A heart of doubt.

A new year approaches and so we make resolutions. Join a gym or at least go back to the one that we’ve been paying for and not using. Stop smoking, drink less alcohol, lose weight and be healthy, take up a new hobby, spend more time with family and friends, the list is almost endless. Those are all pretty common so you might choose things that are a bit more personal.

Answering yes to more questions, to more chances of experiencing new things. It’s easy to shut yourself off at times, to just be on your own but maybe intrinsically you know that you need to mix things up now and again. The word ‘Yes’ is a sentence, first resolution makes the list. Learning to say no to other things, it’s a failing if you’re trying to please everyone all of the time. The word ‘No’ is also a sentence, second one sorted. You can be a kind person with a good heart and still say no to people. You want to know when to say no when you need to, but also when you say yes, the people around you know that you mean it. Setting boundaries can be a good idea. Sometimes you need to let people in, to let new things in or to let some things go if they’re not making you happy. Three for three, that’ll do for now, baby steps, right?

You need some things, people you care about, that you love. Sometimes you find those people when you least expect to. You can just click with someone and know that you’re both going to get along, you don’t have to pretend to be anyone else or anything that you’re not. Sure, sometimes your relationship will be going great and at others, it’ll be a bit of a struggle.

Last night we were more than fine.

In the middle of checking into a hotel and whilst the process is taking place, I look around and see her sitting in the bar. She spots me stealing a momentary glance, I’m so busted, but I get a smile so naturally one is returned. I concentrate on the person sorting out my room though, being rude is no bueno. Key collected, bags unpacked and a much needed shower after a forty hour journey is welcome. A beer downstairs follows, she’s still there and we strike up a conversation. She’s friendly, but our time ends with that one drink. A couple of days go by and I don’t see her.

Walking around the city, I randomly bump into her a few days later, smiles and awkward hugs are exchanged and we go for a drink. It turns out we like a lot of the same things, she’s also into spicy food, tequila, travel and girls. I didn’t see that coming but I like hanging out with her so why not continue to do so, everyone has friends that they’re not into in a romantic way. We have another week in the same city and we spend a lot of time together, eating, drinking, exploring. The friendship is formed and it’s sad when she has to go home.

Sussing out the benefits of any relationship is down to no one else but yourself. You can be around someone initially that you think you’re attracted to, but as time progresses, the friendship takes over and those feelings fade. No romance is on the cards but wouldn’t you want to be friends with the kind of girl you’d believe if she told you that the earth was flat and that Skittles fell from the sky? Sometimes you just vibe with someone.

We’re in touch regularly and she’s super polite, always asking about family and friends, about what’s going on, generally just a cool human being. Do you ever have a friendship though that’s a one way street? You’re always the first person in touch, the quicker to reply.

You text me when you feel like, when it feels right to you.

Days, weeks, months pass and we’re cool though, we speak, we hang out when she’s here and when I’m anywhere near her. An invite is extended to bring in 2020 together with other friends, she accepts and a plan is made.

Her plane lands, I pick her up and nothing has changed, the chat is seamless, it’s like we’ve never been apart. Neither of us have girlfriends but only one of us is looking for one, first time being a wingman for a lady.

The last day of the year is here, food and drinks with friends, always good. The bells toll to bring in the new year, we hug as is the case with everyone else, but she kisses me hard and it takes more seconds than it should to pull away. Conversing becomes difficult as I shake my head and tell her that we can’t. I love her but I’m not in love with her. It’s probably something that would’ve never happened if it wasn’t for a shit ton of tequila. Not all common interests are good.

The pain on her face is almost palpable, those falling tears hurt even more, but it’s down to excess on a special night of the year. It’s hard to look at the ruin, but it’s harder still not to find beauty in her decay, sometimes all you want is to get or give a hug.

Who doesn’t like being kissed? It has to be right though, if it’s not, then what’s the point? Isn’t it better to feel bad for a moment by saying no and stopping things going too far rather than harming you both in the long run? It’s okay to misjudge things but you always know when something isn’t coming from the right place.

On your lips just leave it, if you don’t mean it.

@TheSamMcLeod

When you’re lionhearted.

