Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Crazy is as Crazy Does

This is such an obvious title, that it sounds like one I would have written before! It shouldn’t be any surprise – yes, I’m crazy! Quite sporadically, sometimes regularly, just off-the-rails crazy!! Well, it depends who you talk to, I guess. I don’t like the term “normal”, as that’s a line I’ve spent years veering far away from. But it’s not quite being “unnormal” that makes me crazy. What makes me appear “crazy” is my attitude towards life – life is for living!

Now, see, I don’t like taking uncertain risks. I’m not into doing really stupid things, like climbing a really tall building, jumping off without any support, and yelling ‘YOLO!’ No, that’s not quite the sort of “crazy” I mean. I do take risks, I do go out to a new pub when I don’t feel like going out, when I’d rather lock myself away and cry. I’ve gone out, met new people, likeminded people, people who don’t mind my sort of crazy. I take risks by venturing into new territories, attempting new things, trying new foods, spending a little bit too much at Christmas because I want to get the people I care about nice things, pushing myself slightly out of my comfort zone now and then. But these are things that a lot of people do, right? These are things that wouldn’t be classified as crazily adventurous.

But, aha! Here we come to it! I'm an introvert. I'm a depressive. These may be things that many people do, but they are really tough for me. So how do I approach these things? How do I go about in these ventures, these occasional nights out, buying (I hope) interesting gifts, pushing myself forward? Well, that’s the really tough part, especially for depressive introverts like me. That’s where I let people see the real me.

It’s not an easy thing to do, to go out without any “protection”, aka without a “mask” on, without pretending to be someone else. I did that for many years. I used to try to fit into crowds where I didn’t belong, tried to “pretend” that I belonged, because I didn’t want to be alone, as I was tired and sad from locking myself away from people. I learnt the hard way that that doesn’t work. People know that you’re not one of them, that you're different. Whatever you do, whatever you try, you stick out. So, I changed. I started wearing the clothes I wanted to, without caring what people thought. I started doing things my way, going to the places where I wanted to be. But whenever you have to start again, do that for the first time, then you are truly exposed. People who see you on your own, dancing without a care, letting yourself go free to the music, they don’t know what to make of you. You are the “strange” one, as you let yourself just be, you show parts of yourself that many people keep hidden. Ah, to be truly free, to be a true free being, one of the first things you have to do is to care less what other people think. That is, perhaps, one of the hardest blocks to ever let lose. But, as soon as people see your real self, the hidden one, then you find out who your true friends are.

But there’s another step. Finding someone like you to share your life with. If you find that person, what do you do? Well, you strip away all layers, including the dark ones that you still keep hidden. You let yourself be as free, wild and crazy as you want to be. From flashing underwear, because you realise that we all just have a body underneath, to wearing crazy clothes, to pulling stupid faces, to food fights, to… There are so many innocent levels of crazy! Kids can do it, so why can’t we as adults? Yet, ‘you must be drunk, mad, to do that!’ But the innocence of kids is still praised, the freedom of expression which many of us lose in adult life.

I don’t need any alcohol to let out my “inner child”. I want to live free, to be able to express myself in any manner I want to. Yes, within reason, always within reason! I care about people, so I don’t do anything that would deliberately hurt another. It is my caring, my heart, that allows me to be adventurous in choosing gifts others may not think of. But in a world which fights harder to suppress anything people do, simple innocent crazy becomes more important.

Let your innocence, that inner child, run free. As long as no one is getting hurt, as long as you’re not doing something fantastically stupid, what’s the harm? You are free.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Am I a Follower, or a Free Thinker?

I think that it’s always been hard to say whether the path we follow is truly our own or shaped for us, especially in this modern world of social media and media frenzy. So much of what we do and say is affected by the world around us, from popular posts shared on sites like Facebook, to the daily news. Too many people just follow all the information blindly, without thinking about what lies behind it, where the truth really is. I’ve always believed that, in choosing which information to accept or to investigate further and which to disregard, that I am exercising free thought and not following the crowd. Yet, perhaps out of a need to feel like I belong, I still find myself falling into “group patterns” and following and accepting most of what these groups have to say. Does that make me just another follower, too?

