here is distant

melancholic moment medley

Every time a celebrity dies, a tweet comes from @daftlimmy saying

Had the pleasure of meeting [dead person's name] at a charity do once. [He/She] was surprisingly down to earth, and VERY funny”.

This tweet often gets read out by the mainstream media as a tribute to the dead, much to the amusement of Limmy's cult following. I recommend checking out one or more of his sketches, as this is what he's known best for.

The reason I'm opening with this wee advertisement is not because I have been paid cash, but because Limmy is one of my favourite comedians, and I have just finished reading his autobiography. It talks very openly about suicidal thoughts, sexual problems and feelings of inferiority; important mental health stuff. It was nothing completely new for me, I'm part of the generation that is taking mental health more seriously. Even if mainstream health funding hasn't completely embraced these progressive ideas, my media consumption is certainly full of the stuff.

The secret to good mental health as a young adult I think is a simple concept that takes a second to understand: other adults feel like shit too. Despite its simplicity, I still grapple with its application on a daily basis. It's nice to have little reminders. For me they've come in forms such as reading this autobiography or taking acid. I hate putting quotes on here at risk of sounding preachy but here's one I like because it puts a positive spin on on a bleak existential conundrum:

We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone.

I fear that writing anything away from my direct subjective experience comes across too highfalutin, so let's bring it back to what I feel. As I've said in numerous bs blog posts, I tend to feel kind of empty and uncomfortable in social situations, which is disrupting my life as I can't make friends. I follow general mental health patter and it's quite straight forward really. Do more of the things you love, with the people you love. Eat well, drink responsibility and look after yourself. Don't blame your external situation, look what you can change about yourself and your behaviours.

But to be honest, I don't feel like my thoughts need re-framing. I'm very reflective anyway. At the end of last year I decided to take a significant action to help myself. That action was to leave my girlfriend of three years, as the relationship wasn't making me happy. Five months down the line, I'm feeling lonely for it, but it was the right thing to do. I can't find someone else, and remember fondly what it was like to be together, but I don't regret it. I've got a blog to talk to instead. It keeps my feelings in check.

For all my investment in mental health, my life hasn't improved, so I've started to consider mental illness. I've seen plenty of depression and anxiety in others and feel fairly well informed about them. Meeting someone from tinder, they suspected I was depressed after looking at my Instagram. I don't post dark shit there, I think it was just because my pictures are bit ambiguous and don't tell an obvious story. Another time it was suggested by a read.write.as-er that I may have depression. My blog posts certainly tell a fuller story than my Instagrams, so I started to think about it.

I went back to a facebook conversation I had in 2014 with a girl I was seeing, as it shaped my reasons for not self-diagnosing myself with depression. She told me she felt completely hopeless, and that I could never understand how it felt to think that no matter what she did, she would always go back to feeling like shit for the rest of her life. She was right, I couldn't know. I had my down days but I never felt an existential hopelessness. A friend opened up to me about his diagnosed intrusive thoughts, how he thought his mother would die if he didn't follow his routines. I like to touch the door handle as I pass, but if i don't, my life continues as normal. Another girl I was seeing skyped me as she scolded herself with hot water. However low I felt, I would never consider self harm.

No two experiences of depression are the same, so the philosophy that I'm not as bad as them, so I'm okay, isn't a great one. So I thought about it on a pragmatic level; was low mood disrupting my life? The answer was no. There was never a time when my mood stopped me getting out of bed. I thought broadly about my life, and where my problems originated. It was mainly a feeling of social inadequacy that I've mentioned one or ten times on here. So I googled social anxiety. It's 'the fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people'.

'Yeah maybe', I thought, before thinking how I love being the centre of attention, and have maybe too much confidence. Then I watched on YouTube a girl struggle to go round the supermarket despite the help of a counsellor by her side. I function in life with no problems. Although anti-depressants don't work for everyone, as a thought experiment I imagined what would happen if I took them and they worked. And the answer is that they wouldn't give me friends, or life direction. So today I revisited something I dismissed a while ago. What if I'm bloody autistic?

I have a niece who has been a little terror child at school. After visiting a few specialists, she was diagnosed with some rare form of something relating to autism. My mum said to my aunt something along the lines of 'autism! omg!'. And my aunt replied to say that if you think about it, everyone in our family does show some signs of autism. She was referring her 5 siblings and the 6 nuclear families they now lead. I thought of my mother and how she sticks to religion more religiously than most other people I saw at church. I thought of our frequent family gatherings, and family holidays, about how each one is almost completely interchangeable from the one the following year. I thought of my grandmother unable to stay at any event beyond 5pm, and how my mother is heading in that direction.

