Where Have I Been? Where am I Going?

This is a difficult post to write.

I’ve heard it a million times, that self-evident mantra of suicide being ‘the coward’s way out’ but that’s a load of shit. I’ve tried and it was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life. Unlike almost any other decision there’s no undoing it, repairing, or putting it back together.

Don’t worry this isn’t a suicide note. But, I think that’s people’s attitudes on quitting, too. Yet I love what I do. I don’t want to leave it behind.

I had a plan, certain life-shit happened that caused a major disruption (doesn’t it always…makes it hard to trust people, how easily they discard you). I then decided to pour my heart and soul into We Lack Discipline.

We Lack Discipline, I can’t mention enough, is a product decades in the making. I wanted it to be a haven for lads and ladettes from the same sort of background as me to comfortably talk history, science, literature, mathematics, astronomy and art – whatever the fuck they wanted. Just not the usual. No reality TV bollocks, no fucking sportsball – I wanted a spit-and-sawdust nerd-dive.

To do that, though, I have to reach people and…I have no reach.

I can’t stress this enough.

My life circumstances have tightened around me of late.

The people I knew in academia are gone.

The friends I had are gone.

My family, well some are more supportive than others, but regardless they’re hardly in a position to elevate my status.

I’m a very, very lonely man – a pilgrim – on a pilgrimage to spread the words, the twin truths, that the only protections we have in this world, against any and all threats, is knowledge of what may be – but most significantly knowledge of what we don’t know, maybe will never know.

To steal the Mandalorian Creed – This is the way.

The problem is the world is a different place and I can’t trudge from town to city, village-hopping my way and building a following.

Nowadays it involves branding, marketing, PR and social media management and – that stuff kills me.

I find it is a void of feeling except for a few ghostly, skeletal fingers grasping.

It’s a Stygian nightmare, a creeping river of endless thoughts, their soul and spirit dying just as quickly as it lives. Truncated messages dismissed as soon as they are casually thrown out and it’s the same bullshit as in real life.

If MC Hammer says something even remotely, surprisingly clever it gets a billion retweets, meanwhile floating, forgotten, are those spirits of the Styx that were just as clever, identical even, made by others and ignored…forgotten…dismissed.

I find that world hard to inhabit. Frankly I find it fucking disgusting. I think for a space that wants to proclaim itself some kind of egalitarian, equalitarian masterwork it’s actually an excellent showcase of elitism, exclusion, ignorance and oligarchy by the rich, famous and influential.

After my time away I’ve taken some more time away – mainly because even my time away was spent churning out articles.

I can’t stop. I write. It’s what I do.

But I can’t social media and, if that is the only means by which I can build a platform or any success then…I’m not sure I’m cut out for it.

To the people on Twitter and Facebook who gave me the time of day, gave a shit, and engaged me like I’m a human being – you have no idea how important those interactions were to me.

To everyone else well, I know I won’t be missed but let me break your little hearts. Neither would you be.

I’m hoping to keep writing, but I don’t know how much I can do the social media game.

Plans have changed so many times already. My five year plan was to build a catalogue of articles, learn video editing, put together a podcast, start making editorial video content and then hopefully at that stage have presence enough to be able to make money from my shit.

My hope and faith in making this plan decreases the more I realise how dependent on social media this plan in.

The fact is that in recent months I’ve come to realise the people I loved and did most for have done the least for me.

How the fuck am I to expect a stranger to help out? I know they’re out there, people who chuck around life-changing sums of money for fun. But finding one? One who will unconditionally fund We Lack Discipline? I’ve more chance winning the lottery.

I don’t even need much…There are people payed £250,000+ per week to kick a ball. I could manage on £25,000 a year for the four and half years I’ve got left of my five year plan!

I don’t want to stop but I also need to be aware of reality. Can I actually make this work given my deficit in the social media department? Given that I need to learn so many new skills, whilst still researching, still writing and – honestly – managing a personal life that has done me zero favours for helping me have a healthy relationship with my own work. Having a bit of funding, the ability to invest 100%, to call it a ‘job’ – To tell the DWP to get the fuck out of my face because I did it. That’d be awesome.

But that’s pipe dreams.

Then, as I always said. When you grow up in the gutters, sometimes all you have is pipe dreams.

Where have I been? Back in the dark, where it’s comfortable.

Where am I going? I thought I knew but I suspect I never really did.

Published by Karl Anthony Mercer

Like a dark-chocolate fountain at a weight loss party, Karl Anthony Mercer is an under-utilised river of bittersweetness. When not busy researching or writing about any and all non-fiction topics for 'We Lack Discipline' Karl can often be found walking, staring at wildlife or writing poetry.

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