I’m walking home in the crisp autumn sunshine, along a Royal Mile crowded with the pedestrian traffic of visitors, buskers and tour guides bedecked in 18th century garb. It’s such a beautiful day, but I’m struggling to enjoy it. At the moment I feel utterly lost, physically sick with the dread of it, and I’m trying hard not to panic or give in to the despair whispering to me from my own dark corners. I’m trying hard to simply stay with this surge of exhausted negativity – not fight it, just allow it to flow through me and past me.
I have a friend who is going through a difficult patch in her life these days. “What’s the point of me?” she has asked, and right now I wonder precisely the same thing about myself. When my friend asks me this question, I tell her the truth: being you is the point. You don’t need any other. You don’t need to justify your existence. You’re my dear friend and I love you and you’re meant to be here. Why can’t I summon the same certainty for myself?
This isn’t depression. It’s more to do with my work and my livelihood, with the burden of peddling an ethos that the average citizen regards as farfetched and up its own idealistic ass. It’s not practical. It doesn’t pay the bills. I’m inviting others to join me in beating against the bars of an invisible cage. Who would want to buy that?
I’ve got headphones on and have gravitated to the bard of lost souls, Gram Parsons. “One hundred years from this day,” he sings, “will the people still feel this way?” Heeding the words of a man who lived in drug-addled emotional solitude before overdosing at the age of 27… is this really going to get me anywhere? Apparently so, because by the time I arrive at my doorstep I’ve regained my inner balance and like a byrd I’ve thrown myself back into the arms of fate. I’m my dear friend and I love me and I’m meant to be here. “Everybody’s so wrong, that I know it’s gonna work out right.”