They say that you should live your life with no regrets. I don't know who says it really - but I have heard it a bunch of times in my life time. I have often said myself that I have no regrets. I've said it loud and proud and have emphasized that were it not for all the life experiences I've had up until now, I would never be able to rough house on the living room rug with my 3.5 year old son or hold my 5 month old daughter in my arms and do little fishy kisses on her cheek and have her giggle with delight.
But the fact is...
I do have regrets - a lot of them and sometimes, when I am feeling particularly low, those regrets amplify into something much more acute. The failures I have wrought within my adult life haunt me and consume me. The darkness of those failures is oppressive. Worse than that though - they can actually carry with them a familiar comfort.
That's actually really twisted...but it's true.
The sum of my regrets and failures weigh me down at this moment, after what has been a frustrating day.
Mondays are always a struggle for me - in part because, from the moment I wake up (which is usually anywhere between 6am and 7:30am), I know that it is going to be at least 25 hours before I will be able to lay my head on a pillow once more. It's the nature of my job right now - permanent night duty as an ICU Nurse. I do this for reasons that are partly my own but because I am sort of forced to (it's a long story and I don't have the energy here).
But Mondays are also the one day where I sit in my downstairs office and work my pre-WW1 Bakelite telephone (yep - you read that right) in an effort to try and market my novel - to try and get people interested in it - book stores interested in it. And that's what I did today - spoke to newspapers, magazines, book shops (the latter of which was following up on calls and emails from last week). The results were in a word...deflating. I feel as though I achieved very little and in some cases the ambivalence towards my novel actually bordered on hostile. I am not a marketer. In fact it makes me feel like a greasy, used car salesman.
Today wasn't a good day.
In the past I've alluded to a distinct lack of support for my endeavor from those closest to me. It has been distressing. Well the ambivalence from even those quarters has ramped up a notch in recent weeks to the extent that now it is being put to me that this novel is bad for me as a partner and father. My long held dream, something that I have coveted for most of my adult life is seen as a burden and, actually a source of resentment. I balance my responsibilities well - I am certain of that. I am constantly checking to ensure that I do...
Like I said...today wasn't a good day.
I stare now, through the window of my ICU cubicle upon a city where I've never truly belonged. I am a stranger here, an "Englishman in New York" to quote Sting - just because it seems fitting right now. I have resided in Adelaide for 16 years but I've never, truly felt at home here.
I don't actually know where I feel at home sometimes...
In the depths of the night, when my bio-rhythms have spun off their axes and they are interrogating me once again - why haven't you settled down to sleep yet? - the old wounds of my past settle upon me and I am powerless to not carry their burden.
There was another life...before this one. Nothing as romantically supernatural as I have portrayed in my writing but it was a life which I treasured. But I was forced from it - involuntarily. At a time when I was trying desperately to salvage the broken pieces of it in some vain effort to fix it.
The door was shut.
But as I walked away from that door it opened unexpectedly.
"I'm so sorry. I was wrong! Please give me another chance! Dean! Please!?"
I stood at crossroad. And the path I chose led away from that door. Without touching my hand to the handle I had closed it and locked it. But it hollowed me out and I was empty for the longest time...
I often catch myself wondering. What might have been, what is right now...but I brush those thoughts away brusquely...guilty for having allowed them to coalesce in the first place. It's not fair to the life I live now.
Regret, guilt, shame...
Sometimes I feel as though I want to go to sleep for a year. Seal myself up somewhere where there is no light, no sound and I can can just disappear.
Tomorrow will be a new day.
I will shake off the shackles of my torment for now and refocus...somehow....