Wednesday 28th July 2004

15 years to the day.

Comment from Sunday 28th July 2019 in bold.

2.40 a.m

‘If I don’t do myself in, I’m going to be knifed by a gang of homophobes from my past, I know it.’

I know you were very anxious after the bullying at school. It is so fresh for you on these pages, I have forgotten so much of what happened. Suppressed it perhaps. I don’t think we knew the danger we were in at the time and luckily evaded the worst of the physical danger. That isn’t to minimise the toll it took on your mental health.

10.05 p.m

‘Still no letter, it’s been 10 days’

I remember you waiting, so patiently, for a reply to a letter that never came. You were so lonely, so isolated. Your hope and optimism so scant, that you placed such store in your only friend sending you a letter. Which she never did. I think you waited at least a month, holding on every day for that letter.

I’m tearful remembering you waiting.

‘Saw a gorgeous black boy…’

You had the inclination, and the admiration for the beauty of other young men, but you had no confidence or self-esteem to act on any of your feelings. You certainly weren’t mature or ready for a relationship, but I wished you could’ve had some fun.

‘Oh, our aged cat Rugby – how I’ve ignored and teased you, poked you, thrown things at you – all this time, sorry xx I won’t do it anymore, you’re fucked up, scraggy ‘MANKY’ etc.’

You never really hurt the cat, you were perhaps, in an immature, frustrated and absent-minded way not really aware of others, being quite unwell. The amount of scratches that cat gave you, I am sure you came off worse. You were lacklustre in your appreciation for animals at the time, certainly not cruel, and here, as often, you condemn yourself, atone and repent, you cared for that animal, in your strange way.

‘Vomit, Hell, Sex, Heaven, what it’s like to be straight? A woman? An amoeba? Madonna? Blah blah blah. The Subject of why do you write subjects on bits of paper and put them in a bowler hat. I still want to rip pages out of books, pin them to a dart board, and I hit them with darts, then piece the words together.

In a sick company married Sarah Matthews living (work) ballet dancer.

Rules of cheap collection, Chris.

17 Queensbury, Drifter.’

Ever the experimenter. Even with your severe lack of confidence, you were able to be creative and try creative things.

‘Do you think anyone will find me attractive?’

Yes, lots have done, do and will do.

I want to be a success, and have recognition, be better than all the bastards at that school. How can you build a foundation that is eroding?

You felt you needed something external to show you had worth. That the worth was wrapped-up in how others perceive you. It’s taken decades but you can now see that success means ‘liking yourself’, being content, helping others and living a purposeful life.

Sunday 28th July 2019

I wake from a lie-in, in my flat in Edinburgh, it’s pouring with rain outside. My husband makes me coffee, and my dear friend and work colleague comes over to look at flights to New York. We arrange and plan a trip to the big apple for New Years. I pay for the flights on the credit card. After she goes, my husband and I go for a walk up to the top of Leith Walk and stop in at a pub for a roast dinner. I didn’t particularly fancy mine much. I felt a twang of melancholy, so strange, as it hasn’t touched me all week. To cheer me up he took me to this new fancy coffee shop and had cake and a flat white. It was rather nice.

Back home I am struck with the curious notion to revisit my old diaries. Dusty tomes I’ve coveted for years but never dare read a word of. I go through them after I’ve arranged my clothes for the week. I’m struck at the severity of my teenage angst and mental ill health, the immaturity, the anger and willingness to hurt myself. Despite it being tough, I looked up this very date 15 years ago, decided to transcribe some of it, and contrast it to my life now.

It was like an emotional thunder-bolt. I’ve never shared my diaries with anybody. It feels like an act of self-absorption to share them now. But, I want others to share their old diaries, to come at them again, refreshed, to talk to their former self. It may be the words from your past may heal your present, or offer a fresh perspective?

If you’d like to share your diaries from way back when, and offer some words to them from here and now, please e-mail thenandnowdiaries@gmail.com.

Published by Simon Jay

Husband, sometimes Writer, Performer. Enjoys Meditating/Mindfulness Practices, Wild Swimming, Cycling, Sitcoms and taking Instamax Photos.

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