test the patience and sanity of even the hardiest outdoorsy folk.
Anyway, I managed to find sanctuary in my favourite bookshop (the Oxfam bookshop on Micklegate) and, pushing the thought of my depleted bank account to the back of my sad head, loaded myself up with as many books as I could feasibly haul around York.
My journey to York was for the Bridge of Destiny festival, but my mood was so dire that I left almost as soon as I arrived at the venue. I ended up back at the hostel, where I ate a peanut butter sandwich and slept for twelve hours. I could have easily slept twelve more. I came home a day early. The festival is still happening as I type. I ought to be there taking photographs of the bands while swigging on a bottle of Crabbies, but depression, introvertism and my preoccupation with the ‘big life stuff’ have spoken – it was not meant to be.
I returned home at midday and spent much of the afternoon not doing much other than staring at nothing in particular and feeling quite hopeless. After being somewhere, I always feel out of sorts and struggle to get back into a rhythm. I usually punish myself for this.
Some Of The Big Life Stuff That’s Affecting Me
- I miss Iceland and the friends I have there.
- I miss Norway and the friends I have there.
- I’m anxious about this rare chromosome deletion my daughter and I have been diagnosed with and the big fucking mystery surrounding it.
- This miserable, dull, wet, mild winter. It’s unsettled me to the point that I struggle to be outside without fretting about the effect this screwed up weather is having on the landscape and wildlife. I grimace more often than I smile when I’m outside, and that in itself feels all kinds of wrong. Everything about this winter has felt off. I feel abandoned, too, in a sense, and at a loss. I’m sure other winter worshippers can identify. I always dread the end of winter, but it hasn’t even arrived this year. People keep saying, ‘we’re due some heavy snow….’ I shake my head and reply that I doubt it’ll come.
- Brexit and how it continues to fuck up everything.
- The factory farming industry and mindless consumption of animals. I was on the train today, returning from York, and passed several gigantic windowless buildings housing battery hens. These buildings are surrounded by miles and miles of empty grassland. It was excruciating and almost too much to bear to think of the thousands of birds in those concentration camp like buildings, whose short, dismissed lives consist of nothing but abject suffering.
- Not producing work at the speed I used to. I was a prolific creator for great swathes of my late teens, twenties, and even my early thirties. During that period, I don’t think I even once dwelled on the limitations of time. I’ve slowed down profoundly in recent years, and it distresses me to the point that I find it difficult to express. I allow myself to get weighted down with the worry of not being able to write all the books I want to write, and then that puts pressure on myself to produce, and I find myself stalling and procrastinating and becoming overly critical and fearful of what I’m creating. I remind myself that it’s quality over quantity. I remind myself of this constantly. But I struggle immensely to congratulate myself and cheer myself on after completing something because insidious thoughts will creep in about all the other things I haven’t achieved yet.
- The soulless housing developments chewing up the English countryside and leaving native species homeless.
- The more more more more more reality that is ‘life’ online and feeling utterly depleted after even the briefest time spent on the internet.
- How horrifically expensive it is to merely exist.
- Not having a clear plan for my future other than knowing it consists of writing books, taking photographs, making music and living in Iceland or Norway.