I’m not necessarily in the mood to write, but I feel that I must. Sixteen years ago at this very moment I was nearing the end of a long day. Stumbling through Dublin, a slave to my need to blunt anything which may have provided meaning to my narrative, I was a man truly lost. The “Irishness” I’d constructed, three parts disease and an equal measure of convoluted disdain, was well in the process of destroying me before I’d even found time to begin. I defined myself by who and what I loved but just as much by those I felt such “love” required me to hate. I was, as Bono said, all stick on tattoos and convert shoes. I was hours from where my line began and yet I’d never been so completely homeless.
Fast forward to this evening. My wife and I sit tonight in the only country my narrative forbade me from ever embracing. It’s once again Paddy’s Day, and yet I remember every moment of my day clearly. I’ve spoken with friends, checked in with those I’m meant to, and have plans to rise early tomorrow morning, as is my routine.
On my shoulder is etched the word Freedom. Over my years of clear-eyed reclamation, I’ve regretted this tattoo. What would those I love, they whom this word was meant to unsettle, think if only they saw this inken declaration? Tonight, I have found peace (Full disclosure: this is a process, not a destination). My shoulder today reminds me to seek freedom from the closed mindedness that once made this statement seem appealing. My amends to my friends and this city in which I now sit is a constant, living process; it’s one I enjoy a great deal.
We do recover (from a host of ‘troubles’). Hate never wins anyhow, why let it hold up the victory parade?
— March 17, 2016, London.
Featured image: here.