I was brilliant at dying. I got up, rarely ate and usually followed up with vomiting, drank too much and smoked too many, often took the meds I should with a handful that I shouldn't and slept between all of that. And I was really brilliant at dying. I pooled all of my money into my ventures, as well as some other other people's; I begged, borrowed and stole to fund my risks. And I was really, really brilliant at dying. I spent my time in a cloud of misery and bitterness, not daring to do anything that might challenge how dark I thought the world was; too afraid to be wrong, because that would take away the twisted stability that being ill gave me. And I was really, really, really brilliant at dying.
And then, well, then it didn't happen.
Then I lived.
I always wanted to be great at something. The best. You know those kids at school who could turn a perfect cartwheel, or score goals, or dance en pointe, or paint a picture that actually looked how it was intended? That was never me. But I was brilliant at dying. I didn't even realise in the early days, and by the time I did I was too good at it to give up. It was a started as a secret obsession. It became a total addiction, and like any addict, I was never really sure that I enjoyed it. It wasn't really relevant. I just enjoyed finally being the best, and that prevented me from giving it up.
But, of course, then it happened.
But then I began to live.
Because I wanted grace and beauty. I had thought there was poetry in dying slowly. I had thought there was lyricism in dying young. I had thought my tragedy would result in black clothes and a few days of tears, before life without me would go on and everyone would be better for it. I had thought that people might read my words and forget my decomposing body. I had thought that dying would be going out in a blaze of glory, rather than gradually disappearing. I had thought the only thing I could ever do that could ever be graceful or beautiful would be dying.
There is no beauty in the life or death of an addict. It doesn't matter what the addiction is, there's no beauty in any of it. There's no beauty in death caused by addiction, either. Corpses are not beautiful. Tragedy shouldn't be confused with poetry. Dying in the way that I was, was causing anguish that wasn't going to be ended with my death- dying is a debt that saps the resources of the living. That's all.
And so, I'm learning to live. And I'm ok with not always being the best at that.