Crisis

I have discovered the secret to living happy. But last week, I was ready to kill myself. Over the last few weeks, I had something of a very quiet crisis. It’s ended now and I feel able to talk about it.

I lost my magic. Let me explain. When I was younger, there was magic in the world for me. I was about ten, shopping with my dad and I saw this woman with long orange hair, thick black eyeliner and most beautiful black lace top I’d never imagined. That was magic for ten-year-old Foxy and I wanted to know more. Years later, with my own coloured hair and lace, I visited London and found a million shops and pubs and people and clothes and art and sounds and noises I’d never seen or heard before. That was magic for sixteen-year-old Foxy and I wanted to be part of it. Forward in time again, with my coloured hair and thick black eyeliner; what was once so enigmatic and mysterious, now dutiful and part of normality.

Normality, perhaps, but it branched off into lots of different directions I could explore. Each one has, at one point, been significant parts of my life – each one, flavoured with its own meaning, it’s individual power, influence – both positive and negative, possessed by a seductive or emotive quality which, at the time I held important to me. Sex, women, men, music, sculpture, drugs, gender, self-harm, pornography, alcohol, violence, film, demos, religion. There must be more, but what’s important is that all of these things I have explored and some of them I feel I have even *completely* explored to the point of exhaustion, at which I stopped anything to do with it because there was simply nothing else to discover there. No more magic.

I became interested in politics. Actually, I believe that if you have any interest in the human world around you, from what’s happening in the Middle East, to what day your bins are emptied, you are interested in politics. I don’t understand the economy or the language used to describe different political ideas and sometimes I find it pretty confusing all round. But what led to my crisis recently was through the current political issues – I was aware of this feeling of utter lack of control at the world immediately around me. I became conscious of how I was no less of a slave to a machine than the banker next to me, or the old woman in the wheelchair being pushed past me on the street.

I was suddenly overwhelmed by the total absence of meaning that my life had.

I live in a world where, right from the moment you’re able to walk, you are controlled by someone or you are at the mercy of another person’s power. When you’re in school, you not only have to contend with teachers, but you must be subjected to those peers who are stronger or older or more popular. If you go to university, you’re in thousands of pounds’ worth of debt. When you get a job, you have a manager to who you are automatically subservient. You are shell-shocked by adverts, on the sides of buses, in magazines, on your phone, in shop windows, in music videos you watch on youtube of the most anti-establishment bands to have existed. You’re sedated by gossip columns and fashion advice, hooked on the garish pornography of scandals and whatever’s the trendiest witch-hunt of the week. If you get paid monthly, you immediately look at the calendar and divide the month up into weekends, then work out how much money you can spend buying all those things you’ve been told you’re nothing without, to keep up with the latest fashion in order to not feel ugly, to get the new iPhone, to own all those things that have been put in place as distractions to keep you from learning that you’re actually a valuable and beautiful human being, just the fucking same as the next person. And ultimately, you work out how much you have left on a saturday night to blow on your release of choice, or a reward for being a good citizen, for keeping your job, for getting married, for having babies, for being subservient, for forgetting that you have a brain in your head and eyes connected to it, which have taken millions of years to evolve, only to end up pointed at shit like The X Factor.

When I consider all this, I wonder about that lady with the orange hair and black lace top from when I was ten. That magic I felt seems so distant and faint that it may as well have not happened at all.

I once used to point and shout at people who didn’t vote. “If you don’t exercise your democratic right, you have no business complaining later on!” But now, I would not judge you so quickly for not voting. In fact, I will not vote next election – and if I do, I will not value my vote very much. Any more than I will value the choice I have of one hair product over another, or the upgrade option from Orange offering me a free ‘shiny new phone’.

My hair dye will still be black – ‘multi-faceted’ or ‘extra-intense’ hold no meaning for me – it’s all the same, just a different price and a different name. I will still use my phone to speak to my friends and listen to music and check Facebook. Whether it’s a Samsung or a Blackberry or an iPhone, it will still break down, get lost and have signal issues and eat up battery and cost me money.