As a new year approaches, isn’t it the best time to say goodbye to some people and some things, and hello to a lot of new stuff that could change your life in the year ahead? Perhaps the most exciting part is that you have zero clue about what any of those things might be.

Transformation isn’t an easy thing, it’s often full of chaos and can be the start of a lot of conflict with yourself. Change is scary, it’s okay to be a little bit frightened about the good and bad things that await you. Maybe the point is though, those things are a chance of a shot at inner growth; a rebirth almost, where you restart yourself, when you realise who you are once more. There’s fuck all wrong with learning to learn again. You remember what you’re all about and the game changes, one moment could decide it all.

Good things can prompt you into thinking about the year ahead, a choice about new decisions. Jobs, relationships, travel, new friends, additions to your family, the list is almost endless. Flip things though, and it’s the same for all of the bad. Losing a job, a relationship ending, losing a loved one, life has a way of putting up obstacles that stop you getting on with what you need or want. Does anything ever remain as it was?

When the bad shit happens, we all know that it hits hard, and so we need to decide on certain things, about how we continue, about how we move on. Realising that you can find that you know exactly what to do in all of those dark days has to be a crumb of comfort, doesn’t it?

It’s not always easy, sometimes we brace and then fall.

It’s normal to lose confidence but it’s not normal to stay down. Now and again, we all have to stumble or fall to reach the next phase of our lives. Do you ever dream or feel like that you’re standing on the edge of a metaphorical cliff looking down and thinking, ‘I need to do this, I need to jump, it’s the only thing that’ll help me move forward?.

It doesn’t matter a lot of the time what you’ve done in your life. The friendships you’ve made, the breaths you’ve taken, the words you’ve spoken, the people you’ve fallen in love with, you’ve got to start over. Undoubtedly, between the optimism and pessimism that we all juggle with, we reach for either chance or stability, to try and carve out a sense of belief that we’re all on the right road that we want to be on.

It’s not always something that’s said out loud but as midnight approaches, don’t we all think to ourselves, ‘Next year will be my year?’ Let’s hope so for every single one of us.

This year can do one. The loss of a loved one, the end of an important relationship, serious injury, life threatening illness, having to move house and change jobs. Fuck you 2019, 2020, I’ve got this.

Anguish, grief, hurt, loneliness, regret, no emotions that any of us should have to feel on and day, week, month or year but it’s just life. It can be a tough road but you know that some things will only scratch your surface whilst others will hit you at your very core. You get to decide which are which though because you’ve got this too. Suss out the emotions you need to have to start the year in a strong way, right?

Good news will come your way in the year ahead, and whilst it’s hard not to be able to share your joy with the people you miss the most who are no longer around, thinking of yourself should kick in again. Retain the love, respect and thought for others, but do you.

Sometimes you wake up one day, just like any other, and you decide that you don’t like it anymore. So, you make a change. You need to be selfish at times and do what’s right for you.

Sometimes we don’t fall at all.

@TheSamMcLeod

Fist fight with the mirror.

It would be pretty amazing if we all could have a superpower, what would you go for if you could pick one? Invisibility sounds good, but definitely has the potential to get you into a shit ton of trouble if it malfunctions, I know you know what I mean. Superhuman strength would be awesome, think of all the things you’d be able to do. Move your house somewhere else without actually moving house, you’d have zero chance of losing a fight. Flying? No more need for plane tickets, who wouldn’t want to spend every weekend somewhere different? Super speed? Hello Olympic gold medal and a new world record, stand down Usain, I’ve got this. Telepathy could be a plan, but wouldn’t the moral dilemma that comes with knowing everyone’s private thoughts worry you? Unless it’s that one person that you think you might be into. Better to know than not without having to put yourself out there, right?

Couldn’t it be possible that your own personal powers are some things that you have to deal with every day? Compassion, humility, kindness, strong decision making about what or who it is you want? Perhaps the ability to never get things wrong can be a superpower.

Have you ever done something that you know you really shouldn’t have? Maybe there’s a tiny bit of rebellion within all of us, to make a choice about something that’s a terrible decision in hindsight. The age old idea that if we have a bit of forbidden fruit, our lives will be all the better for it is misguided, isn’t it?