I thought of my ex-girlfriend telling me I follow too many rules. I thought how when I try to find new music, I do so until I find one song I like, which I play over and over. So I looked up autism and this is how I match up:

  • Finding it hard to understand what others are thinking or feeling I would say I can understand how someone feels from their facial expressions and words
  • Getting very anxious about social situations I will go about my day avioding social situations where possible, it's the reason I take the stairs to the third floor.
  • Finding it hard to make friends or preferring to be on your own I love being on my own but I need friends and I can't make them
  • Seeming blunt, rude or not interested in others without meaning to Massively true
  • Finding it hard to say how you feel See my first ever blog post where sat in front of a counsellor saying nothing
  • Taking things very literally – for example, you may not understand sarcasm or phrases like "break a leg" I use irony way too much so not sure about this one
  • Having the same routine every day and getting very anxious if it changes This is more true than I like to think.




I had dismissed autism as I'm not super clever, I don't massively obsess about things and I don't monologue excessively. I certainly don't have any extreme version of autism but a lot of these things tie in perfectly. I've read of people getting diagnosed in adulthood of a disorder and I think it will be a big help if this happened to me (I can't remember who, but someone on here shared their ADHD story). So I'm going to talk to a GP and I'm a bit worried in case I don't express myself correctly. I don't want them to dismiss me because it's not super super obvious. This is really affecting my life more than anything else.

When an April day suggests summer is coming, the aroma of expectation is often sweeter than the warmth at the season's height. I took advantage of the promising and beautiful day by staring at a database with Julie from accounts, unironically saying things like that's the 7k we need to isolate. Julie would nod like a prick. So I left.

There's no better place to escape the city than the square in the centre that badly masks the grey with a patch of green. And there she was, the centrepiece to this love story, sitting on the wall like a lonely flower. I sat down at a distance too close to her for a stranger, but too far from her for a friend.

“I was in love with you, you know.” She continued to stare at the ground, as I nervously ran my fingers in between each other, not knowing where they should settle at a time like this. It had been around two years since I had last seen her, so I was nervous. I started uneloquently blurting out sentences like a donkey with stage fright.

“I've seen you. I've seen how sad you are on twitter. I always thought we could have been sad together. Or we could have been happy like you are on Instagram. Have you noticed that I like your pictures sometimes?”

I met her at university, she was on my course.

“You usually sat alone in lectures and I could see we were alike. You too had a disdain towards the gregariousness of others and kept your distance from it. I remember that an hour was too long to focus on discourse, so I'd spend it imagining the front of your head; I could usually only see the back. I knew you were unhappy, and so was I. That's why I fell in love.”

The tourists and pigeons that were everywhere weren't constrained by a lunch break. They ambled around, avoiding each other, aimlessly searching for food.

“I remember you smiling at me. I was acting the fool in front of the class because getting a laugh was more important than presenting some bullshit. You didn't usually smile. It was why I liked you. When I saw you beam for me, I hoped I had made an impression, that you knew my name”

I placed so much meaning in that one smile. It would be freakish if she had thought about that moment even half as much as I had. I desperately needed to know what was going through her head.

“I had no idea how to start talking to you, so I found your twitter instead. It was brutally honest. My instincts were right; you weren't happy, and we shared a music taste to boot. I noticed when the tweets about the boyfriend stopped and, a couple of months later, when the tweets about tinder began.

I couldn't believe it when we matched. It was everything I had dreamed about, but I had to play it cool. I remember opening with something about being on the same course, and how lame it was we needed tinder to start talking. You'll remember it was phrased cleaner than that.”

We talked on tinder for 2 or 3 weeks. It was slow conversation. Sparks didn't fly.

“A few weeks after we stopped talking you retweeted something to the effect of I'm so rude and blunt with boys then I get sad when they stop replying. I don't know how much you thought of me, but I was glad to entertain the sentiment that you took some blame for our sparkless chat. Because I blamed myself. I didn't have the gusto or confidence that is expected of a man in romantic situations. We were chatting online but shared nothing more than a smile in lectures. Cute, yes, but also incredibly embarrassing compared to the lead I should have taken.

And to think years later I'd be regurgitating all this.”

I looked up, to hear what she had to say about all this madness. But she wasn't there. Because she never was. And neither was I. Because I was on the way back to my desk.




Read my love story and weep, you inconsiderate bastards.

It's the reason I get out of bed in the morning and the reason I have a bed to get out from. But what if my salary is too low? I don't mean too low to afford life's essentials like ice cream and 2gb monthly mobile data. I mean it's too low compared to the cash value of my mind, body and C.V..

My boss said I'm underpaid for the work that I do. Not in a jokey sucks-to-be-paid-less-than-me kind of way, but in a this-is-your-six-month-review kind of way. He said I was employed in an admin role, but doing the work of an analyst. How fantastic, I thought, when he went on to say my salary will be increased, so I don't run off with a more attractive and charismatic company.