It’s all the same. And when I started really looking, I mean REALLY looking and thinking, I thought I realised the truth: that there is only the illusion of choice, that you actually have no choice. I ACTUALLY HAVE NOICE CHOICE. Unless you go and live in a cave somewhere, you need to buy food, you need money, you need a job, you need to be controlled in some way. That is the vulgarity of modern-day Western living. When I looked hard enough at it, I started to feel like I was losing my grip on everything – what kind of a world is this and do I want to be a part of it? If you look closely, you start to go mad at the discovery of this illusion. The revelation can drive some people to do drastic things.

Only there’s more.

The illusion of choice only works in the world around you – and I think that’s where most people stop. I think they see the sign in front of them which says “STOP: CERTAIN DEATH” and either turn and jump into passing traffic, or, worse perhaps, hover in the zone where they can see the sign, but haven’t quite hit it yet, so let’s settle here forever where it’s comfortable and there’s no danger. But actually, if you keep on going – and this is what saved me last week- you’ll realised that it’s actually just something someone put there once to scare people. And because people fear the unknown, because humans beings have been conditioned, through evolution or some other means, to be shit-scared of being shit-scared. It’s one self-sucking cycle and it pisses everyone off. The only thing is, I think, that people often just get pissed off and then have a beer, or watch TV, or have a wank and then go to bed and forget about it until the next day when you’re pissed off again.

I’m always hesitant about posting conclusions. Mainly because, there never are any and I have to often make them up or at least make what I’m saying SOUND like it has some sort of point. But this time, there is a very definite conclusion for me. Like I said, last week, I was feeling very sedate and uncommunicative, nauseous about the world and its passage around. And now today, I feel renewed – the magic is back, but it’s coming from different places, people and activities. There is a very definite conclusion to this period of sadness – and it’s a happy one. There are now suddenly some very concrete answers to some of the most difficult questions I have been asking for most of my life.

And I’m not going to go through what I’ve done to set about making my life better – like I wouldn’t tell you how to style your hair so you feel more confident, or how to fuck to achieve a better orgasm, or what to eat or drink in order to maintain a healthy body. What’s working for me right now, will not work for you. You might not be able to do it or even want to.

But okay, example time: a few weeks ago, I removed someone from my life because they made me feel bad about myself and I couldn’t trust them any more; I don’t have the energy for people like that and I don’t have the time to sit and work things out when the possible positive future with someone is outweighed by the definite negative present.

That might seem harsh. It is. I’m a harsh person sometimes. And not everyone can be like that, so I would never share any of my personal story over the last fortnight (unless you’re interested, in which case – pint?) and proclaim that this the only way to live. I would, however, go so far as to end on this next bit, which certainly would move me in one way or another.

So.

Imagine you’re you. Not a hard thing to do. You are you, as you are now, right here, right now, reading this. Where I am, it’s about eight o’clock in the evening and I’ve been at my day job all day – in a moment I’m going to go and draw some designs for a piece of commissioned work and have a cup of tea. What about yourself? What have you been up to today? Perhaps you’ve been to work or college. Maybe you’re at one of the many anti-capitalist occupations around the world. You might have done any number of things, spoken to a hundred people today in various different ways. Think about everything you did from the moment you got up to the second where you clicked this link and started reading.

Now sirens are going off somewhere. What the fuck? You click on a news website and your heart stops for a second. Breaking news: Some far-flung country has launched nuclear missiles at another; a bigger country has retaliated – another has taken sides and launched theirs, and another, and another. In no more than thirty minutes, everything you ever touched will cease to exist. Every human being on Earth, your entire society and race is about to end and you will never be able to do anything, say anything, create anything ever again.

Now think about your last day on Earth again. Are you proud of that day? Is the last 24 hours something you could sit back and think about just before the end and say “You know what, I made the most of everything. I did my best today and I lived up to MY potential and played by MY rules. I didn’t hurt anybody and I did everything I was able to do.”

If you are unable to say that at the end of every day, it is my sincere and heartfelt belief that you should change that. I’m not saying that you need to try and change the world, or live in some flowery, naive state of self-deluded perfection. We’re not gods; we’re not perfect; we’re certainly not going to hit 100% every single day of our lives.

But I’m saying that one day will be your last. You won’t have another chance.

One day will be MY last. I won’t have another chance.

For the first time in my life, ever ever ever ever, I completely understand that now. And this is how I’m going to live until that day.

I just thought I’d share. I hope you take something from this.

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