There aren’t a lot of people in this world who are either brave or silly enough to not change, fair play to them. Sometimes you need to though, if someone isn’t making you happy any more, then why are you wasting your precious time? It’s easy to move onto someone else but maybe your point of view gets to the stage where you decide that you never have to say goodbye to someone if you never say hello in the first place.

I guess it’s kind of messed up.

There’s a girl, she’s new, chosen over someone who gets left behind, good or bad decision? In time, she becomes closer to me than most people have, yet still there was distance, an interesting dichotomy. That said, could she be a glimpse of a new life? She might be the one that I could grow old with together doing all of the things that you love to do with someone. Quickly, wrinkles appear though and we’ll definitely not be buying each other birthday cards next year. Time to make another decision, iron out the wrinkle or watch as it gets bigger and bigger. No one is a fan of ironing but for once, it’s going to be more cathartic than watching.

Daylight fades and vulnerability kicks in. With a head full of bad ideas in a bar beneath Fenway Park’s bleachers with a view of centerfield, more beer is not a good idea if you’re eleventeen drinks deep. It’s a real number, don’t even @ me. Still, a decision has to be made, and it’s the right one for a change. The night is closing in and there is no grey, things are very black and white. I gave up the best girl to settle for someone else and now I have to face the consequences, all I can do now is brace for impact. Sure, ponder the emotional turmoil, it’s okay to be alone in the world and now it’s inevitable, can’t be stopped, can’t be slowed down.

A quickening of breath happens just before the words are said. She’s a walking awkward silence, turns out no one has ever had the stones to break up with her. We all numb ourselves at times to make room for the hurt and pain that you experience with someone but don’t you want to try and remember only the good things about them and not the absolute shitshow that they’ve caused for you? A good decision over a bad one.

It would be easy to ruin a life by taking revenge, but I’m not that guy, she’s managed that all on her own.

Someone I respect more than 99.99999% of people in this world once told me that something good stays good forever. He was wrong. It would be grim to think that nobody’s story has a happy ending but this story isn’t over yet. I need to leave, to move on, out of sight, out of mind, no way am I going to miss her or this place. I can’t wait to get away, some memories are good to try and lose. Forgiveness is a personal thing, it doesn’t depend on you being in touch with the person who caused you hurt. When you’re afraid and angry because of what someone’s done to you, it’s more than okay for those emotions to feed off of each other.

Maybe if I can make it past her, I can stay in my own shadow forever, it’s no fun living in anyone else’s. Time to see if it’s possible to find harmony out of heartbreak, nothing hurts like thinking I’m not good enough.

I wish I never met you, but it’s a little too late.

@TheSamMcLeod

Catch Oh Wonder on tour next year.

Tour

Looking for the right one.

Johann Gottlieb Fichte, a German philosopher wrote a book called The Vocation of Man in 1799 where he explores doubt, faith and knowledge. In it, he posits that, “You could not remove a single grain of sand from its place without thereby changing something throughout all parts of the immeasurable whole.” It’s basically the butterfly effect. The thought that a butterfly can flutter it’s wings in China and cause a hurricane somewhere else on the planet. Chaos theory tells us that it’s the little things that really change the world, ergo your world. A random encounter with someone you’ve never met before, but who’ll impact your life further down the road. Reconnecting out of the blue with a long lost friend and rekindling your past relationship. It’s up to you to pursue those if you want to, just the agony and beauty of choice.

You make choices every day, sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re wrong, but you do what you think is best for you. Isn’t it true that sometimes things are decided for you?

It’s okay to be scared of new things. It’s also okay to think that you’re stopping yourself from liking someone new if someone old hurt you. Leaving someone behind is difficult, there are some people that you know you have to let go of that you hope you won’t think of every day for the rest of your life. If you’re even contemplating the possibility of a new experience, don’t you want to try and find everything in someone that’s the best for you? Is it a naive hope to build something new when you’ve been fucked over? Sure, there’ll be certain people that you like, even though you think you can’t possibly get them. Maybe they’re taken or maybe they’re just not right for you.

