This is for the man in Pret a Manger, Hammersmith on Saturday afternoon who intended to end his life. Who I shouldn’t have eavesdropped on sat alone at the next table but I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. And when it opened it couldn’t find the right words in the short time and I’m afraid I have only made it worse.
I want you know you will cope with what you are convinced you won’t.
You won’t believe that, and I can’t explain how but I totally believe you can. When I pointed out I am on meds for life too, that I am going blind and disabled and would never be a beautiful model it was to say ‘You can get through this.’ You told me that was my choice but I didn’t choose disability or to lose my career as a performer because my body and mind became mush. Others chose that by denying me sleep so badly my nervous system may now be damaged and I have doubled in size. Losing the circus, my role and my stage at the cost of others will always haunt me. But there is too much in life that I like aside from my own predicament that makes me grab at life.
We all have our sob stories but as a total stranger it was horrid to hear you threatening to stab yourself to the man that tried to listen to you. You have him – he will be part of you coping for something that hasn’t yet happened. And until it does you have to look out not in. You have to see who is there because people are concerned for you and that’s because they see something in you that’s worth having you in their life. That sounds like bullshit right now, but even not believing it let it be a lie that sinks in until you do.
Find things, even minute, even down to just your jeans, that you like and are alive to like and make that thing swell in your mind until you add to it another little thing, and another until without realising time has passed, and you are still here and it wasn’t that bad was it because you had those little things in mind.
Now here’s some practical bits:
When I shouted you have to love yourself and you shouted back I do- it means that arm on the most beautiful body in that coffee shop doesn’t deserve being marked. Especially not to keep others away from you that at the bottom of everything just want you to be ok again and the boy they knew.
Most of your conversation I caught seemed to focus on you sisters opinions, what she has but right now you need to focus on the opinion of your self because I’m sure in there somewhere is something you would hate to never know or do again and you won’t if you’re dead. Strip everyone away that is part of the worry, just for a little while. Take them out of your thoughts, take yourself away somewhere you don’t need to think, someplace you can just be utterly you and focus on getting yourself strong again.
I keep joking I want to live with Tibetan monks in silence and wake to birds and gongs everyday.
You said your modelling business is ruined and that hit a nerve. It’s awful when you are ill or unable to function at your best and everything relies on you to be done. But YOU are more important than any business, industry, finances. Find contacts and take the difficult humbling step of telling them you need time out, you need to put work aside. You may be surprised at who steps up, how many will take over tasks for you. Build yourself an army so you can step back and take the pressure off.
And lastly, I can not imagine what a child losing their mother feels like but you have made it to being a beautiful, articulate man with a place in the fashion industry in London. You have already coped with what you are now saying you won’t be able to cope with again. You have done more that cope- you succeeded.
From now on changes may happen that completely alter what you do or who you know but you will get through this. Because if a fat snappy loner in a coffee shop is riled enough to stick there nose in and tell you to keep going, imagine what those who know you want, even if they can’t say it and that makes you presume you are alone.
What is coping to you anyway? No one expects you to cope if someone has died, no one will think less of you if you ‘can’t cope’. You’re allowed to fall to pieces but it doesn’t mean there will not be a time when you come out the other side again.
Keep strong in a living person in this city.
I wish I could know what happens to you.