I wrote this stream of consciousness in the notes application on my phone on the morning of the 17th November 2018, partially in the floor of my living room, partially on the footpath on the way to my local coffee shop, and partially in my local coffee shop. The post illustrates how periods of darkness for me tend to last hours, rather than, as was the case in the past, days, weeks, months, or years.

I am a failure. I have failed. I have accomplished nothing. All of my friends are more successful than I am. I’m 32 years old and I make less than I did when I was eighteen working as a labourer on a building site part time during my arts degree. I can’t work on a building site anymore because I’m more sensitive to dust these days. I lie on the carpet, curled into a ball, listening to contemporary classical music to help me cry so that I can purge this black cloud. First I lie on my side then I curl into a ball. I sob into a pillow. I wonder if maybe I should just kill myself. I’ve asked myself this question many times. No. Not today. I don’t want to start again in another body. I’m in a relatively good position this time. I’ve learned so much already. Remember. I chose this path. I choose this path every day. Every day I can do more. I can open more. I can be more vulnerable. I can create art and I can put it out into the world. I can open my heart and present it to the world. I can always find new and inventive ways to push myself out of my comfort zone. What’s the worst that can happen? I’ve come this far. I owe it to myself to see this thing through. All things are impermanent. Trust the process. This too shall pass. Love. I just drank a cup of coffee and I’m starting to feel better. I haven’t had one in two weeks. I wonder how much of my low emotional state, headaches, depression, lethargy, irritability, lack of motivation and apathy are related to caffeine withdrawals. Could it be the residual pesticides in the food I eat? Or is it just that I’m sensitive to the world and I’ve elected not to protect myself with alcohol at the moment? Is this feeling the normal reaction to an insane world? Is it because I’ve decided to become an artist and this bullshit comes with the territory. Is it because I’ve been telling myself a new story lately? The story is this: I don’t get depressed anymore. I’ve found my purpose in life, so I no longer feel depressed. Knowing my purpose and struggling is better than not knowing my purpose. I have clarity of vision. The disconnect between my vision and my current situation is creating inner conflict. Still, having clarity of vision and purpose is better than not having it. So far, at least. I haven’t had sex in a month. Depending on your sexual appetite and experience this will sound like a long time or a short time. This is a long time for me. Fuck you, you say. No. Fuck you. Actually, fuck me. I’m reading the latest edition of Overland literary magazine and I’ve stopped reading the overland VU short story prize winning story to write this rambling stream of consciousness into the notes section on my phone. I need to write more articles and pitch them to lit mags. It doesn’t matter that no magazine has published anything I’ve written yet. They will. I just have to be patient and keep putting myself out there. Also: write a blog. Also: rewrite my novel. I thought it was finished. But it’s not. I am in the belly of the whale. Just when I’m ready to give up, when I’ve giving everything I have, when I am almost dead, when there’s nothing left to give, when all hope is lost, that’s when the shining angels will descend from heaven and lift me up and I’ll know in that moment that all this shit was worth it.

Alexander Toums