Maybe you need to realise that perfection will not come.

A meeting in a hotel bar happens through a mutual friend. If you ever want to fully appreciate how attractive someone is, simply watch the people around them. Girls do what girls do, give their male partners that look warning them off from even glancing in her direction. Some eye her up enviously, whilst some are complimentary about her handbag, outfit or shoes. As a boy, never underestimate the power of knowing what Christian Louboutin shoes look like, trust me, it’ll serve you well.

There was a first glance between us, the sort of flirty gesture that lasts just long enough to blur the line between innocent and suggestive, my friend could be onto something. We’re both staying in the same hotel for the same length of time and a lot of it ends up being spent together, although nothing happens, despite the amount of dancing around the possibility of it. It was a tiny bit presumptuous on her part, but she told me on the first night that no kissing would be happening, she had a boyfriend. She’s got more balls than a table tennis tournament for even thinking that was on my mind, but as usual, ladies are always correct. We flirted constantly, but because of the boyfriend thing, there was zero point in pursuing it. Nothing wrong with having some harmless fun if you’re single though, especially if you’re getting the same in return. Boyfriend or not, she’s moving to New York for work so it’s an easy decision not to get too involved, no matter how much I might want to. A day comes, she leaves with a hug, no numbers are exchanged.

Just under a month later, an invite from a headhunter drops into my inbox about more than one job in New York. No reason to say no, they book flights and the trip is made.

The first night ritual has changed now that I’m doing this alone, no more rooftop beers in the shadow of the Empire State Building, it wouldn’t be right. I’m four drinks deep into Pappy Van Winkle at Whiskey Ward on the LES and headed for five. Next stop, The Rusty Knot on West 11th which probably has the best jukebox in the city.

As I walk in, I stop dead in my tracks. The average adult brain has trillions of synapses, mine are firing all at once, there she is. Over ten thousand bars in this city, what are the odds? It’s unexpected and I hate that, although at the same time, it’s pretty cool. The chance, the sheer impossibility that it could even happen. She has home field advantage though, batter up. It’s like submitting an application for the Darwin Awards for even wanting to talk to her, there are more than a dozen deep breaths. I should have realised that the song currently playing was a sign.

She seems shocked in a good way, although my explanation of why I was in the city wasn’t even a distant cousin of convincing, seems you’re never too old to be tongue-tied. She held my gaze but her eyes revealed nothing. Words and drinks follow. She apologises to me within the first ten minutes, turns out there was no boyfriend, she was just tired of boys hitting on her. Fair enough, she owes me no explanation. Now there is a boyfriend in Manhattan though, but if I move, she’ll end things with him to be with me. I know PI to over a thousand digits but I can’t work her out, how is that a tempting offer?

It doesn’t take long to decide, money is thrown down for drinks and I say no and goodbye in that order.

She hugged me tighter than anyone ever has, but it’s wrong to start something new based on a lie. Is it also wrong though to chase that feeling that twisted your mutual past into something so beautiful, even if it was brief? Sometimes you have to tell yourself that you can’t be blinded about what you want to believe, it takes balance. Thing is, if you never let anyone in, you’ll never get fucked over again. If you can treat someone that way, you can do it to anyone, I want no part of that possibility. I’m sad about it but I’ve been sad before.

Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.

@TheSamMcLeod

Wishing it’ll all go away.

Learning new things can never be bad. Random facts, finding out about your ancestors, new words, pretty much anything, every day can be a school day. Sabahah is an Arabic word for what is essentially infatuation. We all know what it feels like to be into someone, maybe it’s the best feeling in the world, just as long as it’s reciprocated. Is there a worse emotion than the hurt of someone not wanting you though? Millions of us can identify with that feeling of looking at that other person, wanting nothing more than to be forever around them, but knowing deep down that it’ll never happen because they don’t like you back in the same way. It’s horrible, it’s painful, the French call it douleur exquise, unrequited love. An irrational crush, infatuation, shit, maybe even an obsession, whatever you want to call it, you’re either on the giving or receiving end of it.