I saw one of these companies on the sly, and they asked me to rate my communication skills out of 10. I didn't give them an answer on the spot but later emailed them to say I'm at least an 11, erring towards 12.

According to the marketplace, my raise should be a dollop of 30%. Sadly though, it turns out all medium sized companies have a policy whereby any raise this big has to be approved by Santa who, as we all know, is notoriously slippery. But I've been assured that the board of directors are taking regular trips to the North Pole to follow up. They can say with 99% confidence it will be sorted by the end of next month or by the end of 2021, at the absolute latest.

But what if my salary is too low? I don't live extravagantly, nor do I enjoy spending money. I thought I didn't care about money, but maybe it would be nice to have a car. I could get to work 5 minutes slower than I do on my bike, enjoying the relaxing traffic (mood) lights on the way in. Or I could buy some technology or some holidays or a wife. The possibilities are endless. The only guarantee is that I will be 30% happier. Plus, the extra thousands will bring me over the threshold to pay back the interest my student loan has accumulated since cob today.

The worst case scenario is that I put my extra money aside for a rainy day, then end up buying a fucking conservatory in 30 years. I'd rather cover my apartment in gold coated wallpaper, then pay a stripper to strip it all off again. How depressing would it be to slave my life for bullshit, only to die slowly in a state-of-the-art conservatory? How depressing would it be to get all angsty over waiting for a raise, just to fund another layer of glazing?

Eight months into this job and my contract is still like an asexual man in a brothel. There's nothing rising. Yet, I'm being asked if I can project manage this, and put my neck on the line for that. At this point I don't know if should Dress for the job I want, when I'm getting Less for the job I don't even know I want. If only I could get salary to write shit like that. Let's please raise a hashtag to post-work society.

It makes me so mad that I'm being fucked over by my employer. But I'm not-so-secretly enjoying that my growing responsibilities are undermined by the word Trainee in my job title. Through my outraged red face I manage to quip daily that I'm just a trainee, as if to remind the office that I'm being fucked. I'll go up to a random colleague spouting the catchphrase, I'm just a trainee with my tongue firmly in my cheek, to emphasise what a joke it is. The subtext is that I'm worth so much more than that. I yell in their face so they know how much I'm worth. I tell them my value in cash like I'm a vendor selling milk.

What are responsibilities anyway? The ones at the top blame the ones at the bottom and the ones at the bottom blame them straight back. Climb the ladder to get power, delegate the power, then point the finger at any rung away from yours when everything goes wrong. My new job title is going to be Shift the Blame Executive and I'll aspire towards Shift the Blame Manager then I'll retire towards Too old to shift the blame effectively.

It turns out the benefits of being underpaid feed my superiority complex. I have a postgraduate degree and I could walk into any job I wanted right now. Except I couldn't. Except I like complaining that I'm hard done by. I couldn't try to strive for better if I tried. I don't want to challenge myself. I don't want to fail then improve, or ever leave my comfort zone.

All the thirty-and forty-something wankers have hit their ceiling. I'll apologise to them when I use their heads as stepping stones, on my way to becoming a corporate God, or whatever the fuck they never managed to achieve.




Bit of a long one, sorry.

Read my other posts, they're shorter.

If I had a clearer sense of self, I could portray more happiness online. I'm embarrassed to share success on Facebook and scared to attempt wit on Twitter. I'm missing the flare needed for Instagram and the friends to flaunt on Snapchat. Even the individuality needed to follow a subreddit is somehow beyond my grasp.

And so for your consumption I present an idealised self that, although filtered to support creativity and dignity, is merely a medoly of melancholic moments.

I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and no matter how many times I refreshed newsfeed, it said We have nothing to show you right now. I thought this was weird because I have three hundred thousand friends.

I started to worry that I was missing out on updates from BRANDS. I worried I was missing out on targeted and bespoke content.

I tried again this morning and it still said We have nothing to show you right now. I started to shake as I thought of how acquaintances were, and if they were doing good in their lives.




#TalesFromSocialMedia

A cold 'n golden lager, when a busy week is done.

A glug of wine and recline, to serve a loved one.

A day without drinking to make me feel clean.

A homely sharp dose of gin, vodka then rum.

A second day without drinking to make me feel cleaner.

A G, a T, some ice, lime and sun.

Another cold 'n golden lager.

Orgasm.

The radio blares love and hurt to a room where everyone talks only of ancillary revenue.

It's a room that makes me care about the stupidest shit.

Sometimes I open my mouth and a sentence with the word liaise comes out and it won't go back in.

Sometimes I close my mouth and grope a spreadsheet for one or seven hours.

I spend the day around people who care deeply about ancillary revenue.

Everyone is so bloody insecure because everyone is so bloody insincere.

The whole thing is ridiculous and everyone pretends it isn't.




