Well, that’s 2017. At times I feel that I spent a lot of this year preparing for the next, yet I look back and there’s still so much there. Barbecues on St Cath’s Hill nearly burning all the food, the nights where alcohol cancels out that dancing’s a bad idea, rolling about with laughter whilst rehearsing shows that had all the odds against them, laughing just the same with your family in an obscure part of Crete reliving the warmth you feared to lose, getting lost in Edinburgh Old-town with a good mate to watch seven shows in a single day, waving goodbye to familiar faces, the incredible surprises brought by new faces, standing at the top of a small unspoilt Devonshire village descending down a hill towards the sea.. But, most importantly, those nights stuck indoors with your favourite twats either watching mediocre 00’s films with Sainsbury’s SFC chicken bucket or staying up until 3am trying to finish the extended Return of the King with the greatest bastard of them all! Yeah, I’d say that’s a year well-lived. It hasn’t been perfect, but it’s healthy to both celebrate and feel a sensitivity towards the good times you’ve had. In many contexts, I think it’s important to remember that there’s no such thing as ‘just being sensitive’. Happy New Year!
Self-belief; it purges my speech.
Ripples my words when I want a smooth stream.
But how can I speak any more coherent,
When those around me keep kicking the current?
Forced into the frame of socially-incapable,
But it’s alright mate; your appearance is somewhat serviceable.
But I’m more than that, I have so much to say –
I’m not a still image; I’m a video struggling to play.
So many years, they disrupted my signal.
Spinning me round on a buffering circle.
But I managed to find a better connection,
But the update was never going to be a smooth expansion.
Constantly remoulding and reshaping the model,
Hoping for distraction from the software internal.
This isn’t right, where’s the pride in introversion?
Is it there, or is the answer physical compensation?
Nerves are the enemy; confidence the cure.
Former prevents the latter; a paradox I endure.
But you think that subtle alienation’s going to stop me?
You’ll be the one who’ll first face my fixed personality.
Except, do I even need to be fixed?
Succumbing to all of conformity’s tricks.
You stick by those who embrace your flaws and your grit.
I’m damaged and I’m strange – Fucking deal with it.
Writing this short story went south and I’ve scrapped it for now, but I was pretty happy with this passage all the same, so here ya go…
At its most piercing, alienation spawns from attention. One force causing the complete opposite. I know that sounds rather odd, considering the whole idea is to feel isolated from everyone else. Those moments stuck beside a group in an exclusive world, whilst you’re no more than a mute moon orbiting it. They happen and they hurt. Yet, what worsens these woes is when these walled-off worlds decide to look up. And catch us floating.
I finish my shop at Aldi (don’t judge me). I go to the tills. There is a huge gap between one customer’s shopping and the other’s upon the conveyor belt, wasting a lot of space in the middle and leaving me no space for mine. I look to the man standing beside it. What is wrong with him? I wait for the shopping at the front to move so I finally have some space. I start to unload the groceries from my basket. I sense the man staring at me. I try to ignore him. I start to wonder if it’s because I unloaded my alcohol first; “typical bloody student,” he must think. No matter, I continue until all my shopping’s on the conveyor belt.
However, as the belt moves, the man doesn’t move with his shopping. Is he on drugs? I’m now going to have to brush passed him, accompanying my goods. I approach him. Then I see it. Low and behold, the man is holding a basket of shopping in the arm that was obscured by his mildly chubby body. It’s not his shopping on the conveyor belt. He was next in the queue, but was just standing awkwardly beside someone else’s shopping. I have pushed in. I have pushed in and now must pass the man who I have pushed out.
As I pass, I can hear his content but angry breaths. I don’t understand, whose shopping am I in front of? Wait, it’s the same guy whose shopping was at the front. He hogged the entire conveyor belt, the bastard! I mean, who the fuck leaves a huge gap between their shopping to spite everyone else, the self-absorbed cretinous snake! Oh wait, what’s that in his trolley that the Assistant is scanning? Oh no, it is two large bags of compost that he clearly was stopped from putting on the conveyor belt but, nonetheless, he’d prepared a gap for. The only one in the wrong now is me, and perhaps the man I accidentally pushed out for standing in such a fucking vague place, how was I supposed to know?
My turn has come. The Assistant slams me with “So is that your shopping there?” clearly aware of the bastard-act I had carried out. I simply reply “yes,” deliberately deploying a manner that makes me sound more innocent and stupid than I actually am (quite the impeccable feet, I know), hopefully she’ll think that I am a lost child of this world who is unaware of what they have done. I know what I’ve done.
No matter, I leave the shop and hope to never see any of these fucking people again.