Maybe infatuation is when you think you’ve found somebody who in your eyes is absolutely perfect. It’s all bullshit however, none of us are, but it’s easy to get carried away if you think you’re falling for someone. It’s not to say it’s bad, if it makes you feel good, then clearly that’s not the worst thing in the world. It’s different from love though, right? Infatuation at first sight you can understand, but not love.

Sometimes when you look back on a situation, you begin to understand that it wasn’t all that you thought it was. A beautiful person walked into or came back into your life. You fell in love. Perhaps you just had a major crush. Infatuation can’t be sustained forever though, can it? If somebody thinks that they can never get enough of you, don’t they always want more?

If you’re just out of any relationship and someone shows interest in you, it’s normal to be flattered. It can be overwhelming though, especially if that person is a bit too full on. Also, if you’ve taken the time to evaluate everything that went wrong before and what the things are that you want from someone new, don’t you become a bit more fussy? No one should have to settle.

At which point do you become brutally honest, especially if it’s with someone and a friendship that you don’t want to lose?

Just tell her the absolute truth? There’s not a nice way for me to say that.

One day it all bubbles to the surface when I finally click. Honesty is the best policy, it’s a difficult conversation. That punch to the stomach, the adrenaline to the heart, neither of those things are there. Don’t we all want someone who blows our socks off? Fuck, our shoes, even our underwear too? Is she good at what she does for work? Most probably, but she doesn’t challenge me intellectually. No one expects to be with the hottest person in the world, but we all know that some of us would be punching above our weight in any couple, even if we’d never admit it. We should try I was told. All of the ‘shoulds’ in the world mean nothing if you’re not both invested. She told me I was a narcissist, pretty harsh, but I get it to a degree, no one likes to be turned down. No one else should accept someone that they don’t want either, just because it might be easy. The wife of one of my best friends told me that when things ended in my last relationship that she knew it was destined for disaster because, ‘She was never a Sam type of girl.’ I think I know where she was going with that and it’s been stuck in my head ever since.

As expected, the conversation is a dumpster fire. You could fall in love with me, she said. Shit, I love you enough now but only ever as a friend was clearly the wrong thing to say. I could’ve told her that I was seeing somebody but that wouldn’t be true. I know how to make this girl laugh but I definitely don’t want to know what makes her cry and I don’t want to be responsible for her tears. It’s all a bit late now, and it might seem harsh but I didn’t ask for any of this.

Do you get to a stage where you realise that the probability is that you won’t want to have another serious relationship? Between what she told me about my high demands, it seems unlikely that I’ll need to worry about that too much. Are they high though? I just know what I want. There’s something about the beauty of order once you realise what it is you desire and you can’t expect someone to share an unpredictable life, especially if you’re not going to commit everything to it. There’s a distant resignation, this chase has finally ended.

She’ll never be my story to tell and that’s how it should be. The silence feels right, but you know I want you to be happy.

@TheSamMcLeod

This is madness.

There are some situations in life that you know you’ll have to make a decision on, to weigh up and decide if they’re the right or wrong thing to do. Your world can be at a crossroads, but you still have a choice. The two are mutually exclusive though, aren’t they? Neither direction can necessarily feel like a good one, and whilst there might not be a perfect choice, there’s always a right one. It’s okay to second guess yourself, for your mind to alternate between nonsense and sense, between that grey area of right and wrong. Sometimes, maybe it’s better to be irresponsible and right, than to be responsible and wrong.

You still need to live your life by some rules though. Be compassionate, be humble, be kind, those should be the easy ones and aren’t restricted to gender. You ladies have some sort of code when it comes to dealing with boys, don’t you? Most boys do too when it comes to ladies, rules are no bad thing. Sure, they can range from genius to ridiculous, but they are what they are.

