The truth in despair

Few people know what they’re doing; they stumbled along and find great jobs eventually. Yet this is seldom said and much of what I see are “adults” who seem to shoulder their responsibilities with ease. They can look after themselves and the world doesn’t make them want to retreat to a cave. Do they cry at night? Do they want to kill themselves? I don’t wish that despair on people but I’d like to know who’s actually functional and who’s pretending. Is this the mask of getting older? I’m alone when surrounded by a world that I suspect is pretending.

I’m compelled in my writing to regurgitate those quiet, shady truths that seem a bit despicable and leave people feeling they are standing in a long abandoned room. We want to speak into those spaces about life being beautiful and worthy of our lifespan, but more often than not this is just to fill the uncomfortable feeling. I don’t advocate a state of perpetual depression or giving up, I just like to sit in those spaces without pushing them aside. We humans are not all joy and sensuality, we equally made up of aguish and indignation.

I have a nature that’s fairly unflinching in the face of darkness. It leads me to being fascinated by despair. I don’t delight in it, it’s not abstract or just a curiosity, but a deep human reality that is a comfort to see in some instances. I don’t see the world as a glass half full/empty issue; that all can be cured by having a positive perspective. I’m preoccupied with despair because I often find it to be honest. Uncomfortably honest in a culture obsessed with the success, performance and appearances.

I am driven to find this truth in humans and speak to it. Truth is not easily spoken about though. I don’t mean to invoke the childish notion of seeking the one true truth; that it always sets us free and must be nobly sought after. I mean truth in this instance to mean the stripping back of pretense and self told delusions. To simply hear a friend talk about their depression or universal restlessness and not shy away it. I wouldn’t call this easy to do and it does take practice. But people are pulsing and struggling. Ignoring the homeless man won’t mean you’ll scream any less on the inside. In being able to actually hear the pain of others we really are less likely to ignore it in ourselves.

I would like to bring some of this to Scissors Paper Pen if I have the chance. I am sending in an application soon. I love the idea of the opportunity to write for them, but I also figure it’s a great platform to speak to other people like myself who chose or are compelled to live ‘the artist life’ and hence struggle with disillusionment more chronic than poverty. I haven’t got all the ideas formed in my head but I’ve got the anger, first hand experience and reflection on the issue to undoubtably come up with something powerful. I’m still wrestling with wether there is a ‘writers utopia’ or not; if through enough exploitation, internships and frittering away our talents for free we really do get what we deserve (and it pays well).

Either way, I’m driven to turn my year of agony and uncertainty into something of use to others; to form it into raw advice ungarnished with bullshit. Those in despair don’t need me to essentially write for them that which they could also get from a useless cat poster. It’s brutal trying not to hide from my own unhappiness and where it comes from. But it would be fulfilling to be able to turn such a lost experience into useful words for others.