Once upon a time, in a land, buried far in the east, I opened my door and stepped onto my cool, dusty balcony and filled my lungs with the warm, humid night air. I was bare-footed and wearing just a pair of shorts and a baseball cap. The weather in southern China can be horrifically dense and hot in the summer, sometimes making it hard to breathe. I looked around and adjusted my eyes to my surroundings. I scanned the buildings around mine and took note of the static lights coming from tiny industrial cells holding families and groups of friends, all piled on top of each other, one by one, all the way up to the sky. There was a group of people dancing in the park, a few blocks away, and I could hear the distant sound of their music playing from huge speakers on the pavement. There was the usual traffic that you’d expect to find on a Saturday night in a place with a lot of ‘bustle’, such as China. I could see the coffee shops below where groups of trendy kids were hanging out, surrounded by their parked up mopeds. It made me wonder how many people had been there to meet friends or for a first date with someone. I allowed myself to smile slightly before I brought myself back to my task. Shaking off the ten-thousandth mosquito of the night and composing myself, I edged towards the railings of the balcony.
They say that before you die, (or, at least, before a near death or ‘enlightening’ experience), your whole life flashes before your eyes and you suddenly see things in perspective. Whilst putting both feet on the railings and pulling myself up to the top, the feeling of vertigo took me and I began to see my life before my eyes and remembered why I had chosen to climb up there in the first place. Stood there, balancing on the railings on the balcony of my apartment on the 23rd floor, I remembered my boyfriend, who, as always, was not there, and was probably being embraced by some muscle man with a tiny penis. I remembered my dad who died when I was 11, and I thought about my step-dad who, died when I was 20. So much sorrow can be experienced in one’s lifetime, and it can make you see things in ways that you wouldn’t usually even dream of. And on that note, I had a big decision to make:
“Do I jump, or do I go back to bed and start again?”
Needless to say, unless I am writing this from the fiery depths of gay hell, I chose option B.
Far too often, I overhear (or admittedly, when on public transport, I listen on purpose) people complaining about things in life that have happened to them. Sometimes, I want to go over and hand them a copy of my book about my life and show them that it’s going to be OK. However, I am yet to complete that book, and if I went over to someone on the number 8 bus on a Friday morning and told someone to snap out of it and get on with life because it’ll all work out fine, they’d either punch me or kick me of the bus.
The fire that we carry inside of our very being isn’t something that was started by your douche-bag ex-boyfriend. The swagger in your walk isn’t defined by how many likes you received on Tinder, your achievements in life were not and are not achieved for anyone else but yourself and most importantly: The sole purpose of ‘you’ is not in existence for the approval of any creature on Cher’s green earth, except you.
So I propose a new approach on things. Instead of going ahead and accepting that the worst case scenario is the absolute definitive conclusion to the story of ‘you’, let it be the end of a chapter that no longer needs to be written. When you find yourself crying because you were screwed over by a man who looks like a barracuda with no teeth, or when your boss doesn’t see and appreciate how much you have achieved or how hard you have worked for them, when your friends take you for granted or when you’ve just plain old stopped giving a flying f*ck, remember that you always have a choice. You don’t need to cross those railings. Sometimes, going back to bed and starting again is all that you need.