Lunch or drinks with a friend’s girl is absolutely fine, cinema trips or dinner are off limits though. If a friend splits with his lady, nothing more than a shrug and a lot of beer gets offered or is even expected. No hugs will take place. Moustaches are banned, except during the eleventh month of the year and only if you’re raising money for Movember. If a friend is on a blind date, you’re obliged to work reconnaissance and report back with a nod or a shake of the head. If you’ve spent the whole day trying to dodge the result of your favourite team so that you can watch it back later, no discussion will be had about the game when out with friends. If one of you lucks out and gets a girl’s number, forget about the three days to call her rule. It’s always at least five, a week if possible. You might want to call her straight away and that’s understandable, but you’re taking one for the team here. If word gets out to her friends that you called her the next morning, soon enough all ladies will expect a call the next day. If you’re out and about as a group, it’s implicitly understood that whoever is looking for someone new, always hits on the second, third or fourth best looking girl in a group if they’re really looking to get the girl who catches their eye the most. Sexist? Possibly. Shitty move? Absolutely, but there are times when you can use jealousy to your advantage that comes complete with a high success rate. Unfortunately, the sisters of friends are off limits.

Sometimes the right thing to do isn’t the easiest thing but you intrinsically know what’s the correct choice. As with a lot of decisions, you can easily fuck up. Choosing someone new that you know isn’t a good idea because they’re already with someone else has to be up there with the most stupid things to do. It might work though, right? Do the rules still apply if you don’t know the other party who’s unwittingly involved? A copout? It might not be the most popular thing to do, but if it’s right, then popular doesn’t matter. Are the rules even that important if someone closer to things than you are willing to break their own?

Some chapters end and new ones begin, a day comes when it’s time to work out your story is going to be. Every new relationship starts with a fire inside of you.

Strike a match, it’s pure insanity, so pour the gasoline.

We’re both out of our minds.

In hindsight, it’s a fucking terrible idea, and whilst I know that I don’t fully understand her, I like her. She has a curious loneliness, as well as an absolute puzzle of a personal life. Somebody who needs an arm around their shoulders or a kind word can easily fall for someone because they’re now experiencing something that isn’t happening at home.

Calls are frequent, messages are constant. Geographically, we’re miles apart, but emotionally she’s almost sitting in my lap. A day comes when the miles have lessened considerably, although she doesn’t know that yet. Should an impromptu visit happen or not? It’s normal to ask yourself several questions but they’re not going to steer you in the right direction if they’re variations on ones that you’ve already asked.

A night out follows with East Coast friends. As usual when out with the boys, no relationship advice is asked for or given, but the beer side of the unwritten agreement still holds true. We’re in Proletariat on St Marks, drinking beer from Upland with papaya, mango and guava, two bottles should cover the five a day needed. Turns out that in the space of an evening, I’m good for about a fortnight. Cue a bad decision, the heart rules the head and another flight is booked. Everyone shrugs and carries on drinking, no one is touching this emotional dumpster fire.

The flight leaves at 11:11, I should have known. There are a lot of theories as to why that particular time is special, but perhaps the most common is that when you see these numbers, you should make a wish, and then that wish will come true. Even a short amount of time has a way of changing things though and the warning signals finally started going off, all in the space of under two hours on a plane. I don’t want this wish to come true. It wasn’t a dream but it felt like a bad one. If someone is willing to betray the person that they’re with, why can’t they do the same to you?

She doesn’t know I’m in her country, far less her town, but I see her with her (in)significant other and I know I’ve made the right choice.

A journey south is made and Bar Raval it is for tapas and drinks alone, before the hotel and moving my flight forward. Zero sleep happens, at a touch after 7am, watching the sunrise with a beer, the morning sky was as misty as my eyes. I’d hoped I was wrong but I knew that I wasn’t, head rules the heart for once. It was a silly thing to do, a stupid trip to make. Three hours later, I’m New York bound.

The experience hasn’t been a complete waste of time, a new rule had been added. Being single will save you a shit ton of stress rather than sticking about in the wrong relationship.

We couldn’t live a lie.

@TheSamMcLeod

@YouMeMusicLife

You can pick up Thrillchaser’s debut album, ‘A Lot Like Love’ now on Apple Music, and you can find them at http://www.thrillchsr.com, facebook.com/thrillchaser, instagram.com/thrillchasr and at twitter.com/thrillchasr. Go and say hey.

A dark world aches for a splash of the sun.

