There are these girls I’ve known since - well since I can remember. I think Annie was the first to start hanging out with me. I didn’t like her for a long time, I still don’t really, but she’s part of my life. She comes around some days and it’s like someone pulled the plug out of the bathtub that is me and the water that swirls through is nothing but a flood of fear.
Annie’s real name is anxiety. There are pills I can take, drop dead Fred style, that could make her disappear. But I don’t know who I am without her.
Debbie is a lot calmer and completely dependable - wherever I go I know she’ll find her way back to me. She’s a cat, a dog, she’s my shadow. I don’t know how to ask her to leave. And if she did leave I’m afraid of all the comfort I could lose that we have together. She knows me. I know her. It’s easier, at the same time as being a terrible strain. She’s like the friend who just wants to hang out, not doing much but she’s always there. She doesn’t seem to have anywhere else to go. Her full name is Depression. Most of you have probably met her, got to know her, hung out with her.
Then there’s Pamela. Weird name that doesn’t really suit her. She’s hard to engage with, hard to make sense of and fuck she thinks she knows everything. She’s very one-eyed Pamela and lately she has become a regular visitor. She’s the one who tells you the things the others won’t. She’s the one who can really get under your skin. Her other name? Paranoia.
Then there’s me. The one who holds them all together, tightly wrapped within my memories, my brain pathways. If I don’t have them - who am I left with?
So here we are in quarantine together. Gardening, drinking beers, smoking weed, writing words. Totally Netflix and chilling together. It’s not so bad and when it is - all I can do is to name them, notice them and try not to let them boss me around too much. I don't know how to manage everyone. Their needs, wants, their ownership over me. Maybe I take the magic pills? Maybe I show them some understanding, show myself some compassion? I've tried. I’m tired.
Old friends. They know you. You know them. They remind you of people you lost, people you loved, people who brought them round to meet you. How do you unwrap the binds that tie you together? How do you let them go? Truthfully - I'm not sure I want them to go. I don’t know who I am without them. They have been here with me, for so long.
Maybe I should be thanking them for helping me become who I am.
Maybe I should be thanking them for preparing me so well for isolation.
Maybe I should be thanking them for staying in touch all these years.
Maybe I thank them for all they have done and wish them adieu. Cut them loose. Set them free.
It's an insane world but in it there is one sanity, the loyalty of old friends.
And that's what I've got.