Like most people, I don’t remember much from the early years of my existence.
There are some things that I do. Like, I remember being about 3, wearing overalls, and standing next to my Mum as she hung out clothes on the washing line. I remember arguing with a boy in pre-school, because Rick was my best friend, not his (I don’t remember who Rick is, but I’m sure my argument was entirely valid). And I remember , when I was in grade 2, the Principal was yelling at me in his office for running away from school, yet again.
I have a few scattered memories, but that’s about it. But, the one main thing I remember about growing up is that I was always sad, and I didn’t know why.
This is something that has stuck with me throughout my entire life. I’ve always felt empty, I’ve always felt isolated, and I really don’t know why.
What didn’t help this was growing up as a closeted gay kid in a small town, which was inhabited by even smaller minded people.
And, this feeling of emptiness reached it’s peak when I was sixteen, when I attempted to kill myself.
I don’t remember much from the night when it happened. I just remember being sad, and confused, and angry, and I didn’t want to be anymore.
It’s not something I talk about very often, and it’s not something that I have told many people about, but it’s something that afterwards made me feel even more isolated from the people around me. I became even more closed off. I retreated back into my dark place.
A few years ago, I escaped the suffocation of small town life, and moved to Brisbane. A city far bigger than the town I grew up in, both in size and cultural diversity. Eventually I have learnt to somewhat deal with my emotions, and have become a more positive and open person (or so I think so).
But, being a minority in a society that mainly caters to those who aren’t, hasn’t made it any less difficult to keep myself from closing off from the world again. And, living in a place like Brisbane, amongst all of the crowds and all of the intensity, can actually be quite lonely.
Sometimes you have to shout just to be heard, and I don’t always have the energy to do so.
Sometimes, I find myself feeling so overwhelmed and emotionally exhausted that I question whether any of it matters, if existing just for the sake of it is even worth it. And, it’s so easy to indulge in these thoughts. To hide away from everything else. To crawl back into the dark.
That’s why I always have to remind myself, and this goes for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation, even though it seems like you’re in a world alone, there are other people out there. People that love you. People that are facing their own demons, even if they don’t show it.
And that, even though it can be scary wearing your heart on your sleeve, you need to open yourself up to people, instead of pushing them away. You need to embrace new experiences, and remember that the unknown and unexpected can be good. And, remember that there are going to be bad times, as well as good, and that’s okay. That’s just a part of life.
And, when you do find yourself in a dark patch, remember that you have been through so much worse, and you’re still here. You still exist.
There’s a quote from one of my favourite TV shows, ‘Buffy, the Vampire Slayer‘ (I’ll ignore your eye rolls), that has stuck with me since I first heard it.
“The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.”
As cheesy as it sounds, it’s so very true.
Even though it might be hard, you need to keep fighting. And, even though at times it might not seem like it, you matter. You’re existence matters.
Be brave. Live.
Originally posted on COLLECTIVE BLISS in 2014.
Photography by Darcy Rhodes.