By their very nature, having problems is a problem. There has to be a solution to every one of those we have going on though, whether we realise it or not in that moment. Living life is a bit crazy sometimes, a bit shitty a lot of the time, fucking intolerable on occasion, even though you know intrinsically that you’re lucky to even be able to complain about it or them at all. Once you click , don’t you do what’s best to make things better for you, even if you can’t make them right? The sooner that you handle a problem, the better things work out is a common perception, but sometimes you just can’t face things.

Now and again, you just know that you need to take a break from everything you have going on because when you’re struggling to deal with your everyday scenery, all you want to do is run away. Drive until you run out of fuel, hire a motorcycle or camper van and see what stories you can experience from your escapades. Get on a bus, a plane, a train, just be somewhere different, not only geographically but also in your head. No matter how spectacular your view, if you see the same thing every day, it can grow stale. Depending on what you have going on, a solo trip ticks way more boxes than taking someone along for the ride, sometimes you just need to be alone with your thoughts, sometimes you just need to try and forget. Whatever it is, we all get the instinct to run sometimes, what’s wrong with disappearing like a magician’s rabbit when you need to? You find what works in terms of making you cope. Have a sore head? Aspirin should do the trick. That persistent cough that won’t go away? Cough syrup is a shout, although it won’t cure you, it’s just a temporary fix for your symptoms. When you’re hurting, you’d take a temporary fix, wouldn’t you? There’s nothing wrong with dropping off of the face of the earth for a while.

Maybe you just need to heal yourself, to restore life the way it should be.

A letter arrives but the handwriting on the envelope is unrecognisable. Inside, it’s typed, unsigned and once read, throws into question something that’s been the most important thing for nearly half of my life, it’s the emotional equivalent of a trip to an abbatoir. It’s maybe nothing, but it might be something. Outside the sky is clear, but there are storm clouds brewing. How many emotions can one person experience in a few seconds? Rage, heartache, anxiety, hatred, before rage again, something that should be an everyday dream is quickly becoming a nightmare. There are so many questions, but who likes questions without answers that don’t come. Until your head is straight, running your mouth without thought is never a good idea, sometimes you need to try and come to terms with things yourself first, and sometimes it’s what people don’t say that’s the most important. Trust has gone and vulnerability has popped up in it’s place, never nice for anyone to have to cope or deal with. It’s second nature to overthink things, paralysis by analysis almost. You’d be as well trying to grab a fistful of water when something floors you and you’re unable to keep your head right. There’s not enough oxygen in the world to make you feel better when you’re internally broken but are still trying to look okay on the outside.

Time for some metaphorical cough syrup.

Have you ever wanted to just rock up to an airport and get on the next available flight with no preconceived plans? What’s wrong with spending a night in one place, exploring and then heading to the airport to do it all again the next day? Travel can be a temporary fix, right? Amsterdam, Kos, London, the most overrated city in the world, but the rules are the rules. Bogotá, Washington DC follows, where next? Zero clue but that’s the beauty of this. Staring out of the window at the skyline searching for answers that won’t come is a bit of an emotional hangover. It feels good to stop hitting yourself in the head though, nothing positive comes from feeling like you’re sitting in a lifeboat in a sea of shit.

Running parallel to the Potomac brings realisation. The blackness is no longer quite as bad, it’s more of a grey now. My iPhone pings, a message arrives from an unknown number. ‘Did you get my letter, let’s talk if you want?’. Fuck, I’d like to tongue-bathe Anna Kendrick, so I guess we’re both going be disappointed. Why be anonymous in the first place?

You’ve fucked with me, so I’ll mess with you even worse once I figure out whatever the hell this is. You punch me, I’ll punch back way harder on any given weekday and all day on a Sunday. Just know that the same hammer that shatters glass forges steel.

The night comes, bourbon is poured and I listen to the sounds of the city whilst staring at the lights of the nation’s capital. Feet are put on imaginary brakes because it’s not time to go back and face whatever this is just yet.

It’s easy to look like someone who’s been worn down by the wind, but whilst you might not like the way your world works right now, you know that you’re not naive enough to think that you can change it all. Sometimes you just need to try though, if only for yourself. One more spoon of cough syrup.

@TheSamMcLeod

@YouMeMusicLife