17th June 2019 - The Last Two Years

The night before The Last Jedi came out, I passed out and slept in a bath in a hotel room somewhere in Australia. I’m not going to go into detail about how exactly I spent that evening because it’s not a pleasant story, but I will say that I was surprised when I woke up the next morning and realised I hadn’t choked on my own vomit. With hindsight, that night was the start of the huge breakdown that I suffered with for most of last year. In the six months leading up to that point, I had been in a situation that I had always wanted to avoid, and I had finally cracked under the pressure of all the drama and the games and the bullshit that I’d been subjected to during that time. I’m not going to go into too much detail about that either because the way the whole experience made me feel was even more unpleasant than the hotel bath incident. I told the person who had been putting that pressure on me that it was their fault that I got into that state and at the time I felt bad for saying that. But now I can see that it was about the only time I actually tried to stand up for myself during that whole period of my life. I was just being honest.

This time next week, I will be back in that exact same hotel. I’m going to Australia again, except this time I’ll actually be living there for at least the next couple of years, and because I’ll be landing at night I won’t be able to get the keys to my apartment until the next day so I needed somewhere to stay for that first night. There are hundreds of hotels I could have picked from, and I have plenty of family over there who I have stayed with before who I could have asked to help me out, but I specifically chose the hotel where I spent one of the worst nights of my life to prove to myself that my move to the other side of the world is not about running away from my problems, and the past. Because it’s easy to feel like that’s what I’m doing, when I’m leaving a lot of people and places that I really care about specifically because of all the traumatic shit that I’ve been through. But that’s not why I’m going.

A few days after I had left the hotel the first time around, when all that drama reached its climax and caused my life to completely disintegrate around me, when I tried to understand what had happened and why I had been treated the way that I had, the excuses that I was given came down to me not caring about anyone else or respecting the way that other people wanted to do things. As I said, I don’t want to relive the whole thing again, but for context, this was after I’d spent the last few months doing every single one of the things that I have always most desperately never wanted to do, after I’d abandoned all of my plans for the future and after I’d even made promises and commitments that might not have even been relevant for another ten years or more but that I was serious about, that went against everything I’ve ever believed in, all for the sake of wanting someone else to be happy. I don’t think I could have compromised more or stepped further out of my comfort zone. So I spent a lot of time thinking about those statements about how I only cared about doing things my way. I was already stressed and panicking about the damage that had been caused to my life by all of these things that I’d wanted to make sure never happened, but I think what really fucked me up was trying to believe that stuff was true when I knew that it wasn’t, just because I didn’t want to admit that it had been a mistake to trust someone or that the situation was really as bad as it seemed. I spent a long time trying to blame myself for what happened and justify things that I knew I would never have been able to forgive myself for doing if it had been the other way around.

It took me most of last year to get over that mindset but over time I found distractions, I opened up to people about how I really felt and I stopped trying to write everything off as a misunderstanding. I came to terms with my denial and with what really happened and I started to feel better. As my attitude towards the situation changed, I stopped asking myself “why would anyone believe that I only cared about doing the things I wanted to do when I’ve just done everything I never wanted to do, because it was what they wanted?” and started asking “what would have happened if all that stuff was actually true and I had just done things my way and not bothered compromising so much?”. The clear answer to that was that none of it would have happened in the first place because I would have given a straight “nope” on day 1 (exactly two years ago today - this is how long it’s taken me to get my life to start moving again) and the whole nightmare would have been prevented. I started to wish that I had done that, and from there I reached the stage when I was wondering “What would happen if I just do that right now? What if I do the things I want to do and go to the places I want to go, for my own benefit, and not worry or care about what anyone else thinks about it? What if I actually do just live my life the way I want to for once and be exactly the person I was accused of being?”. And that’s why I’m moving to Australia. Not because I’m running away from my old life, not because I can’t face being around the reminders of everything that happened, not because I want to move on and forget about it all. It’s just what I want to do. I’ve always wanted to live in Australia at some point in my life. So I found a way to do it, and I’m making it happen. I’m doing what I want to do and trying to give myself the best possible chance at a decent future by making the most of the opportunities that I have. I’m even going to have my own private balcony just because I can. And I’m not going to let anyone tell me that I should be doing something different instead.

Fortunately though, everyone has actually been incredibly supportive of my decisions and is excited for me. My closest friends have all made sure to come and see me before I leave and on the other side my family is arranging to get everyone together once I’m there. People are already trying to work out how and when they might be able to visit me. I feel incredibly lucky to have so much love in my life and so many people who have never given up on me even when I’ve given up on myself. That’s why I haven’t completely abandoned the idea of trying to make other people happy - I am focusing on myself for now because if I don’t do that and stop stagnating I’ll never be any use to anyone anyway, but as hard as it’s been for me to deal with everything I’ve been through, something that’s become very clear to me over the last two years is that there are an awful lot of incredibly kind, caring and generous people out there, in even the most unexpected places. And it’s been inspirational. So I’m not going to just isolate myself, I’m not going to shy away from meeting and, more importantly, trusting new people just because of one horrific experience. I’ll just be paying less attention to anyone who begs me not to doubt them and more to everyone who never gives me a reason to doubt them in the first place, because that’s where I went wrong before. And every one of my doubts was absolutely on the money.

The main reason why I haven’t been as open about my personal life recently as I was last year (and the reason why I haven’t posted anything on this website since February despite claiming I would try to update it at least once a month) isn’t because I’m moving on or anything like that, or even because I’ve been too busy getting my plans in order, it’s simply that I’ve been too angry to talk about it. Ever since I got to the point where I felt able to admit to someone what I thought might have really happened, when I stopped trying to make excuses for and be forgiving about how I had been treated, I’ve just felt so livid about the whole situation that I haven’t wanted to say anything because I think that talking about it while my emotions are so raw and intense is the best way to guarantee I’ll say something that I’ll end up regretting. Most of my anger is directed towards myself for being too stupid to walk away before things got really bad, just like people said I should at the time when I talked to them about it. There were a lot of pretty serious red flags that I ignored because I just wanted things to work out. I did have what I still think are very good reasons for putting up with it all but as I said, all of my doubts turned out to be spot on in the end, so as much as I still believe in second chances, I might quit before I get into double figures next time.

I knew that if I talked about any of this after I’d made the move, it would feel like a backwards step in my recovery, so I wanted to get some of it off my chest one last time before I leave, and try to explain how my Australia plans actually came about. There’s so much more that I would like to say but none of it will change what happened or undo the damage. So I’m done. Next time I write a post on here I’ll probably be doing it from my balcony :)

© Cogmonkey 2019