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This is the second part of a two-part article. To read the first part, click here.
It is at this point that the world began to change before my eyes. Kuala Lumpur was going through a revolution, a media frenzy… a war. The world was not going to take this lightly. So we jeered at the oppressors of British Imperial Rule and shouted for Joy as the Harimau Malaya scored a goal against England in friendly, which finished 4-1 in favor of the Brits. Who would have known?
It was an uneventful summer, spent in remotely excessive levels of time spent with friends speaking of the good `ole days. Life was good, but as things would be, I am only, at best, a modest man in the eyes of the representation afforded.
I am turning 22 in December.
I was never going to wait forever to learn the ways of the Force and become a man like my father. It just was never good enough for me. It really felt hopeless and uninspiring. By now I had already changed, I was looking for something else outside of national spirit and pride. Kuala Lumpur became like a foreign land to me.
When I arrived back in the United Kingdom I had arrangements with Benjamin to move out of halls and into our own council home in the neighboring town just on the outskirts of Farnham. We lived in relative comfort, considering that it was a council home we were renting. I on one hand lived in a drying cabinet in a three bedroom house.
Benjamin, Richard, Justin and myself began our journey into the comparative unknown, but together. Personalities clash, as they do, but generally we got along. Only one of us(Justin) had a car so for the rest of us it was a two mile hike everyday into the campus grounds.
This is when I first met Sarah. She sold tickets to nights out at the Union, and housed herself comfortably in the ticket booth where she would mostly scrawl nonsensical notes into her journal.
After a lecture, one day I would find myself walking into the Student Union, making my way to the washroom. I turned to look at the ticket counter, perhaps, checking to see if there was a clock. Sarah gazed over at me. We made eye contact. I would like to say the rest was history, but as relationships go, things I never quite as straight forward.
I continued my trek into the washroom, ventured forth and began to feel a warmth come over me. It was her. So I did my business all the while growing increasingly keen to make my first acquaintance with her. I had already grown quite accustomed to the culture and by now had already made friends, simply put I never felt quite more at home then I did at that moment. All this and I had not even finished peeing yet.
I exit the washroom and make way to the ticket booth to introduce myself. She was right. I did take a fancy to her, but unbeknownst to me at the time, I thought she felt for me. Is it right? Is it wrong? Left, right, up, down, centre… It made no difference. I was taken.
We had an awkward conversation, but she never seemed anymore confident in her reproach on toward me than any latter encounters we were to ever have. I know now that she was protecting me, in what way I will never understand.
Film School became formulaic, run-of-the-mill and matter-of-fact… nothing thwarted anyone in the class of 2004 anymore than any book, which could be thrown our way.
It was not until 2nd year when I started to come into my own as an individual being raised at one of the top film institute’s in the Greater Surrey area. Subsequently it was also the end of the second year screenings, where a few of us gathered in grand escapade of the exhaustive arts known as hallucinogens.
A few of us packed our camping gear and headed to Glastonbury.
Generally we all did our own thing while at the festival, but it was not until I danced the Martial Arts to REM and Coldplay, with Benjamin, Jody, Dominico & Amy, did I start to feel truly liberated.
There were copious amounts of drugs consumed. Mostly downers in the forms of Marijuana, Magic Mushrooms and uppers in the form of Ecstasy, where drugs were being used by our party to stay relevant. The four hills provided the boundaries for what would be a perceived heaven.
It is often argued that non-pharmaceutical drugs take you to heightened states of Euphoria, opening up channels by which to experience the energy of the world, or the Power of God. The truth may lie in the derivative, but who would really pardon the sin or contest the argument when there is nothing but fear. However, the love I felt, and the energy that had awoken in me stemmed from the people that looked my way. I began to transform physically. My face was that of the boy Jesus… Maybe I was afforded that, within the confines of the four hills.
I was probably about 24 at the time. And, it is not until after this point did I feel begin to question the nature of God and the Universe.
Schizophrenia did not loom over my detestable soul until a little later in my life. Probably around the age of 26, upon graduating university.
It was in 3rd year that I began to question the works of Joseph Campbell, with particular interest in, ‘The Hero With A Thousand Faces’. The most natural inkling was to think of narrative, which coincidentally was the subject of my third year dissertation. I began writing and almost did not stop hallucinating.
It was at this point the visions of destiny began to take shape in convoluted forms and confused itself with my hallucinations. In short, I do not think that I ever came down from my high at Glastonbury. All said and done, I believe my angel must have left me. You see, prior to this engagement with the music festival known only as Glastonbury, I had grown accustomed to making good decisions based on hypothetical would be situations. I was in big trouble and I did not know it.
You are afforded a lot of personal time, in the third year at the Surrey Institute, to work on your dissertation, a 10,000 word essay answering a question of your choosing. Granted I did work on my dissertation with ardent fervor, I still had not allotted enough attention to the task at hand. It would be most imperative in deciding your final grade. I finished with a second class lower.
But this did not concern me. What did concern me was the final daydream, a mixed blessing, an image of a man made of smoke, which was to be the subject of the film which I was to write, as a means of extra credit, to help boost my final grade.
I began to have very lucid daydreams, which were drawn over days on end. I was hopelessly despondent about why I was not getting tired. Surely one would fall faint in the sight of extended periods spent thinking. Or, maybe I was daydreaming, either way I could not really be sure. The point of course, remains, I was afraid I might fall ill or collapse at the sight of these lucid images, which at the time I believed to be destiny calling my name, yelling out and telling me to write.
What concerned my course mates the most was that it seemed that I was walking around the campus grounds looking a little aloof. They confronted me and I responded by saying that I was simply looking for answers. As ambiguous as it may seem there is a point. I was clearly not well!
In the years (two years) to come I would seek help, but not before my mother had voiced her concern and reached out to my housemates regarding my depreciating mental condition. I had become schizophrenic. It may seem bleak, but there was a silver lining. Many years later(9 years) I graduated to Bipolar Disorder and the doctors had finally stabilized my condition.
I am coping but the most frightening moments of life came in the form of external voices seemingly reaching out to me to haunt me in manners unfashionably alien to me. Part of the coping mechanism was to separate the voices into key and distinct voices and until they no longer tormented you. My experience tells me that no one is going to help you unless you seek help. But, you must be willing to make that first step. Be brave and venture forth. Start fresh. And maybe, someday you may, just like me, be a survivor and a man who stands again at the tender age of 35.
But the story does not end here. There was still one unresolved issue. The victory and the acquisition of the ultimate boon. How do I mean? In some way I believe I was to complete the Hero’s journey in my heart, body and mind. It was never a choice, nor would I ever assume it is for the faint of heart, but one thing remained. How do I get over this pining I had for this lady friend I had fallen so desperately infatuated with. How do I get over the loss of love from a friend I had hardly ever met.
I found the strength in me to address the things I so held dear to me and the things my family always believed to be my failings. My vanity, my arrogance and lack of tact, all summed itself up in a single moment. Yes, I finished the movie script, which later became less of an expose on me and more of a portrait of her. An honest reproach on thy self and a selfish endeavor from me onto her. I guess, even in glory, no one is truly perfect.
Life is a series of choices. Do make your best effort to make the right ones.