Whilst I can lead, I don’t see myself as a leader. There are times when I don’t mind being in the spotlight, when I feel the need to be visible (and sometimes I’m visible when I’m less inclined to be, simply because of the fact that I don’t care anymore what people think and don’t hide most of who I am). There are other times when I shun the spotlight, hide away indoors, where people can only see or find me if they know where to look. Throughout my life, I’ve adapted my ideas and beliefs as I’ve grown older and have learnt more about the world, change being one of the most inevitable parts of life. In some ways I have become more defined, in others I have simply shifted one niche for another, always going and arriving at where I feel most comfortable. Who I am now has taken years to develop, a lifetime. Yet I still wonder at times whether it was simply an accident that I arrived at where I am now, or how much the outside world has had an influence upon those decisions.

For those that believe in predestiny, we do not make any free choices at all, as everything is already mapped out for us. I do admit that I partly believe in predestiny myself, that we choose before we are born what sort of life we are going to lead, but that not everything is fixed, that we still have some choices along the way in how to reach that final destination. But then I also look at other things in my life, from my fears to my hobbies. I grew up in a family that crafted, so I still craft myself today, even if it’s not always in the same way that I grew up with. I grew up in a menagerie of animals, with the first pets in our household being cats. I have two cats myself today. I shunned Christian beliefs after bad experiences and turned to other beliefs that called more to my soul, yet I still have minor fears now and then today because of some of the things I was taught during the time that my family took me along with them to church. And yet…

And yet, I do not follow the news on a regular basis, as I know how easy it is to get caught up in the fearmongering that is encouraged by all the mostly negative news bulletins. As a teenager, once I broke away from the fold, I started following my own way more, eventually (after a period of stubborn immovability) becoming more accepting and adaptable to the ideas of others. After learning from experience, I try to promote positive ideals more, rather than encouraging the endless stream of negative information that most of us see or hear on a daily basis. I am becoming who I believe I want to be, rather than letting others dictate to me how I should be. And yet…

And yet I still get caught up in the fear from time to time, perhaps out of sheer human weakness. And I still fear that, because of my acceptance and adaptability, no matter how many see me as a unique individual, that the path I’m following isn’t as much my own as I might believe. Whether it be predestiny, or external stimuli from those around us, we are all a product of the world we live in, whether we like it or not. Perhaps, in that respect, whilst those of us with good intentions can’t forgive or excuse, it is possible to understand extremists. For good or bad, those few are still following the voice that shouts the loudest to them, just like the majority of the rest of us, trying to make sense of the chaos that is the world around us.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Be Cruel to Be Kind

People say that you’ve “got to be cruel to be kind”. Perhaps, in some ways, it does work, by denying people a bit of extra help when it’s obvious that they can do the task on their own, no matter how much they’re struggling. Basically “tough love”, if you will. But for people who use this saying, I get the feeling that they don’t think in those moments of saying it about what cruelty really is…

I can be cruel. I mean, I can be truly cruel. The black thoughts in my mind, that always expect the worst. I’ve said before that I hope that my past experiences haven’t blackened my heart too much, said it quite recently, in fact, here. But I notice more and more how the dark thoughts are still there, how I end up thinking the worst of even the nicest of people because experience says that everyone will let me down in the end, that they will just run away and I’ll be alone again, always.

In times of struggles, no matter how minor, these thoughts come to the fore more strongly. I don’t see my own weaknesses until it’s too late and I’ve made a complete tit of myself once more. Then I’ve got to somehow dig myself out of the hole, repent the things I’ve said in haste and, in trying, it just gets deeper and deeper and deeper… Then they do run away, because I’ve driven them away through my actions. The cruelty inside of me comes out further, blaming them for being like everyone else that’s always let me down, even though I know it’s my fault. But as soon as I sit back and see how much of a failure I truly am, that I let my insecurities get in the way again, I break once more. I prepare to give up trying again, but the cycle always inevitably comes around again, whether I want it to or not.

Of course, it isn’t truly my fault; it’s the fault of all those that have hurt me in the past, with genuine ill intent. They’ve turned me into a bitter, insecure, untrusting mess. The more the years have gone on, the more that I’ve been let down and taken advantage of, the worse I have gotten. I keep trying to break the cycle, but I fear it might be too late. Despite all the kindness and love in my heart, that cruel side, that bitter side, is a fixed part that refuses to leave. Maybe someone will come along one day and prove me wrong, heal the hurts and remove the thorns that cause me to lash out in anger. Yet I fear it is too late for me. I don’t like being alone, but alone is probably the best place to be.

