Here we go again
Now I’m not looking back ’cause that pain is dead
If history’s repeating
It’s worth it for the feeling

Earlier today, for no particular reason, I trawled my computer and Facebook photos to find one specific picture of myself. I’m not that much of an egotist (honestly!), but this one certainly speaks to me.

I’m on holiday, standing in front of Blackpool Tower. I’ve got one hand in the air, striking an impressive pose. The wind is blowing back my hair and a bit of the T-shirt I’m wearing. This is the first time I’ve actually worn this tee. I wore it about three times before it mysteriously vanished, lost somewhere in the milieu of clothes I still have yet to be washed.

On my face is a rapturous, euphoric expression. At the time this was taken, I was feeling free.

This is, of course, history. I can look at this picture and remember the time it was taken; I can also look at it and see things long since gone. Youth I have long since passed. A tee I loved and lost. A place I no longer go to, in a group I no longer speak to. I’m even noticeably slimmer in the picture than I am now. Should I wish to, I could look at this picture and mourn the past, wishing I could recapture that feeling.

But I shan’t.

There’s a lot of pain in my history. Whether of my own making or not. I have issues with school bullies, the mental anguish I went through with the villainous conductor of the band I was in, and the tedious drudge through 2008 – 2010, doing a course I hated at an institution I despised, the only high points being sex and cuddles with my girlfriend.

I’m not very good at letting go, either. The smallest thing can pitch me into a spiral of traumatic memories and sneaky self-doubt. I’m meant to be working on it – of course I am – I’m just not very good at that.

But I think I’m getting better.

Maybe there’s something that makes the past more of a friend. Perhaps there’s a funny blog post I wrote about it – there are plenty of those – or a pleasant memory attached to the otherwise-hideous situation. The school bullies who ended up as friends. The conductor leading a round of applause for me specifically because of my contribution to the contest we won. The time I cried because of what happened at college while my drinking girlfriend stroked my hair and told me that she believed me.

It requires a lot of effort on my part – filtering out what I want to focus on. Bits and pieces are there; it’s just finding them that’s the problem.

But I’m working on it. And, if I really can’t do it – if there’s far too much else there and history is too much to bear – then there are always alternative realities to slip into.

And there’s always porn.