Written by Al Drinkle
The feeling of invincibility can inspire in one actions almost akin to somebody on the purposeful path of self-destruction. Though the impudent mindset of a person who feels indestructible seems to be the complete opposite of someone acting out of self-loathing or despair, with both dispositions comes an inclination towards forfeiture of personal regard.
Others close to me might have seen it coming, but last week I surprised myself in that the theoretical accumulation of wisdom that any 34-year-old should innately possess was no match for my irrational emotional audacity and the accompanying façade of physical invincibility. I recognized too late that I have been making countless flagrant and profound mistakes, the most significant of which resulted in my own considerable bodily harm. There’s nothing like the tedium imposed by hospital waiting rooms and dentist chairs to precipitate self-reflection.
Far worse for me than the injuries sustained was the knowledge of the panic and fear that I struck in the hearts of those who are close to me. The best invitation for loved ones to come forth with petitions against your myriad transgressions is to brazenly flirt with death – perhaps the more precarious your survival of this macabre courting process, the more vociferously you will be censured. It was made known to me that my parlous imbalance of workaholism, sleep deprivation and the tributaries of drink that flow throughout these and other manifestations of my self-neglect are not appreciated by those who care about me. I regret that the catalyst for these discussions had to be so extreme, but glad that there was a catalyst.
When I picked myself up off the street at 1 a.m. last Tuesday morning, bloody and disfigured, I no longer knew who I was (Geoffrey Firmin? Shane MacGowan? Don Birnam?). But after careful contemplation, I know who I want to be and I’m grateful for the opportunity to become that person again. The craziest thing is that this entire process wasn’t the most significant challenge that I had to face last week… And if you ask me about either ongoing experience, that aforementioned or that alluded to, I’ll deny all understanding of what you’re talking about.