Editor’s Preface

It’s a curious thing for me to admit to myself but somewhere along the way I lost myself. I only know this, however, because it is only recently that I found myself. Even more curious to think that it was misfortune that lead me to my discovery. I feel that I am where I should have been umpteen years ago. Let me try to explain…

Cheshire Cat Mad

Pretty much my view of life in general

There was a time when I kept myself to myself. I was long term unemployed, but I was happy. I had got myself back into part time education as a mature student studying arty type things, so my mind was occupied with creative stuff, and people left me to myself. No one was trying to get me to join in with Xmas parties and other so called fun. Fast forward a few years and I found myself at university.

My time at university should have been good. I should have been able to make friends easily, but many people there knew each other from college, and I, as a mature student, had moved across the country. I came alone. I was alone. I stayed alone.

After two years the time came to move off campus, and I began to look amongst my my fellow students for somebody to share with. I quickly found someone who seemed like a nice person. She did not want to move from home but said that she knew someone who may be willing to be my flatmate. This is how I came to share with her boyfriend. This is how I came to my true downfall.

I don’t know exactly why, but she turned against me. Maybe it was because I didn’t have a boyfriend and thought she was after hers. Whatever the reason was I could not broach the subject because she did not actually talk to me about anything. I would find the atmosphere in the flat so difficult that, like a small child, I would hide in my room. The walls were thin, and I could hear her badmouth me to anyone who would listen. I should have moved on, but I was stuck. I had very little money and I could not face the idea of going home. I needed to go forward, not backward. Fast forward a few more years. Her parents move to Germany. She goes with them but does not cut her boyfriend loose. He’s lost without her, but doesn’t have the strength to move on. His alcoholism worsens, and he slips back though weed and e to heroin. He ends it all by ending himself. I am now homeless. This heralds the beginning of a new life for me as I am forced to move on. I find a place in a Great Yarmouth hostel, and the staff help me find a work placement. Not long after the placement ends am I offered a job in the business. I spend many happy years there, feeling that at last I have found myself. Unfortunately this was only an illusion. It turns out that I had a life, but I did not entirely have me.

I’ve often thought that I have had a good sense of timing, and in my later years I have come to believe in Fate, which I think is pretty much the same thing. Like Socrates’ daimon, I have some celestial voice whispering to me, telling me when to do or do not. Unfortunately, there have been times when I have not listened, and this is when I have come undone. This is when I have lost myself. I did not listen when the voice told me to stay away from certain people, and they have caused me unhappiness. I did not listen when it told me that I do not belong at the University of East Anglia. A mere change in studies or a move off campus sooner may have put me on a different, happier path. I did not listen when it told me to look for a different job. I stayed because I loved the people there, and ended up losing my job anyway, leading to a period of mourning.

This, however, is an opportunity. The mourning period is over and I have a chance to recreate myself. I get to build upon everything that I have learnt, revisit the things that gave me joy, and to try out anything that catches my fancy. I will not allow my destruction be negative, when my creation will be positive.

Every act of creation is first an act of destruction
Pablo Picasso