I was chatting with a dear friend last night.
I realised that though there had been many good things in my life, for many decades now – maybe even in my childhood too – I had never been able to enjoy my wants: only express – and in small part redress – my needs.
I had been struck down with strange physically undiagnosable epilepsy at the age of ten, just as I became the head of my house at school. And from that day on, it seemed every good was inevitably to be followed by a bad.
And I learnt never to ask anything of life.
And when I got married and we didn’t make love on our wedding-night, I expected this and saw it as a true reflection of what life had to be.
And when the physical contact of life in the street was not matched by a trust within our own four walls, and when life was to become that of brother and sister living under the same roof, I expected this and saw it as a true reflection of what life had to be.
And when I had a nervous breakdown in my early 40s, after failing at creating a multimedia-learning business, I expected this and saw it as a true reflection of what life had to be.
And when I fell deeply and profoundly in love outside such a marriage, and then lost that person in awful awful circumstances, and then fell into a deep and more than decade-long depression, I expected this and saw it as a true reflection of what life had to be.
But now something is beginning to allow me to see my life in another way.
Now I have changed; now it is all different; now I am much more ambitious for myself. For others too, to the extent that I may; but not to the extent that I stop being ambitious for myself.
And I begin to feel I have the right to ask, not just give; to receive, not just donate; to be outward and sociable, not just inward-looking and dutiful.
And so this morning I choose a happy love-songs playlist to listen to. And Amazon has just algorithmically delivered a cover of the song you can listen to below. And for the first time in my life – not on bended knee, not cowed, not bowed, not unproud, not doffing my cap to those I fear worthier than me – I ask of life to give me what I want.
I ask of life not love – for that is not life’s to confer (only a person can do this, in good faith and out of their goodwill) – but, rather, the right to be and exist on my own terms.
I ask of life the trust it has always demanded of me.
I ask of life the pleasures it has never allowed me.
I ask of life not to be fair with me, but unfair. To give to a man – who had never learnt how to be happy until today – all the riches and rights and desires and leisures and work and satisfactions and professionalisms and moments of grand social joy, and enthusiasms galore which never never never has he ever enjoyed, nor dreamed of being able to enjoy.
Don’t be fair at all.
Just be gloriously unfair.
We can sort out the bill afterwards.