A Little Stroll

Just a little quick one – just for me, while it’s in my head, before I talk myself out of it and it hurries away. Back home in Leeds for the weekend – seeing both sides of the family. Staying at mum’s, where I spent most of 2023. Working again, teaching, in the bedroom where I spent most of 2023.

Just been for a walk around the estate – ate a tuna salad with way too much mayo for lunch and I feel fat and guilty. And walking round the estate, the sun comes out and the sky is blue and there’s only the slightest breeze. Often listen to music but this time I don’t, I listen to birds and the swish of the road up the hill.

I kick rocks when I reach the house on the corner with all the rocks outside it, and I think about how many rocks I must have kicked outside that house last spring, last summer, last autumn, all alone and uncertain and lost. And then I do listen to music, first one, then another, and one comes on that I really like, Old Style Raiders by Jamie T, and I think about how last year I thought I was doomed to be sad forever and nothing would ever change. I wish I could go back and put my arm around that guy. Tell him he’d be alright in his loneliest and quietest moments. Promise him that things would get better, that I would find my way out of it, back to something resembling a normal life – a good life, with normal ups and downs. When you’re in it, you can’t see a way out – can’t imagine anything other than the pits.

Then I think about how much has changed. How I live in London with my friends. How I’m busy all the time. How I’ve made new friends and reconnected with old ones. How I’ve started my own business, and grown it to the point that I can somehow afford to live in one of the world’s most expensive cities. How I’ve kept writing. How I’ve got back in the gym. How I’ve quit smoking. How I’ve cut alcohol down to like 10% of what it used to be. How I’m saving money again. How I’m not hurting anyone. How I have a job that helps people. How I’ve finished editing my third book. How I’ve started a fourth. How I’m stable.

I wish I could go back and tell that guy kicking rocks last year that everything would be okay.

I don’t say it often – feels lame I suppose – but ah, just the once: I’m so fucking proud of myself.

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