Apostatize

2022 has been characterised by misfortune.

Most of which is self-inflicted.

When I look at my brown eyes in the mirror, there is an intensity there that is softened by all the shittiness that has happened this year. My spirit is still strong, defiant … but it’s also tired and bruised from what I’ve put it through.

A key part of my balancing act in life, is to keep my natural arrogance in check through various mental exercises. The most important of which, is self-reflection and ensuring that I own up to any measure of blame.

This self-flagellation often means that I beat myself up regularly over mistakes that I know I could have avoided or done better.

It also comes in strongly whenever there are huge existential crises in my life. Whenever I look at a relationship, I know that there are always two sides to the story, two reasons why there is a fight and two ways of communicating.

It is up to me to take ownership of my side of the story, my reason why I chose to fight and why I chose to communicate my feelings that way.

A fight erupt over something as trivial as different cereals, but I have to own up to my reasons. The blame could be attributed to my friend by 70%, 90% or even 99% …. but the point is, I need to acknowledge my 30%, 10% or 1%.

Because without doing that, I will never learn how to communicate better with the other person and be a better person myself.

The only problem with that so far though … is that 2022 has had far too many crises for me to realistically handle all the self-blame.

Lady Luck has always been my patron Goddess. As strange that sounds, I actually do hold onto some old-school religious ideas, like the concept of a Pantheon of Gods instead of a singular one. I can’t quite seem to let go of that spiritual connection.

And within that Pantheon, there is always one that holds a special place in your heart.

Mine is named Lady Luck.

The other three I “worship” are: Melbourne, Eris the Goddess of Discord and Athena the Goddess of Wisdom and War.

To touch on all three briefly …

Melbourne.

I like to believe that every city has a soul, a spirit. The more you connect with this spirit, the more the city will unveil itself to you and be an exciting place to visit every time. Melbourne has always had this classical femme fatale visage in my mind. She’s elegant, always ahead of trends, is curvaceous and mysterious. She hides all her best secrets down laneways and it is up to you, to hear her siren calls and discover the best she has to offer.

I normally speak to Melbourne when I want her tempestuous weather moods to change and stabilise.

Eris, the Goddess of Discord

My adoration for Eris only goes so far. This is a relationship of neglect. Often there is not enough trouble for me to truly be switched on all the time and not be bored by my usual life. Which is why I often have to come to her and beg for something drastic to happen.

This irrecoverably blows up in my face and I then go running to Lady Luck to fix the mess. This is a relationship created out of boredom, where I want more excitement in my life, but Eris refuses to grant it, knowing that I can’t always handle her style.

Athena, the Goddess of War and Wisdom.

My favourite out of all the Greek Gods, Athena has always struck a chord with me, how she inspires intellectualism with natural inclinations to hunt and art. Beyond her symbolism with freedom, Athena’s origin has always fascinated me.

My relationship with Athena is one of simple adoration and aspiration. She inspires me to pursue a warrior-poet lifestyle and that just because I can fight, doesn’t mean I can’t do so with intellect as well as a sword.

Finally, my favourite Goddess of all,

Lady Luck

There is a genuine relationship here, with actual words and actions being exchanged on some level. Whether it is truly the work of a Goddess bending reality to suit me, or some type of strange subliminal telekinesis and mutant ability in the form of probability-warping, I got no idea, but there is no denying that sometimes things work out for me that normally would not occur in any other shape or form.

I’ve been blessed with this relationship with her, since a very young age, ever since I’ve acknowledged her.

Like most Goddesses, Lady Luck isn’t someone that I can just call upon whenever I need her. She requires careful readings of her mood, a precise understanding of her nature and an unwavering commitment to her and her alone.

I have been unfailingly loyal to her.

However, 2022 is the year where she and I have tested the boundaries of our relationship to the extremes.

As I’ve mentioned above though, it is not Lady Luck’s story that I am focusing on. I have to aim the magnifying glass on myself and see what I have done wrong, to see why this year, Lady Luck, has on multiple occasions given me huge emotional whiplash.

Beyond the obvious ones, such as the Formula 1 weekend that culminated in a raid, or the even smaller instances like a board game, perhaps the biggest whiplash I’ve experienced this year is the age old debate between career and love.

It is said that you remember the bad memories better than you relive the good ones.

However for my 2022 experience, it has been both at the same time that has caused me no end of consternation.

It has created within my mind, a paranoia around the feeling of happiness. For every extremely joyous moment, I am instantly struck, hours later by some terrible misfortune.

