cw: suicide ideation, mental illness, depression etc.
My three lessons from 2022:
1. Running away from problems is a mature, intelligent and positive way to respond to problems.
2. Avoidance of confrontation is safer, healthier and better than the stratifying establishment of status that inevitably follows confrontation.
3.Compromise engenders resentment; only avoidance permits peace.
It’s an established and quantifiable fact that 2018 was the best year of my life and that 2017 and 2016 were definitely the worst (of the ones I have established memories of – who knows about childhood?), with 2005 (when memories start) to 2010 broadly considered good to ok, 2011-2012 pretty bad, 2013-2014 good, 2015 bad, 2019 fine, 2020/2021 all covidy and Canadian so tough to judge but generally fine, with 2022 somehow combining elements of every single year of my adulthood into a smorgasbord that may have contained some excellent elements, but presented the total in such a way that the whole became meaningless, unnoticeable, hidden, sunken and overwhelmed by the worst decision/action I have made in my life so far: I moved back to the UK, something I never never never should have done.
Previously, the worst decision I’d made in my life was that time I bought a boat to live on that turned out to be structurally unsound, a misadventure that put me in a non-negligible amount of debt. (See my 2021 underread masterpiece, hip-hop-o-crit)
I paid off that debt this year, which should have (could have?) been a net good thing. It wasn’t, though, because by the time it happened, I was back living in London, 100 metres away from the same canal network I had erroneously expected to be living on for a while.
To be constantly reminded of failure, error, mistake, regret, shame, guilt, is too much.
It’s fucking too much.
I don’t think I ever did anything maliciously or cruelly or with the intent of causing harm, but I did a lot of things I wish I hadn’t because I was stupid and naive and ignorant and young and starved of attention and affection and love. But I did do them (see my slightly-less-underead 2020 masterpiece, the pleasure of regret) and I never did anything, really, to overlay the unhappy place memories with happier, better, maturer, warmer, wiser, place memories. I ran away, which is a response I highly recommend.
I was often pretty bored during my time away from London, sure, yes, that’s true, buuuuuuuuuut I wasn’t constantly forced into psychological confrontation with a past I have no affection for or interest in. Now I am, and it’s fucking unbearable.
This year, of course, was the year this blog was quoted in the New Yorker, which was a lovely way to open 2022.
I did a nice holiday in the Spring, which was a nice way to spend the Spring.
And then I came back here and nothing nice, nothing positive, nothing rewarding, nothing creative, nothing exciting, nothing interesting, nothing forward-moving, nothing hope-building, nothing satisfying, nothing better than mediocre has happened since, and every day I’m threatened and bludgeoned with the memories of deeply unhappy times.
I hate the UK and everything it stands for. Being here on a day-to-day basis makes me feel like hypocritical, empty, pointless scum.
I cannot be here and make it better, I can only be here and be made worse.
Every day, I am being made worse. Angrier, sadder, more hopeless, more disinterested in myself, the world, the other people in it and, crucially, the future. This is basically the pop psychological definition of depression, yes, I know that, but I’m fucking tired of medicalising feelings, especially as those feelings and the treatments for them make no difference to my ability to engage with the world as a capitalistic figure. I can – and do – labour and spend; why would I want to be so unimaginative as to believe that doing those things with a smile is a “healthier” situation than doing those things with a frown?
I don’t want to feel like my life is not only “good enough”, but “good”, which is the end goal of [all of my previously encountered] treatment[s] for mental illness. It’s not to fix the system, it’s to convince the “patient” that the cruel abyss they see themselves within is without fault. Capitalism is killing the planet and it’s killing people, but if one doesn’t hunger to try and thrive within that system, one is deemed sick. That, imo, is very ensickening.
2022 wasn’t a mixed year for me, it was a fucking awful year, and there are no reasons, expectations or even possibilities of 2023 being significantly different. It’ll probably be worse, won’t it? I don’t have any plans lol!
Fuck it all. I hated 2022, but tomorrow morning doesn’t offer a reset or a respite or an opportunity for change.
Tomorrow is just another wintery day in what will likely be another wintery year.
Then again, who knows – in 12 months maybe I will have escaped (again?), maybe I will be living somewhere I can be, or maybe I will have drastically changed my relationship with the UK into something that doesn’t make me spend every conscious second (free from distraction) trying to figure out a way to painlessly, messlessly, get out of being alive.
Definitely one of my worst years! It’s fucking unsustainable!
Happy New Year!!!