A year ago, I needed a new hoodie. It took me a few months of searching on the internet before I found the right one. If you don’t want to go through the link for whatever reason, it is a black zip-up hoodie with a blue ghost on the left front, and the words “It is difficult to be alive” on the back, with the same blue ghost underneath. It is merch from the webcomic Pictures for Sad Children, and oh boy did I identify with it. I still do. It is one of my favourite articles of clothing and I love it.
I’ve realised that people get super-uncomfortable when I wear it.
I cannot tell you how many strangers and acquaintances have asked to see my hoodie and followed up that request with “That’s wrong. It’s not difficult to be alive.”
It might be wrong for them, but there are countless people, myself included, who do find it very difficult to be alive. We are told day after day after day that we’re wrong, that we shouldn’t be struggling. When we openly express this, people don’t try to help us find being alive less difficult, they tell us that this is easy. Again and again, we receive the message that there’s something wrong with us and that if we say anything, everyone will know.
My secret wish is that someone will see me in my hoodie and feel validated. I want to send the message “This feeling is so common that someone even made a hoodie saying it and someone else bought it.”
My second secret wish is that the world didn’t require me to have that other secret wish.
I don’t know if any of you have heard of this site called Patreon, but I’ve just set up an account there. Pretty much, how it works is, if you like what I do on this blog and with my music, you agree to pay me an amount of money (your choice), per blog post and occasionally posted video. (I’m not super good at making videos, but it might happen.) You can set up a maximum amount to pay each month, so that you don’t accidentally go over budget if I have a productive month. Anyways, if you want to support me, it would be a huge help and I’d be eternally grateful.
Everyone who knows me, we need to talk. I just can’t live up to your expectations anymore. You want me to be happy so much that when I say, “no, I’m not” you say “oh, but you must be a little bit.” Can I take you a moment to remind you of why I’m in this country? It’s because I got a letter saying I had sixty days to leave. Sixty. Fucking. Days.
Can you try and picture yourself in my situation please? Sixty days to get your entire life in order, so that you can leave it. So that you can move to a country you don’t really know anymore, into a sewing room in your parents’ house. And don’t get me wrong, sewing rooms are great, but have you ever known a sewing room that had quite enough space for just sewing, let alone sewing and a person? And you’re looking for a job, any job that will have you, because you got that letter that meant you had to tell your awesome employers at your awesome job that you had to quit. And while this is going on, all your people who you spent time with regularly are 3000 miles away and you have to go to parties where people will ask you “Aren’t you happy to be back?” until you cry.
I cry several times a day now. I’m so full of sadness and rage and I have to hide it because you want me to be happy. When I answer “not really” to your questions, you tell me I’m wrong about my lived experience. You tell me that you don’t want to hear it. I have to worry that this sadness and rage will show through in job interviews, when meeting new people, even when talking to my friends. Because who wants to hang out with an angry, sad person? Those people suck, amirite?
I get nervous just initiating conversation with my friends, with my partner, because I only have so many conversations where I can be angry and sad before I’m just not fun anymore.
Also, the accents. Both the ones you put on and the insistence that I must have one now. Calling me British. Do you know why I got kicked out of my life? BECAUSE I’M NOT BRITISH.
As you can see, this isn’t really working out. I’m going to have to request that you either refrain from the above or leave me alone until you stop finding it so fucking fascinating that I moved back in with my parents.