Us of Lesser Gods

in me

There are moments when I find myself held up in reflects, moments for me to gaze upon this self-made bitter man. The past 18 months has been the most challenging and rewarding period of my life. After April 2017 I put forward every effort to challenge-change!-the ways I hurt people. I ended those relationships I deemed toxic. I discovered I could be a great help to those in need. Last October I took up running when I hit rock bottom.

2018 has been a bumper year. My two kids are regular part of my life. I left a horrible and exhausting job. My running went from a slow 5k to a fast half marathon. I’ve travelled to Malta and Iceland. I’m learning Dutch, even!

And yet.

Never have I felt the winds of success blowing with so little meaning. My life is hollow. I’m tired. Partners have come and gone in a blur of Tinder swipes. Everyone who said they love me became a someone I pushed away. Whenever I ponder love and trust, I remember when I used them to hurt somebody, or someone used them to hurt me. Love is the give and take of hurt, the unfair trade of grief and sorrow and pain.

I still feel awful guilt and terrible shame about what I did. There are moments that I would give anything to undo. Whatever somebody asked me of me, I’d give them if it let me make other people not hurt. This is not hyperbole. Hurt is a stone I dropped into the sea: once I go, it was gone forever.

This isn’t a pity post because I know very well that I have agency. Christ knows that I practice it often enough. This is I don’t know how to heal post. I’m alone. I am Single White Male #231647 in a city of heaving transience. The idea of opening up scares me. Therapy has been a great help, but that’s me in a box talking to a wall. I want someone who’ll understand me. Some people have tried to change me. Others have downplayed or ignored or expected.

So I’m Single White Male #231647 and while I have a world of choices, I don’t know which one will has meaning. I’m an atheist. There’s nobody upstairs for me to kneel and pray to. For the rest….I work hard to save for dreams I don’t have. As the song says, I don’t want what I know. I don’t want to be alone, but I don’t want to be vulnerable. This, not that. That, not this. Ugh.

And Irish society doesn’t have a place for men who aren’t strong. Like yeah, these days everyone knows to be a bit more open, but men are still expected to go and get on with it. Nobody reaches out to ask how things are going, though I would feel awkward if they did. My friends are few and far away.

Although things are a bit mad, I’m basically grand. Even if I fuck up and break the odd heart, I know I’m not the man I was. I get up and go and run and promise myself I’d do better tomorrow.

Six Months in the Mountain Kingdom

in me

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