I'm on a train

I'm always living in the moment. I wanted to go swimming to think some things in my life over. But all I could think about was

• my stroke, • my breathing • whether I was going to fast or too slow • the time • the romantic preferences of the girl in the next lane • whether I was swallowing too much water • how I was finding it more rewarding than the alternative of another Friday can.

I used to walk to school and my imagination would bounce with impossible things that could never happen. I used to look forward to things. The present was just something to endure before a main event, some palpable light at the end of the tunnel bound to a point in time. At night, I would lie in bed dissecting the day, thinking over how everything happened, and what was important to me. It's sad to think that the social networks and microcultures that my teenage life revolved around, have no relevance in 2019.

So I don't, like everything else I leave in the past. I lay in bed last night thinking how empty my head was. Then I thought about changing my position. Then I thought about taking a drink of water. Then I thought it would be nice to fall asleep. Then I thought how empty my head was. Nowadays, my dreams are about the only place I can find my hopes, loves and fears.

It would be nice if they made it to hereisdistant.co.uk sometime, as I'm running out of steam with these low-spirited themes that have infected my posts.




I can be emailed

hereisdistant@gmail.com

Alarm clocks don't work for me, so I season a duck and throw it in the oven at 130°C before I go to bed. By the time 7am rolls around, the fucker is burning his quack off, and the smell awakens me from slumber like clockwork. Still half asleep, I rescue the bird, which also prevents the flat burning down in a nasty fire. I wouldn't want that.

I hop in the shower. A few years ago I stopped using shampoo as it damages the tips of delicate hair fibre strands. I use only olive oil now, which makes my hair glow throughout the day, and enriches the scalp roots. I use my time in the shower to relax and think about the things I need to do that day.

Breakfast time. My duck gets grated and added to scrambled eggs. It gives them a crispy finish that compliments my toast, which I have raw. If I'm squeezed for time, as I often am, I'll have an orange. If not, the oranges are squeezed with lime, tasting more than fine. I couldn't possibly start my day without a glass of freshly squeezed juice. I leave for work at 8am.

I spend my first waking hour doing exactly the same stuff as I did the day before. I don't know if I should be trying to develop good habits, or making an effort to introduce some spark and spontaneity. People feel defensive or proud over their routines, but in my opinion, they are the epitome of comfort-zone; easy to fall into, but hard to crawl out of. Even though they can be productive and healthy, I find them tedious and depressing.

I've had a job since I was 16 and I've never pulled a sickie. In principle, I'm not against them (depending on your job of course). I always wanted to go someplace barbarically ludicrous on my employer's watch.

“The 17.15 to Liverpool Lime street has been cancelled. This is due to a member of the train crew being unavailable”

It's annoying when your train gets cancelled but if a train driver is off climbing a fucking mountain or something, I say fair play. Sadly, the reality is that he's probably caring for his sick spouse, or trapped in bed with mental illness. eek. And the cancelled train probably has some knock on consequences slightly more serious than a suit being late to his meeting.

But I'm a carefree and healthy young person, so I don't think about these things.




Thank you for reading, I hope your day so far is going better than you hoped.

On day number 25 without sex it got to the point where I googled 'involuntary celibacy' to see if I could coin the phrase on this blog. It shook some sense into me when I found out that 'involuntary celibacy' (or incel for short) is of course the name of a misogynistic online subculture responsible for mass shootings and hate crimes. In my defence, even counting the days since my last encounter made me feel uncomfortable.

I guess then that blogging provides me some healthy self-moderation. At worst, this blog will at least document my slow decline into a new identity defined solely on who won't sleep with me. One day I'm googling involuntary celibacy, the next I'll be using the word horny in my opening exchanges with new people, and etching tally marks into the side of my wardrobe for every rejection I receive. At best however, this blog will allow me to identify and overcome the self-pity and self-loathing that seems to be festering in my writing at the moment.

In other involuntary news, I found myself at church for reasons beyond my control this week. There, a middle aged woman neatly arose from her seat, glided out of her bench, and headed towards the front of the church. The congregation said not a word as her polished shoes walked purposely up the aisle. The priest watched her as she bowed towards a supernatural presence. Standing at a microphone, she began to read in a well-spoken voice, that lacked the regional intricacies found in the silent tongues sitting before her.

When this perishable nature has put on imperishability, and when this mortal nature has put on immortality, then the words of scripture will come true: Death is swallowed up in victory. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting? Now the sting of death is sin, and sin gets its power from the Law.

It's fucking surreal that people sitting in silence, listening to someone read these words, is something that happens. I don't find it disturbing or worrying, it's just a weird thing to observe.




My mother has a very strong faith which I did not inherit, despite its prominence in my childhood. I will be devoting a blog post or two towards the impact of religion on my parental relationships. I've had many hours in pews to brainstorm those pieces.