I’ve been attempting to write something for a while; so much so that I have about 4 or 5 drafts in my trash bin.

Fuck, the Black Dog’s really biting at my heels of late. It’s all just so ‘meh.’ I realised the other day that there are very few things left that I truly enjoy. I’m intellectually grateful for the things I do have, but it rarely translates into a satisfying sense of gratitude. Even as I write the latter my anxious mind informs me that should I not be grateful – really grateful – for the ‘good’ things in my life, then the universe will take them away from me. That’s insane!

There’s an old Russian saying, “надежда умирает последний:” Hope dies last! I think that’s where I’m finally at. It’s not that there’s no way out, for obviously there is one, but there’s just no hope that it’ll get better; I’ve been led down that path one too many times. Each time I traverse it, I become more convinced of the futility of life. It’s an odd position to be in. For example, I used to love looking up at the night sky, and experienced a sense of wonder and awe. All I see now is emptiness – cold, dark emptiness. The meager stars, planets etc. all whirling through an irrelavant void to annihilation; I can’t be bothered to look much anymore.

It’s funny, when I turned forty somebody asked me how it felt. I told him it was great because I was now in the age-group in which men are most likely to suicide. I’m not sure he saw the funny side; I did. A friend of mine tried to kill himself once. He was a bit overweight though, and just after he blacked out, the rope must have snapped, as he eventually awoke with his face stuck to the floor from a bloody nose. His response, “I couldn’t even get that right!” Personally, I found it hilarious, and he didn’t seem offended when I laughed as he told me.

I’m tossing up as to whether to buy a punching bag and stand. The thing that’s stopping me most? Going to the store! Why? Well, I’m just not ‘man enough,’ and I’m worried about looking an idiot. I’m worried they’ll look at me and laugh, or they’ll think that I think I’m a tough guy (which I’m not). Or even worse, the stuff’ll be too heavy for me to carry to the van without my bottom lip quivering (which sadly happens when I lift something really heavy). Naturally, the shop assistant will either be some buff dickhead, or a hot chick; either way, feelings of inadequacy await (well, not feelings, as inadequacy is a belief, but you get the picture).

I went to kick-boxing once (6 months or so) in an effort to ‘man-up,’ improve my confidence etc.. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to me at the time, the club I attended wasn’t run well at all. Basically, the higher belts would just pummel the crap out of the lower belts – nice one! The instructor did nothing. Rather than ‘building my confidence,’ any vestiges of self-esteem were knocked out of me, and I sparred in fear of being ‘punished’ should I land a hit – I was! That was twenty odd years ago.

I fantasize about being a hard bastard. I wish I was angry and confrontational, and that if anybody so much as looked at me funny I’d front up to them; but I’m not. I’m timid, and afraid of confrontation. I want to want to do something like boxing, but then I really don’t want to do it. I just want to be anything but me.

I already own a free-standing punching bag. When I exercise, however, I close the curtains so that nobody can see me punching it like a pansy. God, anxiety is tiring; I don’t know why I bother – meh!

Aksenty Ivanovich Poprishchin.