[lyg10] the trick is to keep breathing;
September this year marks ten years since I made my first, tentative and over-sharey, foray into blogging. I hope you’ll forgive a little self-indulgence on my part, but I’d like to do something to celebrate a pretty significant milestone. I’ve hit upon the idea of publishing some selected takes from my archives – there’s a little bit of poetic license required here, as some of the proper cringeworthy teenage stuff is (thankfully) lost in the mists and pixels of cyberspace, but what I’ll publish every Friday from here until the end of the year is culled from the LiveJournal years, 2003-2006.
24th February 2004
No matter how well-adjusted I eventually become I’m pretty certain there’s a part of me that will always be seeking time alone like this; with my pretty lights and candles, a mug of hot chocolate, and Norah Jones’ rich and sensual voice. I’m wrapped up in my pink fluffy dressing gown and have that fresh, just-out-the-shower feeling. My skin smells faintly of something citrus.
I always thought it was the worst thing in the world to be selfish and I spent years making all sorts of sacrifices – everything from the nicest colour of toothbrush to journalism work experience in high school. I don’t think I’m particularly selfish, but the things and dates that are important to my friends and family that I’ve forgotten have been getting more and more frequent. I’ll do anything for anyone – you just have to remind me I promised I would. It’s not that I don’t care… I’m just not getting enough sleep.
As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve learned that a little bit of selfishness is no bad thing – indeed, it’s pretty vital. While there’s never any excuse for meanness or betraying somebody – not for money, or career, and certainly not for the nicest colour of toothbrush – you do have to learn to stand up for yourself. You shouldn’t hold yourself back from things you’re just as entitled to as anybody else just because you’re trying to be a nice person. Eventually you’ll realise nobody ever does the same for you, but being such a nice person you’ll internalise it and internalise it until the day you finally crack and start shooting postal workers.
And so I’ve stopped feeling guilty for my periods of seclusion, despite my flatmates not even realising I’d got back (admittedly it was later than I’d planned on Sunday – it’s far too easy to find reasons to want to stay in Glasgow a little bit longer). I’ve come to realise that this is how I recharge my metaphysical batteries, or whatever, and the only way I can save the patience and energy to be a genuinely nice person almost all of the time.
I sold out a friend of mine once, for a story that didn’t even work out – at least, that’s what I’m convinced happened; it may just have been coincidence that it was the last time we spoke but it has to be more than that. I pin the mistake on my twin vices of vodka and obscenely beautiful boys, but it’s not something I’ll ever forgive myself for. It makes me a little wary of interviewing Kaite; and of scrawling illegible notes in my shorthand notebook, freezing cold and perched on a barrel that forms part of a sculpture by my work while Tyrone chain-smokes his way through half a packet of Royals.
I suffer from a chronic lack of ideas and I’m terrible on the phone, two weaknesses that are threatening my career as a journalist before it’s even begun. And what makes it all the more frustrating is that I am a good writer. Honestly. It’s not bravado that has me making these claims, or snorting in derision at poorly-constructed paragraphs in newspapers and magazine articles. In features class yesterday I was starting to turn the leader article in the Herald into a colour piece, and my tutor’s jaw literally dropped at my opening paragraph.
It wasn’t always that way either; I remember back in the good old days (heh) when I was a daily writer at Diaryland – not only did I manage a full entry every day but I often had five or six ideas on the go at once. I would creep out of bed in the middle of the night to scrawl two or three words on a block of paper on my desk, not even bothering to turn the lights on but just so I could work with the idea in the morning. Now I sometimes save a pretty sentence as a notepad file on my laptop but it’s a rare occurrence and they are just that; pretty sentences I like the sound of, but can hardly relate to enough to turn into pieces of me.