Her voice rings in my ears every day. ‘I don’t care what you do as long as you’re happy.’ That was my Mam’s response to me when I asked her what she wanted me to do with my life. She was dying at the time. It’s the last conversation – proper conversation – that I can recall. She died two weeks later.
Come September, that conversation will be eight years old. And I’m not happy. Okay, I’m not unhappy, but I feel in limbo and that’s not enough. I’m not enough. Like I said, those words ring in my ears. I don’t know if that simple phrase was my Mam’s way of acknowledging my sexuality or not, I really don’t know. I hope so. But either way, out of the closet or not, I’m not happy.
Things spiralled recently. Two days before Christmas, a ridiculous, meaningless email was justifiably misinterpreted and I lost the job that I gave up a meaningful, sensible career for. I cringe thinking about it. Christmas came and went, New Year arrived and the optimism I felt as 2008 rang in was extinguished when my relationship spontaneously and spectacularly nosedived. It wasn’t until it was over that I realised how much faith I’d had in it.
On top of this, I’d found a job in a company where the only saving grace was the fantastic people who I worked with. I’d left IT only to find myself back there. The team that I was working with comprised half a dozen soap dodgers who seemingly took exception to me. I wasn’t happy. I was letting Mam down.
It was only recently that I understood what loneliness was. Having spent the majority of the last two years on my own, night after night, in a single room, lent an element of perspective that floored me. Looking back, my life became an existence – and a rather bleak one at that. I felt alone.
I know that I am blessed when it comes to my friendships. I am. I have a handful of amazing friends who I cherish and think the world of. My family are always there for me. But all of them, without exception, are settling down and making families of their own. Being the only gay one exacerbated things. As far as I could see, my life was going down one path and theirs was going down another. One by one, they all seemed to fall away – their priorities understandably changed and whilst I was happy for them a sense of isolation began to prevail.
If someone had asked me at 21 where I’d be in ten years time, I would’ve said the following: a loving, trusting relationship, a meaningful, rewarding job and an overall sense of fulfilment. Ten years on and the reality is that I have none of that. Where I am is not where I want to be.
This is why I’m going away.