Lying here in the dark I am as helpless to stop all the bad things in my head rushing towards me as I am to stop the low grey clouds outside rushing in from the sea in the dying hours of the day.

My part-time factory job looks rocky, the company I work for about to be taken over by a corporate Godzilla that devours and tramples, slashing and burning as it goes and so all the illusions of security are disappearing again to reveal all my shortcomings.

I am 47 now, 47, single and half deaf and in a world where its hard for a regular young person to find a job. Things do not look so good for me.BLACK DOGGIN_0035

I am not alone in these straitened times but I would like to have someone to share these hard days with, a warm body who also happens to pay half the rent and bills.

The marrieds will say it is not that easy but it’s not easy to be alone either with everything that anchors you about to jerk loose letting you slide into the void like a climber without a safety harness whose rope has been violently sawn through,

It is times like these that life comes into sharp focus and we ask ourselves how did we get here, how did it come to this?

Some people see a lonely and isolated life as being gloriously stress-free, the epitome of freedom. It is nothing of the sort. It is not where I wanted to end up but it’s what happens when you have no confidence, when everything has been made fuzzy by depression and hormones and bad hearing.

For the last 15 years I have woken up with a lump in my throat knowing that I am the failure no-one thinks they will be, the guy in Robocop who gets slaughtered for no other reason that to demonstrate his powerlessness in the face of superior firepower.

26 ED-209


It sounds like I am whinging and those for whom life works, whose efforts gain traction in the world will think I am. I am not. I am not looking for compliments either. That would only make me feel that I am inept at using any talents I may have.

I am trying to be real, trying to honour the way I feel sometimes, trying to write it out to see if I can make sense of it, fix it. After all these years I am still trying to fix it. And maybe someone else out there feels the same.

I am also sick to my back teeth of the positivity culture and the cute little memes that clog my social media sites.



It’s not that I don’t have gifts. I have all the pieces but I was never able to put them together for what reasons I am not sure. My earlier lack of confidence and self belief. My bad hearing. My depression. Stupidity, laziness, learned helplessness.

Failure is often touted as a good thing in these days of motivational posters and self-help books but failure to even begin?Every time?It doesn’t feel so good to me.

Meanwhile everyone around me seems to swim through life. It may not be easy but it happens. I am not talking about spectacular success here or even ease just the ordinary life that most people seem to accept as their due, all the stuff everyone takes for granted while waiting for the ‘good stuff’ that never happens to happen:the partner, the kids, the house.

Those things to me are as impossible as flying to the moon in a saucepan. (Hey, I can do without the kids but a house would be nice and some company…) MOON

A woman is in court she has been badly abused as a child, she has suffered, her life is destroyed. Her husband and children are with her. I want to ask her if she is badly damaged, if she has no life and she can still make a family what does that make me?

Life has just never happened. Its like I live in a vacuum. Another person meets someone falls in love, gets married, buys a house, has children. I fall in love, get dumped. Start again. In every part of my life the story is the same.

Another person starts a job, works, gets promoted, trains, changes jobs, forges a career. I start a job, work, it ends. Start again.

Another person starts running, trains, runs races, does more training, does longer races, runs a marathon. Me?I run, get injured, start again. In every part of my life I am stuck at the starting line.

I am like a one-legged duck going around and around in a circle on a muddy little pond under a grey sky.

You can’t look back at where you have come from with any satisfaction when you have just travelled in a tiny circle. Now that would make a good meme…


I used to imagine that one day I would find out what was holding me back, I would find the big metal bolt on the door to my personal prison and I would slide it back and walk through into the ordinary chaos of a normal life. Now  after a life of drink, drugs, sobriety, fitness, laziness, creativity, reclusiveness, sociableness, spirituality, venality, trying, not trying, running away and staying I think it is unlikely I will ever be free of this place.

I would like to know at least why I can’t move forward. Is it something I did in a previous life?Or in this life?Is it because I was born on a Wednesday?Is it because I ate meat?Is it because I have killed so many flies?Do other people not kill flies?If I stop killing flies now how long will it take before the Karma catches up?



Sometimes I feel I am trapped under an invisible shield, like an insect trapped in a jar, the victim of a cosmic being with the mentality of a seven-year old school boy.

And so people pass me by. I don’t begrudge most people, we all have our own paths but what I do find hard is when the bad guys do well. The bad guys were never supposed to win.

