I remember one time going to see my dealer and asking him if he had any gateway drugs that he could sell me. He laughed long and loud at my request and asked me what the fuck I thought I was on about. I told him that I’d heard a lot about gateway drugs and thought that they sounded cool. Something about the name that spoke to me, I guess. I had some kind of fantasy idea about what they were and that fantasy didn’t happen to match up with anything in reality, which is just the way things go sometimes I guess! Anyway I just thought I’d relate that story because it’s quite funny. We can all laugh about it now of course but at the time it was embarrassing enough. That’s the story of my life really – rather embarrassing at the time but something we can all laugh about it later on! Well, other people can laugh about it perhaps but I can’t. I’m still pretty hung up on all that stuff.
It’s funny the little mistakes we can make in life, isn’t it? The little misunderstandings that can occur. I was full of little misunderstandings about life now that I come to think about it – misunderstandings about the nature of reality, misunderstandings about the nature of identity and the self. Misunderstandings about what life was or was not supposed to be all about. What I was supposed to be doing or not doing, and so on. It’s fascinating to realise just how wrong we can be, isn’t it? Or rather it would be fascinating if it wasn’t all so embarrassing. It would be fascinating if I wasn’t still so hung up about it all. ‘If only I could just come right out and say what it is that I’m hung up about,’ I think miserably to myself, but I know I never will. I know I will never find the courage to do that.
I know I’ll never, say miserably to myself, I know I’ll never. I remember when I was still just a kid living in a housing estate in Gillingham in East Kent. I was into comics and superheroes – my favourite superhero was Moose Boy and I used to fantasise that one day I might develop some kind of obscure superpower just like Moose Boy did. My hold on reality had never been that firm and reading comic books all day long didn’t exactly help matters! Then after a few years of this I graduated to reading science fiction – I graduated onto ‘the hard stuff’, you might say, and my attachment or affiliation with the banalities of everyday life in the UK of the 1980s got weakened even further. Then I got into street drugs and the West End pill-head scene and any chance that I might have had a normal life for myself disappeared entirely. That’s a joke of course – I know that ‘normal life’ is bullshit as well as you do. That’s just my sense of irony coming out. I have to make a point of saying that otherwise no one would know.
I’m talking in circles really. I’m doing that because I’m trying to find the courage to explain about the embarrassing thing that I find so hard to talk about. You see the thing is that I was forced out of ignorance to identify with a sense of self that was quite frankly out of place in any conceivable situation, under any conceivable circumstances. This sense of self wasn’t me – I hasten to add – I just thought it was. I was convinced that it was and I felt compelled to go to extreme lengths to cover it up so that people wouldn’t be repelled by me. Not just repelled but rendered frankly incredulous and condemnatory. I suppose you could say that I was ‘a misfit’ but the point I’m making is that I was a misfit to myself as much as I was to others. I made myself as uncomfortable as I made everyone else and this was a significant burden for me to carry around. Life wasn’t exactly a bed of roses for me, as you can probably gather…
People always seem to fit in so effortlessly don’t they? They always seem to say exactly the right thing, not the freakish embarrassing type of things that make people look at you and then slowly edge away so they don’t have to talk to you any more. They never say the abnormal type of weird thing that makes other people so uncomfortable. So you see it was because I was involuntarily identified with this freakishly abnormal and extremely dysfunctional ego-construct (the type of ego-construct that didn’t belong in reality at all really) that I never knew what anything really was and that’s why I always had to make guesses about what the right thing to say was. I spent my whole life guessing and getting it wrong. Guessing what other people thought life should be about and guessing what I thought life should be about. How was I to know, you see? How was I to know?