Let’s take one of the better weekends of my life, where I spent a Sunday at a racetrack, volunteering as a Flag marshal.

Having survived a near crash, spent the entire day relatively dry, despite the monsoon like weather and experiencing nearly 8 hours of incredible wet-racing, upon immediately climbing into my car, I was assaulted with severe back muscle pain, that left me unable to move properly for 2 days.

Where this pain came from, or the cause of it, I have no real idea, but it was deliberating enough to cripple me for a full day.

Joy …. Pain. The whiplash from a mental perspective is immense.

Every single good memory I have had this year, has been made less blissful by the immediate slap in the face by Lady Luck herself.

The apex of this mountain though, has to be the self-destruction of a 6-year relationship.

Our anniversary was meant to be a celebration of our past and present but it was the beginning of the end for me.

Again, it seems twisted that on the day of our anniversary, we had one of our biggest fights and was so close to breaking it off.

To add insult to injury even more, when she finally came back months later, hoping to resolve things with me … I broke it off the day she landed.

Another joyous occasion ruined. The day she came home to me, to repair everything, was the very day I decided to break her heart.

I still can’t look at myself in the mirror when I think about that. I’m not sure I’m even capable of being forgiving myself at the moment.

The day I lost her, was the day I lost a lot more than I originally anticipated.

A part of me was put down. I did it to myself, compressing and squeezing every last bit of that tiny piece of humanity, into nothing, so that I could really go through with the break-up. The guilt, the shame, the bizarre strength it took to overcome all those emotions in the moment … I lost a crucial part of what I felt like a core part of me, my sympathy for others, my ability to empathize.

I essentially traumatised myself. It was like using a hot brand, and searing it against my skin, a part of me forever marked by what I did.

I’ve also lost my feelings for another person as well. A part of me was wondering and wandering, excited to be in the presence of something new.

But that is gone now too. I’ve realised that the other person isn’t quite right for me either. At least, not what I need or want at the moment. They’re just incapable of offering me that kind of support.

Because the sad reality of this all, is that at the end of the day, I, alone, am the only one who can resolve this mess I am in.

And in order to do that, I need to really set boundaries for myself, learn not to push unrealistic expectations onto others and really keep my emotions in check. No one can fix the mess that I’ve created for myself.

Only I can.

It sounds strange to go through so many emotions, feelings of love, regret, guilt, crushing, nervousness and anger in such a short span of a week.

I keep fighting against myself, catching myself feeling one way and brusquely putting it aside to continue work. Then I will be OK for the next few hours, then comes an errant memory, over 6 years worth, and I will go back to feeling awful again.

The cycle will then continue. I will feel terrible, then put it aside, OK and stable for a few more hours, then terrible and immediately plugging that shit away.

If someone asked me why I simultaneously killed off all feelings of love inside me, I couldn’t give them a clear reason.

At the time, it felt like the right thing to do. Even now, the logical part of me is still arguing that it was.

It, being of course, the intense desire to be alone. To live a life without a partner.

But the heart refuses to listen and instead continues to assault my brain with immense waves of guilt, pain and internal suffering. I can’t sleep properly, eat comfortably or really enjoy myself in anything.

Life has become a bit duller.

You throw atop of this, my relationship with Lady Luck, which is now filled with paranoia and suspicion. I’ve suffered too much at her hands this year to really trust her. Perhaps, I’ve been worshipping the wrong Goddess the entire time, and it turns out I was actually paying homage to Eris, who has taken the guise of Lady Luck.

Shit. Perhaps that is a theory worth exploring further soon.

To sum things up, 2022 has been a chastening year. For all the incredible opportunities that I’ve had have this year, from making new friends, exploring new elements of my personality, landing two jobs that have opened up my world to the events industry, it has been marred by incredible loss.

The loss of some of my most prized possessions, the loss of my former introverted strength, the loss of my long-term girlfriend, the loss of my feelings and most crucially, the loss of a part of my soul.

When you compare the two, my gains and losses, I’ve parted ways with a lot more than what I’ve gotten back.

Look at yourself. Look at what you’ve asked yourself to give.

Do you even know truly why you are going through all of this?

I suppose the answer doesn’t really matter. Life is full of meaningless meaning and I suppose the sooner I embrace that, that there isn’t some sadistic, comforting purpose behind this pain, the sooner I can move on.

What a fucking shit year.

~ Damocles.

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