Dear Diary: I have to hang up my keyboard …​

Apologies, I am a fan of the UFC, 4 years ago Welterweight great Giles St Pierre said, “I have to hang up my gloves for a little while ….” on Saturday he returned, won the middleweight title, the weight class heavier than one where he had been the unbeatable champion. He put his legacy on the line and rolled the dice one more time and won.

I may not have won 12 Welterweight UFC title fights, with 9 successive defences, nor have I secured myself a spot in any Hall of Fame, but, in 2017, I am very much my own champion, literally, I have a British Title to my name, and in overcoming the struggles of my medical condition, and being honest and open about my depression and battle with suicidal thoughts – not here I am sorry, but in my real life, where, it was important that while people saw me lift a trophy and some almost Rocky-like comeback they realised there was a very dark side and I was paying a very high price for that success.

I hope the battle was evident here, there have been many days where breathing only happened because it was a reflex, because had it relied on will, I would have stopped. The strain became too much; I withdrew from the Worlds, turning out to be a dodged bullet, and I withdrew into a dark place. The reality of life and future lack of change became far to much to handle, and even now, is not something I entirely want to contemplate. With more potentially bad medical news on the way and even a possible recurrence of cellulitis, I am, in truthfulness, out of fight.

I am therefore a little jealous of Giles, I wish that because of what is happening in my life I too could hang up my gloves or a little while. However, I am hanging up my gloves, competitively I have no plans to compete in 18, and in fact, my return to competition is entirely dependent on my training performance reaching a standard I have set, if I do not reach that standard, I do not return.

Professionally, I am retired from work for the foreseeable future, my medical condition is not under control to the extent that any employer could be expected to handle the amount of time off I would take, nor is it actually fair to expect work colleagues or an employer to deal with what happens during a severe hemiplegic migraine attack, and self-employment is beyond my work capacity at this time. That pressure is off, and I have had to accept that this is just the situation, I may have been working 2 jobs at 13, but that is perhaps why I am working no jobs at 45, who knows. I have to deal with it, and be thankful I am in a position where this is possible however tight and uncomfortable it makes the financial reality.

And I am not without a future, I had moved on, and while one project has to be dropped, I had other things that while I will have to do slowly I can do, and my wife’s career is going well with her working somewhere that values her and wants to invest in her development, so I can support her and do what I can to facilitate her success, this man is most definitely not an island.

So in the style of Giles St Pierre ” I have some thing in my life going on, and I have to hang up my keyboard for a while” …. dont use the R word ….

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Dear Diary: Monday Recognition

I am up, out of bed, my wife gets me up and makes me breakfast bless her.

I guess forgetting to eat for three days may have given the game away?

I am here, doing that thing I do, except. previously in my life, I had stuff I just had to or my life would have collapsed. You know, no house, nothing collapsed. Now the problem is, if I do nothing, nothing collapses.

Nothing would change if I did nothing, the bills paid, my wife would get the shopping and pick up every bit of slack, and wouldn’t hate me for it. In fact, the more I deteriorated, she would worry and look to get me help, and do more to help me get better, being left to rot, would be the very last thing that would happen.

So how do I cope, I have nothing to do, no job left, everyone survives well without me, but I know I am not causing anything to miss a beat either.

The world really wouldn’t change, it wouldn’t miss me because it already doesn’t.

Dear Diary: Dreams are like Stars

They are dead when you look at them too.

It’s true, the light from a star takes so long to reach us that when we see it the star has probably died.

When our dreams die, they die inside of us before people see that they have.

They only mattered to us, and their death only matters to us because we let it matter.

Ultimately it was all meaningless and worthless from the start.

Dear Diary: Administrative Error

They happen.

You don’t get sent what you should. Nothing personal.

In that moment, that space between what should be and what is not, in the gap comes the realisation that what is coming, what you are waiting for, that thing those other people have, that you crave to be just like them, to wear, just like them, that you earned, and worked for that is justifiably yours and is your reward, that has been denied you by a simple mistake and is now one more hurdle away.

The fact that it can be denied in a moment by a simple administrative error shows that your loyalty has been wasted, that those that grant you what you thought was great reward and honour, hold you in no esteem at all.

You are not valued, they do not think of you at all, they forgot you. Your work, sacrifice, dedication, consistency, all that it took to get you to the point where you could be great for them, they forgot, and instead you had to go back and say, excuse me you forgot that I earned that too. They forgot about you even before you were done.

The truth of your value, if you let it, starkly strikes you.  What did you earn, what was its value, if you continue, what will the value of that really be, if only you care and you don’t then why take another step at all?

