(The the first in a series by Contributor B, who wishes to remain anonymous)
This isn’t like the Netflix show, where everything is darkness and mysteries and intrigue. If life were really like that, I wouldn’t be sat here, talking to an imaginary person while my brain refuses to shut off.
When I was a kid, I’d watch my mother take her pills. They helped, she said. I imagined it like a switch on a diagram of an electrical circuit; the alarm bells in her head were blaring because the circuit was open and her head was on fire. Then, she’d take her pills and the circuit would close, and be okay; for a little while. No alarm bells there.
When the alarm bells started going off in my head, she apologised. She blamed herself. Then she jumped off a bridge, which really sucked.
I had to see a counsellor after that, because I wasn’t old enough to take the pills. The doctors said it might fuck me up. Yeah, we wouldn’t want that, would we?
In the movies, there’s something specific that starts it off- moving schools, getting into a fistfight, falling in love. You want to know what the catalyst of mine was?
There wasn’t one. If I had to pick a defining moment of my life that set off the alarm bells, I couldn’t. Endless staring at my ceiling and wondering what it could have been has, as of yet, only revealed that there is nothing it could have been. Nothing happened to me, I just happened.
My shrink says it’s all to do with cycles and shit that happened to me when I was a kid- that sounds too flashy to be real, too like something that can be fixed.
In Japan, there is apparently something called Kintsugi, where the repair a piece of broken pottery with gold. That’s how the shrink described the ‘healing process’. In Japanese culture, the thing is made more beautiful by having been broken.
The thing that she neglected to point out is that we aren’t in Japan, we’re in Rotherham. And I’m a person (at least in theory) and not a pot. These are the kinds of loopholes my mind points out at two in the morning when it’s trying to explain to me why we’re up at two in the morning again.
Exhaustion stops being a word after a while. Words stop being words. Sounds are only sounds, and letters are just symbols for sounds- but you hear them in your mind, so what’s the point of the sounds? Is there sound in your mind? Is there even a mind left, after two in the morning….?
I can only conclude that-
Wait, what was my point again? Was there a point?
Oh, right. I was telling you about my reasons. Well, I researched it and kintsugi ties back to the philosophy of mushin, ‘no-mind’. In spite of the changes and the damages that life does to you, you’re meant to stay beyond it and rise above it so that it can’t touch you. Shrinky over there with the clipboard is meant to be filling gold into my cracks so that I can do this, I guess.
But that’s not a reason. If the whole point of therapy is to achieve a state of ‘no-mind’, then why the fuck did they take away my right to a lobotomy? We’re supposed to enjoy the aesthetic of existence, mushin teaches. But what does that look like? I’m guessing it’s ‘The Scream’.
Sometimes, when sleep is out of the picture, I paint. Not expressionism- I’ll save humanity that pukefest. I paint apples. And eyes. And anything real that I can get my hands on- reality is the one thing that no one can seem to capture, isn’t it? Great art comes close. Terrible art comes closer, sometimes. At least, that’s my hope tonight, as I settle down to paint a picture of my ceiling. If I can decide what base colour it is, really.
My reasons for telling you what I’m about to tell you aren’t something that I can tell you. If I could tell you then I’d tell you but then I’d have told you. Kinda complicated, huh?