I wake up, sleep, wake again… This time, I am no longer alone in a five-bed family house in London, but in a dark, vampiric bachelor-pad-esque room in Brussels. A room chiefly designed by my own presently nihilistic eye. That which has been developed in response to having fled the postapocalyptic atmosphere of the Great
Britain Depression. More than one whole year spent pacing the rotunda of my inner world (and room) and figuring out the implications of my departure from teenagerhood (which now lasts until 24 instead of 18).
I suppose there is still an awkward queer teen POC still desperately attempting to assimilate into the Eurocentric beauty standard and Pale Goth culture of 2011 Tumblr meetups. I am now, at the simultaneously ripe and unripe age of 25, pussyfooting around my own inability and desire to make adult decisions. This you could call the comfort of my own darkness… Or the darkness of my own comfort… The operative is yet to be decided.
When outside, I spend most of my time looking for plants or trying to grow seeds into plants with which I will share this darkness. I often wonder if this is selfish of me knowing that their light will be limited and that I am removing them from a sunnier atmosphere in an attempt to brighten mine. So far, I have a pineapple, some unsprouted ginger, and some others in varying states of growth and decay. I suppose it is comforting to know that life is cyclical. Watching growth reminds me that everything is in flux and that yesterday’s gloom doesn’t always carry into today.
Despite my occasional shaded outlook, presently, I have an en-suite bathroom (with much more light), two flatmates whose creative drive and motivation are more infectious than Covid 19, and a long-distance boyfriend who can tolerate the frequent fluctuations in my mood (for now). The London home in which I danced, ran and somersaulted for 15 years, much like everything else, was only temporary, and expatriation teaches me every day that homes are springboards to propel us forward. In any case, I now find I have shed the fear that I will be mummified in the British peatbog and frozen in time.
Moving to a new country will always be cathartic, and to relocate from a country arrested by generational successions of xenophobia and right-wing attitudes, those that have been simmering since the UK borders were opened to the commonwealth, feels righteous. I am on the path to Belgian registration and am finally able to look back at the UK from the heart of Europe, feeling that I chose connection, collectivism, and cooperation (even if mildly delusional).
It is exhausting… to be a youth in the midst of a quarter life crisis…
My boyfriend and I broke up because I decided to:
- Cut ties with my old life.
- That I could not deal with long distance for a third time.
The registration process post-Brexit is stifled further by the beloved bureaucracy that all beings in geographical Europe know so well, and the claws of the pandemic force me to smoke away my problems, leading (probably) to worse lung damage than the virus itself.
I find myself fluctuating between states of pure optimism rediscovered through intermittently seeing friends and sunlight; and the pessimism of finally realising that the plants I put so much energy into cultivating grow more slowly than my aspirations for them (or myself).
At times like this, it is important to remember the ephemerality of struggle, the temporality of all life; bacterium and viruses included, and the transience of the human condition.
At least like this, I hope to find a way to finally break into adulthood.