I’ve always been a glass half full kind of person. Of course I carry baggage around with me—things like, the death, depression, and suicide that were part of my family environment, or drugs and alcohol, relationships with parents, or just (as a British person) the pervasiveness of class paranoia that I have as a poor kid who has become relatively successful. But I always thought that my work ethic was partly to get away from that baggage, that it was ultimately secondary to the drive and independence that kept me going.
I never really thought about my feelings very much or tried to understand where my motivations come from. I imagine lots of men are the same; you’re not taught to interrogate what’s going on under the surface. You just get on with it. If you work hard, you’ll be fine, right?
Then, a couple of years ago, my brain was doing things I didn’t understand and I was behaving in ways I couldn’t control. I had some tough moments with friends, with work, with my family. I retreated from the world a little bit, got angry a lot, did things that confused me or that I couldn’t justify.
I realized that after years of ignoring the stress and anxiety in my life, I was burning out and losing perspective. Working hard wasn’t enough of an answer.
As I started to understand how I got to here (and I am still a long way from understanding) I started thinking about the world around me in a different way. Now I look at the people around me — my friends, my family — and I realize that the struggles are not only real, and they’re not only everywhere, they are fundamental to who we are. There’s nothing to be afraid of, or ashamed of.
You don’t have to walk around being angry at yourself, or angry at everyone else.
You don’t have to drown your sorrows, or fall apart, or lose out on life if… well, if you’re just fucking honest about all this stuff.
You can own these things when you know that everyone else has those things too. Wouldn’t it be good if there was a place to do that?