The game is done, over, played. The delusion ended, you are worthless, empty, discarded, yesterday’s news and never was.

Dear Diary: Social Media and Me

Ever ask yourself “what was I thinking?”

A while ago I made a promise to myself that I would disengage significantly with Facebook and use it as more a group update and keep in touch tool, with opportunity for contribution.

That hasn’t always worked out quite the way I planned but more and more I was starting to get the formula into a good balance.

Well, so I thought. You do that, you think things are going in the right direction. I do that, I think things are going in the right direction, or even, more disastrously, I think they are going well.

I am re-evaluating my contribution, after a couple of weeks where I have had the realisation that my contribution is not appreciated, or to quote “adds nothing of value” and that my “essays” are not as appreciated as I had thought.

It is easy to believe you are encouraging, maybe informing, sharing knowledge, even, dread the thought, lifting someone up.

I guess I should have known, delusions are only ever allowed to last so long.

Dear Diary: You Can Never Hide

One of the great things about life is we can hide, work, family, hobbies, athletic endeavour combinations of those afford us wonderful opportunities to hide away from reality.

While we get away and pursue some noble and worthwhile goal to the applause of our peers, we can hide from facing something bigger, and more frightening than the challenge we tackle for the world to see.

But when the goal is achieved, the project is over, we instantly seek the next one to avoid the chasm and void of light where we know we face the truth we have been hiding from all the time, so we stay in the darkness calling light.

How long can we pull the trick of self-delusion, do we pull it at all?

Dear Diary: The Day After Blues

It’s not really the day after, imagine it’s Monday

The weekend was the “weekend”, Sunday was the “day”. A year of work, 5 months of pure heartache and if anyone follows, I would guess you could call it heartache and real pain physical and mental have been my, and my family’s companion through life.

Probably giving way too much away, I have another life and this weekend that life was my life, the biggest day of the year so far for that life.

It’s over, its happened. Monday the sun came up, my son went to work, my wife went to work. There was a beautiful cake and a note on the side that he and his adorable girlfriend had made. There are of course messages on my social media posts saying well done.

But, the rain falls, the traffic flows, the TV didn’t record like it should, life on Monday morning ultimately doesn’t care if I won or lost. My ex doesn’t care, my biological children don’t care nor will my eldest care on our Skype. My news won’t even wrap chips.

Tuesday has become indifferent, the rain it lashes down, the shopping needs doing, and the carpet needs a hoover, the milk is running out too.

 

Dear Diary: Look Down on Me?

Most days a look of contempt or disdain is nothing to me, the opinion of some random non-entity who knows nothing of who I am

Today it bothered me: today I wanted to shake her and ask who are you to think for one minute you are better than me?

No one is better than anyone; we will all die, we will all hurt, we will all feel pain, hurt, we will grieve and feel the burning sear of loss, we will all be scared, we will be both courageous and cowards, we will regret and we will cry.

 

Dear Diary: Proof of Something

If I am proof of anything it’s hard work doesn’t pay off, practice doesn’t make perfect and what goes around doesn’t come around.

In reality, you have to be working hard on the right things in the right way, it has to be perfect practice, life isn’t even remotely fair and the universe simply does not care at all.

Ultimately the world will neither miss me nor mourn my loss, I matter only so far as I decide that I do, beyond that, I don’t matter at all. I lack both relevance and significance. My existence continues in large part through luck and cowardice; mostly cowardice.

I live a life of pretend and make believe. I pretend what I do has significance, it matters, it counts, that somehow my life is worthy of something, that I as a person have value and worth. In my make believe world I am wise and knowledgeable and people look up to me and value what I say, they support me and believe I will succeed, that my endeavours valuable for my part I pretend along that my life has value with them.

I know, I am, sadly, and I wish I was not, completely aware, of the sham and masquerade.

I am playing along like it matters because it’s all I know to do, but I do know exactly what is true.

 

Dear Diary: Manchester is not by the Sea

The seaside, so often the facade of towns long closed down in heart and soul existing was not for me.

This was reflection and calm, the quiet, where people said a cheerful hello while you look out, a gas rig or two between your bench and Norway. A different place, a different sense of time.

A little calm so close to places so familiar and a life so very different to the one I have now.

My obligation fulfilled, respects duly paid, tears respectfully held back, and happy memories built upon the ashes of the past.

My dearest friends a comforting bridge, welcoming arms and helping hands, solace in the storm.

A place does not know, it does not remember, it meant no harm, it held no anger, it will not be bitter, nor will it be sad, it will shed no tears, knowing not the passing of our years. Those we bring, they are ours to leave or take away, memories are our own each day, and the stories ours to tell, like the place lest we too face away.