There’s a strange comfort in loving someone who gives you very little back. It’s a reassurance that the world is as you expect it to be. That’s a sad outlook for someone who has a general disposition to optimism and I often wonder who is the person I would be if I lent into my innate happiness. I wonder who is the person I could be if I shed the early life lessons on love that fuel a self-destructiveness which is the antithesis of how I view myself to be now.
I am two things in life. I am who I was meant to be, whether you believe in the concept of souls or not, that’s my subjectivity but it’s how I understand myself and other people in the world. I am that self. And the other is the self formed from within the life that I live. Hardship marks my childhood and well into my teenage years. I dealt with the fallout of a troubled early life into my early adulthood as I battled with self-destructiveness and bad habits that made my life worse.
For a long time, I had only ever seen myself as the latter, but in the last few years I have felt a certain magic in my life. Though I still am reeling with apathy, I am coming to terms with a new strange phenomena: the things I have so longed for are taking shape in my life. The moment the thought that ‘I don’t want to ruin my life’ formed in my mind, things turned around for me.
On the 8 hour plane back from New York, coming home from one of the most life-changing and incredible weeks of my life and the first week of my dream job, I watched Everything Everywhere All At Once. Despite the embarrassment of being in a middle seat and practically sobbing, it was what I needed on returning back to my life in London. The moment in that film where I saw myself, that first self I have described, was as the dad explained how his positivity is his way of surviving in this life.
When things in my life starting going right, when the things I wanted came to life, I sought to hurt myself in the most inconsequential way I could imagine. Although I am coming to realise and deal with the fall out of that harm in myself, it covered months of my life, that I could have been enjoying, in hurt. On the other side of that, my take away is that I don’t want to do that anymore.
Looking into the next year, I want to enjoy all the things in my life that are right. I want to carry my optimism with me, even in hardship. I am looking to find joy within the everyday — I love my morning coffee, with a dash of cinnamon, and a cigarette. I love the winter sun, which hangs lower, and cast buildings in a golden light. I like the distant cars and buildings and traffic lights, looking from my terrace along the busy road. I like my room, so much, and it means more than I could ever explain. I am even mostly okay with who I am, although I am committing to being better.
There is a power of possibility and this is a word to anyone who is seeking out familiar harm, who is looking to be proved right about everything their life has thus taught them. This is a note and word from down the line that life is so much sweeter when we are wrong. Our assumptions materialise in our life and from this moment I feel myself wanting to try optimism for the first time in a long while.