The bad guys are those people who allow their weakness of character, their fear to overcome their better parts to bring down a friend because of an unrequited crush or envy or sheer mean-spiritedness or ignorance. These people, I begrudge them with all my heart.

They approach barely clothed in the rags of pretended friendship baring teeth that seem lined with blood only looking for a way to inflict damage for reasons I find impossible to understand. Bitterness?Fear?Habituation to causing pain?

A fellow artist with a husband, kids, fancy house, money, freedom has a show of paintings. On the opening night I go to sincerely congratulate her and she says…

“You see?you’re not the only one who can have a show!”

She spins away triumphantly leaving the imprint of her thin-lipped mouth tightly stitched with lines of bitterness on my soul and you wonder at the greediness of a spirit that not only wants everything for itself but cannot allow anyone else to have anything at all.MY LIFE

Fear causes people to behave badly too. Many years ago some artist friends sat me down and explained to me why I was not an artist because, as I understand now, they feared I would push a standard on them they could not meet. I was devastated as they took not only my dreams but also my ability to trust.

Then there are the casual ones who hurt because they breathe, the women who tell you how sexy your ex-boyfriend is looking, laser eyes probing for a flicker of hurt to feed on.

I have forgiven of course, I have no need to hang onto such characters but I have never forgotten. It doesn’t do to forget to keep your hand out of the fire.

It may be bad of me and bad for me but I would love to see them fall, I would love to see some Karma in action. It never happens.

Maybe its the Catholic girl in me the one who I don’t want to believe exists, the ghostly survivor of a religious upbringing that made me believe that bad guys would get their comeuppance but as time wears on it has dawned on me that either that’s not the way it works or else somehow I am the bad guy. I am certainly the loser.

I am no angel for sure and I have the usual range of human feelings boiling in my heart at any given moment but I would rather die than ask anyone to carry those feelings for me by unloading petty or hurtful remarks on people who may be struggling with their own demons.

Still. Those are other people and I have to try my best not to compare. Comparing makes me feel bad. I just have to deal with what I have and do what I can do.

So here I lie in the dark with a pain in my chest and my throat constricted listening to the wind howl as it chases the dark roiling clouds over head feeling like a big fat zero knowing with a sinking heart that the bad guys are winning, have won. But mostly I am taken up with wondering how the fuck I am going to deal with the next round of shit coming my way.FURIOUSER AND FURIOUSE (3)


8 responses to “LOSERS & BAD GUYS

  1. You know that little one legged duck, the one going round and round in circles under the grey sky? She speaks to me, and she keeps going on spite of all the shit. She has a beautiful voice too, that is so painful to hear raised, but she must raise her voice and scream out the pain over the sound of the sea gales. And do you know what? It’s a true and real voice so full of courage, that it scares me. Kinda like the mouse who roared but this is a one legged duck who roared. Good on ya Clare, let’s hear it!!!!!


    • Ah thank you my darling, you are making me laugh. A roaring one-legged duck….I’m liking it. There is something there…an image…Thanks Catherine. I feel better for getting it off my chest, writing is such a balm.I have a slightly nicer one in the pipeline for later in the week. See you soon. I want to view your trophy too-so glad that the bad guys who win are in fact in a minority and plenty of good and deserving and talented guys like you win too. xx


  2. What a relief to read ‘reality’ and not have to lick the ‘too sweet to be wholesome’ positivity that will soon cause social media and possibly me to explode! You’re not getting any sympathy from me but here’s a bunch of sea-salted empathy with a night light thrown in!
    As I write, I think of how Garrarus must be tonight and wonder about a midnight swim, smoking a cigar, and winking at the stars …..


    • Thanks Jean. Yes that ‘one size fits all’ positivity is maddening and worse isolating. I know you know how tough life is. Sometimes its nice to let off steam about it. Just writing about it makes me feel better. So glad you are not giving me sympathy which I don’t need but a lovely vision of a mysterious night time Garrarus which I do….


  3. This is the post I have always wanted to write but never had the courage. Except for the deafness, I can relate to everything you said, and wake up with the same feeling of why doesn’t anything work. Thanks so much for writing this.


    • Rachael, that is so good to hear, it makes me feel less alone and if I have made someone else feel less alone thats a big win. Keep fighting, maybe the keeping going is what its all about. Good to know you’re there. Thanks.


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