Stranger Here Myself
by Alexander Caldwell-Kelly
I can’t say I’m back by popular demand, because I’m not. Probably, on reading the tagline, a handful of people will have the same unspoken thought: “Who invited her?” I also can’t say I’m back because I had burning insights to deliver about the state of the world today, because I don’t. My name is Alex, and I have some opinions. I don’t particularly expect anyone to care much, but I’m writing them down.
I used to write a moderately successful blog about being seventeen and insane. I stopped being seventeen but kept being insane. At age 19, two years ago, I moved from London to Glasgow. I made a vague attempt to keep writing about it, and then… radio silence. I disconnected myself from the outside world; not wholly intentionally, but after a while it stops making any difference. I grew my beard, smoked a lot and wrote precious little. I did this because I don’t like people – not in the abstract, anyway. Certainly there are people I like, I’m just not very good with the species as a whole. Sometimes that means my relationships with people I care about suffer. I’m not very reliable. But I’m also 21 and (still) insane. I’m learning, and this is a part of that.
But as to why I’m back, specifically? Two reasons. Firstly, someone asked. Namely, the shadowy Australian presence of @Jono_Head. I don’t actually find blogging hard work – certainly easier than digging ditches – it’s just that after a while I tend to assume that people stop enjoying it. I’m locked in a desperate quest for validation that in any other circumstances might have seen me married to a Kardashian. Or worse, a lesser Palin.
Which brings me neatly to the second reason. I got married. Almost two months ago, to an American boy I dragged all the way to Glasgow from Colorado. By that point, I had to marry him before he realised the weather actually stays like this. He is mercifully not a Kardashian or a Palin, but rather a frighteningly talented writer who has been pushing me to write things myself.
So, apparently the lesson here is that I hate confrontation, and rather than argue with my husband or people on Twitter, I’ll cave and start writing. If I’d known being passive-aggressive trumped writer’s block I’d have let myself be pushed into all this much sooner.
There is another lesson here, by the way. Life doesn’t end at matrimony. More than once I’ve seen people with mental health problems post wedding pictures with the accompanying ‘happy ending’ folderol. Due respect, but my arse it is. Happy, no doubt. But it’s not a magic bullet. Life goes on, and it’s just as messy and complicated as it was before. At times, more so. Not that it’s not an improvement, quite the contrary. The problems are mostly still the same. It’s just now you don’t have to do them alone. And that – letting someone else help – is kind of new for me. We’ll see how it works out. And in the meantime, there’ll be some other stuff. Stay tuned.