Happy New Year. Did you welcome in 2019 with a roar or a whimper? It’s become a strange time for me. On New Year’s Day in 2017, at about 4:30am, is when my heart broke. The past still dictates my life very heavily. I got very drunk this New Year and opened up probably the most I ever have to my mother.

I’ve often felt that my mother knows me the best, though I didn’t grow up with her, and can’t really describe us as close in the typical sense. She and my father split up when I was four, and me and my brother lived with my father from then on. Later, when we were older, we visited my mother on weekends every fortnight. My mother hasn’t had an easy life and I know she still feels very guilty about having to leave me and my brother.

She had a lot to drink last week and she told me some things that I had never heard before. There are a lot of unspoken issues within my family. There’s a lot of tenebrous history that I haven’t been privy to. The glimpses I’ve had aren’t pretty.

She asked me some very frank questions about myself. And when I say very frank, I really do mean very frank. About whether I feel suicidal and such. She hit the nail right on the head, to be fair. She knows full well that I am quite unhappy, though I try my best to conceal it. She knows that I still haven’t gotten over my past relationship. There’s a lot I wanted to say to her. I tried to answer her questions, but often I would start elucidating something and trail off into ‘I don’t know.’ I want to be candid, but I don’t know how, as such. My feelings are just not clear. I can’t explain why I need to get drunk to have a good time. I can’t explain why I’ll feel fine at one point and want to cry the next.

I did tell her that I get lonely. That, at least, is very obvious to me. She suggested that I sign up to a dating site, but I am very reluctant. I know she wants me to move on and I know meeting somebody would help, but I am so closed off these days. A perfect word for me is reticent. I feel like I am a labyrinth that nobody will ever fathom.

One thing that really struck me is when my mother said that I seldom visit. I hadn’t thought about it much before, but often I do choose to spend my time in solitude, rather than in the company of family. I can’t really say why that is, but I do feel comfortable when I am alone, which is a little upsetting to admit.

It’s a little sad that we had to get drunk in order to really talk, but it felt, not so much good, but right, to finally open up. About a month or two earlier, I had also messaged a friend about my difficulties. Well, I say a friend, but they’re actually an online acquaintance I have known for some time. We’ve never been particularly close, but we have been part of the same online community for many years and she also went through a strenuous time resulting from a relationship, so I felt I could talk to her. I’m glad I did, because she was able to offer me some good advice and a different perspective. Opening up to her and to my mother, I feel like I was finally able to put some things to rest.

I hope I’ll be able to put it all to rest one day, though there’s only so far I can go myself. I know I probably won’t be able to let her go until I find someone else to give my heart to. It’s maddening how somebody can take your heart, break it, and leave it to crumble whilst they go on to flourish. There really is nothing as beautiful, and nothing as ugly, as love. I take a glance at her Facebook profile every now and then. I know I shouldn’t, and it’s a poor excuse, but I am only human. I feel resentful and jealous from time to time.

My friend — the online one I mentioned earlier — said the best revenge is being happy. I was feeling particularly aggrieved at one point, and she talked me out of sending my ex-girlfriend a message. I was in two minds about it, but I wanted to have my say, one last time. I didn’t want to feel like I had been left to rot with no consequence. I didn’t want to feel insignificant. I wanted to make it clear how she made me feel, and I thought by doing so, that would put a lid on it all. My friend made me realise that only by not contacting her at all, by truly letting it rest, will I actually bring myself closure.

That’s what I’m trying to do now. I still struggle a lot with negative feelings, and a lot of the time I don’t really know how I am, but I do know that I want to be happy, and I don’t want to give up on that. I’m better now than I was this time last year, and hopefully this time next year, I’ll be even better still. I can scarcely believe it, but it’s been two years since I started this blog. Everything seemed so utterly bleak then.

Do you know of The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus? He uses the Greek figure of Sisyphus, who was condemned for eternity to roll a boulder up a hill only for it to tumble down again, as an allegory for the struggles and absurdity of life. Camus says that even though Sisyphus’ task seems fruitless, the struggle is enough, and even though the boulder rolls back down again, every time Sisyphus reaches the top, he is able to experience happiness. Camus says only when we acknowledge the absurd, can we overcome it. While he argues that life is essentially meaningless, it is not as simple as accept it and despair, or elude it and hope. He says rather it need be confronted defiantly so people can find their own joys in the struggle, like Sisyphus.

Reading that helped me realise that I can still be cheerful despite harshness. I hate how my past relationship is still so present, and I know it won’t truly disappear, but I will be happy in spite of it all. That’s what I want.