Richard Pierce

Richard Pierce – author, poet, painter

Life, Sport, Writing

Day 162

It doesn’t do to question the wisdom or usefulness of this public journalling, even with its self-censorship, to spend time thinking about if anyone is actually reading it or absorbing it or paying any attention to it. My life is the same as billions of other lives, an ebb and flow of intensity and monotony, a litany of forgotten things, of wrong priorities, flashes of extreme happiness, periods of drudgery and apathy, all those things that go to put together the pattern we describe as normality. Looked at in the grand scheme of things, there is nothing extraordinary or unusual about any of our lives. But looked at in depth and specifics, each one is its separate unique and extraordinary work of art, a complicated collage of conflicting and complementary emotions, of joy and suffering. I spend endless hours admiring other people’s lives which inevitably seem more interesting, more organised, more liveable than mine. But when I get a glimpse under the surface, by design or accident, it becomes obvious that the challenges those lives have faced are of an enormity I couldn’t even have guessed at. My greatest hope, when I do get sidetracked into thinking about whether or not these scribblings are of any significance, is that perhaps they can show others who have mental health issues that they are not alone.

There is no describing the feeling of lightness and relief I had when standing in the garden earlier with my espresso and cigarette, when I realised that I wasn’t having to clench my stomach at the prospect of playing cricket, when I didn’t have that feeling in my head and bones and guts that I would have another day on a field when my mind would wander and ask itself why I was doing this, why I hadn’t performed as I should have, questioning why I couldn’t score a hundred every time I batted, trying to justify in my head my presence in a group of people inevitable far more talented than me. Instead, I could revel in the slight nervousness doing radio always brings with it, could breathe the fresh air without taking huge gulps of air that bordered on hyperventilation. Sad that I feel this way about what is essentially just a game, nothing more, sad not to have been able to enjoy it for exactly that. In my acupuncture and therapy sessions this week, I focused on this at length, compared and contrasted it with how I never felt anything like this pressure when I was fencing regularly, talked about how fencing, by its very martial arts and individual nature, made me feel somehow more complete, more disciplined, more self-reliant. Perhaps I’m not a team player, after all. Perhaps my body, with all its back problems, was sending me an indisputable signal, one I’ve been ignoring since I was 19. Well, I’m listening now.




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