Friday, 10 July 2015


Life is a series of random explosions. Explosions of happiness, sadness, madness – craziness, all of it! It seems to be all or nothing as one event tumbles into the next. The past couple of weeks have certainly been that way and nothing has gone as expected. It feels like everything is building up towards a cataclysmic event that will change my life forever. Everything I have believed in so far will be turned on its head. Whether that will be a good or bad thing, only time itself will tell. Hopefully it will be a good thing, to finally move on and leave all the disasters of my past behind. But I’ve thus far been resisting change at every single turn, fighting it. It’s not that I don’t want to be free of the darkness, no matter how enticing and seductive it is; it’s been a familiar friend throughout the years, inspirational at times, but I’ll be glad rid of its destructiveness, albeit still reluctantly. No, change has to be good, no matter how scary the prospect is. Part of it is that I don’t believe that my life can truly change for the better. Every time my life has appeared to have been taking a good direction, something has happened to change all of that. The disasters and resulting sadness have never stopped. And yet…

On the one hand, I am sure that this latest bubble of hope is going to burst soon, but there’s something else as well. There’s something that’s building up inside of me, something huge that’s waiting to be released. The colours in my mind that are trying to escape into many creative forms are like a precursor to the next big explosion. I’ve hoped all my life for some of the basic things that many take for granted: peace, love, happiness, safety, security. At times I’ve had one or two, but never all at once. I’ve believed myself to not be deserving, like I’m cursed, but now? Maybe it just wasn’t the right time yet. Always so close, yet so far, but if I can be patient a little bit longer (not that I actually know what patience is), maybe I will find myself deserving again.

I’ve waited a long time to find out my true purpose in this world, to make sense of all my suffering. Well, it’s nearly time, I feel it coming. It still won’t be easy, but I hope I will finally be set free. I am strong, like no one can ever believe, and my strength and that alone will win me through.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Misplaced Trust

I’ve spent a lifetime of having faith in the wrong people. You would have thought that, at 34, I would have learnt my lesson by now. But I will say that it isn’t quite that simple.

I have been left insecure and fragile by the experiences of my past, but one thing that hasn’t yet been destroyed is my kind heart. So I still have an unerring faith in humanity, that there is some good and kindness out there somewhere, and if I don’t allow myself to open up in some ways to people, then I will never find it. I still go in cautiously, expecting to be taken advantage of, in a way. It can be even harder when you think that you have found someone who might actually be able to see past all of your flaws. Whether it be just simple friendship, or potentially something more (and it all has to start somewhere, anyway), I still keep searching and looking for those people that will prove my doubts wrong, that will prove to me that there is goodness in the world, that may even potentially save me.

But there are no “knights in shining armour”. In fact, many would-be rescuers have turned out to be demons dressed as knights, those fabled “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. It’s all left me with dents and bruises, leaving me looking a bit mismatched as I’ve had to repatch my armour in various places over the years. But the truth about humanity is that no one is perfect, that we’re all infallible. In looking for perfection you will only ever find flaws, faults, all the things that will just make you feel let down again, whether that is the intention of the other person or not. You want to see the best in people, yet all the demons have left you embittered, so even the slightest mistake can have you believing that they are just another one of those demons, out to get you, to destroy you. Slowly, through the years, the kind heart is so full of wounds and scars that, even when you want to be kind, you find it hard to be. You still want to see the best in people, but the scar tissue means that every new person that comes along has to fight a lot harder to win a treasured place.

So many won’t want to fight for a place, or won’t be able to handle the crazy mix of emotions that comes across as a result of all the damage. Even long-term friends may eventually run away, unable to cope with all the pressure. It’s left me very alone, and I believe that I may well be forever alone, as I don’t believe that there is anyone out there now who has the patience to stick around, to prove themselves and reassure me when I need it. I’ve ended up needing constant reassurance of people’s intentions, as it's become such that nowadays it won’t take much for me to lose faith in them. They say that “actions speak louder than words”, or that “words are wind”, but the right words, when actions are unavailable, can be just enough to allow you to hold on just that little bit longer.

I am quite fragile and break easily, yet I have a strong core. I use my strength to pull myself together again after every betrayal, but each time I remake myself I am not the same as I was before, leaving me trusting less, giving less chances, and requiring even more patience than before to handle. I’ve always refused to let the demons destroy the loving, kind person inside of me that would do anything for those that I care about, but she is slowly disappearing and eventually, one day, will be no more.