I believe that, at my very core, I am broken. I think that is who I am – a broken person. Sometimes I stay up late at night and think about what this means for me. Should I change who I am so that I better fit into the mould that so many people around me sculpted and want me to fit into, or should I remain who I am. Perhaps if I change then I can end up happy. I think about how if I wore better clothes and read different books and talked to different people then I could become well adjusted and live an ultimately fulfilling life – at least according to the definition of fulfillment that I see plastered everywhere in memoirs that come out every few weeks and all seem to involve a person, no matter how distraught or broken, managing to eventually fit into the mould that was crafted for them.
I think about these things now because I have, for the second or third time this year, begun my cycle of destruction over again. My room has been cleared of all the empty beer bottles and all the mouldy, stain ridden boxes of pizza that have been taken up from my floor and placed in the bin. My ash tray has been cleaned out and I’ve bought a scented candle that I let burn throughout the day in order to clear out the smell of stale pizza and smouldering cigarettes. I even went to the furniture store and purchased a set or drawers so that I can store my clothes somewhere other than on my floor. In addition, I have purchased numerous trinkets that can be used to store things on the walls and on the door – utilising any amount of empty space possible – so that the room has a sort of openness and breathyness about it. At the end of this my room becomes almost completely unrecognisable compared to the utter sty that it had been before the cycle was reset.
But, now, only a few weeks later, that the cycle has been reset, that means I have to live the utter nightmare that awaits me all over again. My room is clean, my clothes are worn well and I look presentable to the outside world, and once yet again I have taken up even a modicum of exercise and, instead of pizza and beer each night, I am now eating properly and healthily. This will give me the false sense that I am worthy of love. I might even attempt to contact friends to see if they want to enjoy a nice evening out with the new and improved me. Inevitably the answer is ‘sorry, I’m busy’ with some thing or another. No matter, thinks I, because this new me has the self confidence to go out and enjoy the world himself.
So I go out with a profound sense of confidence that, if I had learnt my lesson from the last time I had done this exact same thing, I should not have had. But, nonetheless, the new me ventures out into the wide world by myself. Then, along the path of my adventure, I inevitably end up being a girl. She could variously be described as beautiful, lovely, enticing, and all the other adjectives that can be attributed to an object of abject desire. Then all the thoughts rush back into my mind, like an army marching to the beat of a war drum. I am now reminded that – despite the fact that I cleaned my room and it now smells like peaches and I am wearing a set of clothes that have been washed and ironed – despite changing everything about myself I am still, at the essence of my very being, broken. And so the cycle has already begun. I don’t talk to her at all. Instead I gulp down my beer and catch glimpses of her between sips. Ultimately I decide that anything is better than torturing myself here. I leave for the store and grab a bottle of liquor. There aren’t any women to disappoint alone at my home.
This is how it always begins. This time it happened sooner rather than later, but it inevitably always begins this way. I am hit by the sudden realisation of just how inadequate of a man I am. But the change of clothes and the change of environs should have changed that. The difference between who I believe I am and the utter failure that I actually am can only be bridged with the consolidating power of alcohol. So I drink. But the vast chasm has been bridged, at least temporarily by a rickety old bridge. Now is when the real downward spiral begins.
I attempt to justify my shyness of the previous night as me just having not much experience with face to face interactions – what with most of the interactions throughout my life having occurred over the vast wires of the internet how could I possibly be blamed. So I turn to the internet for safety. I download a whole plethora of dating apps that guarantee the user happiness beyond belief and that come with a whole slew of confessionals about desperate young people just like me who were looking for love and found it using this service. How could I, who had just made monumental changes to my life in order to be more outwardly cleansed, not be a top hitter on one of these apps.
Soon the reality becomes clear. Messages that go unanswered. Days of messaging followed by silence. Organising a date only to have the other person delete me without any sort of warning. Going on a date and then receiving no form of communication afterwards. These are the four descriptions that can applied to every single experience from using these apps. Each time the facade that I had built around myself gets chipped away a little bit more and reveals the brokenness that lays beneath. The cheery smile gets replaced with my usual gloomy frown. Whenever I see someone in the hall I no longer wave and say hello, but I simply continue on and ignore their presence. The bottles and bottles of alcohol that I have been consuming just to maintain my sanity through all of this pile up as I am far too lazy to take them to the trash. After all, I was being treated like trash when I was a perfectly wrought citizen, and it’s no different to me being treated like trash as a worthless alcoholic.
Now my life has begun a full spiral out of control. I have no idea how to healthily deal with this. My whole upbringing told me that in any moment of crisis that I should pray. But there is no god. So now I have nothing but the bottle. I hold it tight to my chest hoping for comfort from the only object in my entire life that has ever offered me any.
Down I go. Further. Further. Further. I lay in an unclean bed, in soiled underwear and delirious. I’m not sure exactly what day it is. Nor what time. I order a pizza and some more beer. When I’m done the bottles and the boxes add to the already prodigious pile that indicate that I have, in fact, reached the bottom.
Now the only place I have to go is back to the beginning. Perhaps this time I’ll actually end up a success. Perhaps this time my life will be tragic but successful enough that I can publish a memoir about my suffering and about my phoenix like rising from the ashes. Perhaps this time I’ll end up on some talk show discussing my methods of dealing with depression. But that’s unlikely.
I wake up in the morning, to the smell of mouldy pizza, off beer, and smouldering cigarettes and I decide I need to get my life in order.
The cycle begins again.