This is a story about living on the edge...
Strangely, this broken blind is the only thing that's keeping me safe at the moment. I could replace the blind, but then I'd lose the safety that it gives me. I deliberately chose an apartment with a ground-floor bedroom with terrible blinds, because of the lack of privacy. It's strange, but this lack of privacy - this broken blind - is keeping me safe.
It's been 21 consecutive months since I had a proper holiday. For two consecutive Christmasses I've been with a family that's not my own, which has meant the exhaustion of being on best behaviour, and struggling to adjust to the unique way that those families observe the festive season. Other than that, I've had some long weekends, but not a proper break. A lot of the time in the last 21 months, I've had the threat of bankruptcy, eviction, destitution and homelessness hanging over me. A lot of the time in the last 21 months, I've been recovering from illness, which has seen me hospitalised. A lot of the time in the last 21 months, I've been very sick.
I'm burnt out.
I'm sick and tired of working my bollocks off, being responsible and working hard when I'm too sick to shoulder that burden. I should really have declared bankruptcy and put myself at the mercy of the state, to house me and to give me a pitiful welfare payment so I could buy a few cans of baked beans, and otherwise live like a pauper - at least this torture would've been over.
I left work, I went to the supermarket, I drove home, I washed up, I put some laundry in the washing machine, I tidied up, I put the shopping away, I cleaned the kitchen, I hoovered the carpet. All in a day's work, but I've already done a day's work. I've done 21 consecutive months of work without a proper holiday.
You might not think it's work, being sick, but it's certainly not holiday. You might not think it's work, recovering from illness, but it's certainly not holiday... and it's certainly not restful when you're running out of money and you're worried you're going to be evicted. You might not think it's work, spending Christmas with people you only just met, but it's exhausting to be on best behaviour and minding your manners; making smalltalk with everybody and asking all the right questions that would be expected in polite middle-class company. You might think I've been on a jolly holiday for the last 21 months, but I haven't. I've moved house 4 times, been hospitalised 3 times, been sectioned, had various crisis visits from psychiatrists, doctors, social workers and the like, plus I've been dreadfully sick... both physically and mentally. I've not been having a jolly holiday.
I've had enough. I want to abandon my responsibilities. I want to give up.
I'm exhausted and I want to give up.
The only thing keeping me safe is that blind.
So long as I keep that blind deliberately broken, anybody can spy on me; peek into my world.
If I had perfect privacy I think I'd just give up; I'd relapse. If I thought that I could withdraw into a private world - close the curtains and pretend the world's not there - then I'd do it in a flash because I'm so exhausted and fed up with the relentless never-ending saga of month after month of work, work, work.
I've done well to get to this point, but I'm pretty much spent. Every penny I've earned has gone on rent, bills, interest and living expenses. I feel like I've got very little to show for my efforts, but I do have an apartment, a car, a job, a girlfriend and some new friends. I feel like I've made very little progress, but I've managed to get myself into a good position to start to dig myself out of the hole... but I'm exhausted and I've hit the wall. I'm burnt out; I'm frazzled. I'm a wreck.
That blind is broken and it means I have no privacy. It's a funny thing to keep me safe, but I knew it would. I'm really on a knife-edge though. I could so easily throw everything away and say "fuck it" because I'm just too damn tired to go on.
I'm really at my wits end. I really need a holiday.