I’ve blogged about my weird, recurring dreams before. They plagued my childhood and it’s only recently I kind of understand why i had them and where they were coming from. I used to have this really weird one where I was in my tiny bedroom which had somehow grown to gigantic proportions. I was sat in my bed, only for some reason I was about the size of Tom Thumb. There were two giant. robot, alien type creatures in the opposite corner talking about killing me as if I wasn’t there. When they realised I was listening they would start laughing and then I would wake up.
The dream always used to frighten me but it was waking up that was worse. That feeling I had in the dream where my room was huge and I was completely disproportionate to everything in it continued when I was conscious. My eyes wouldn’t focus, I would get this weird foggy sensation in my head and either tinnitus or the sound that you get when you put your ear to a shell. This would go on for minutes or even hours and no matter what I did, got up, walked around, pushed my hand against the wall, nothing stopped it. Everything just felt so huge, distant and intimidating.
It was a familiar feeling I had for years and unfortunately it’s one that I’m starting to get again. 3 times in the last fortnight I have awoke with this sensation. It is fucking horrible. It feels like you’re dizzy, you need to pop your ears, you’re nauseous and you can’t focus your eyes all at the same time. It’s similar to light headedness but not the same. It is so hard to describe. The weird thing is, I’m not having the dream, I haven’t had it for years, so I don’t know what’s triggering it.
I talked to my counsellor about it today and what I described he said was akin to vertigo, which he suffers from. I have been feeling adverse to halogen bulbs and flourescent lights recently, so much so I rarely turn on the light in my room because sometimes it makes me feel nauseous and gives me a headache. When I get this feeling, I can normally focus on one thing but then my peripheral vision becomes indiscernible, and this makes the sensation even worse. If I close my eyes, it feels like everything is pulsing, like that horrible feeling you get when your drunk right before you get the spinnies. I actually got the spinnies sober the other night which was incredibly strange, and a first for me. My Counsellor explained that feelings like this, a vertigo type thing, can be tied in with anxiety, particularly with regard to existential anxiety which is really prominent with me at the minute. Then if you worry about the sensation it can trigger anxiety attacks. I am clueless as to what is going on, looks like another trip to the Doctor is on. Poor bastard must be sick of the sight of me.
Ah Lads this song is beautiful. I can never say enough how much I look up to Dallas Green, he seems to write all his songs about me. Either that or he is as much of a damaged maniac as I am. Either way give this a listen.
This hallway’s dark and empty
Just miles and miles of endless road
I’ve got a sickness pounding in my head
I’m at the mercy of the ghosts
But what it would take to live
As if I would not another day
To live without despair
And to be without desdain
How can I instill such hope
But be left with none of my own?
What if I could sing
Just one song
And it might save somebody’s life
I sought after
After reasons to stay
I was lost
I was lost
Then the sky turned black
And the rains poured down
I was waiting
Waiting to be found
How can I instill such hope
But be left with none of my own?
What if I could sing
Just one song
And it might save somebody’s life
Then I would sing
All that I can sing
Because that is when
When I feel that I’m not just counting time
Oh, and I sing
All that I can sing
Maybe just for the moment
Things would seem all right
Oh, and I sing x 4
Not having a job is really annoying. It is incredibly frustrating and there is nothing to do with your day. No matter how hard I try to keep myself busy and to maintain a certain amount of energy expenditure every day, sometimes I get so pissed off and frustrated that I can’t really do anything.
I mean, I’m not exactly sitting about on my hands doing nothing. I have been actively looking and applying for work for over a year now. Unfortunately, I am a resident of West Belfast which is in the top 5 in Britain and the North for levels of unemployment. There are very very few jobs where I live and it is a fucking nightmare. I haven’t even got an interview in almost 18 months.
I started looking for a new job and for work when I still worked for my previous employer. I worked in a high pressure, target based retail environment and it was soul crushing. I hated every single person who walked through the doors and I started resenting my colleagues and my manager. My manager in particular. I mean, he was an incredibly nice guy and me and him had an awful lot in common with regard to music, film and TV. We always had in depth conversations about stuff we both enjoyed and I really liked him on a personal level, I still do, but Jesus that man was a terrible manager. He was a real company man, all he cared about were the facts and figures and he had very little compassion for his employees. He had no man management skills and constantly tried to do things and implement things that he thought were great ideas but actually went against everything the company wanted to do for their employees. He was also incredibly lazy, so our assistant manager did his job and I did the assistant managers job, only I didn’t get paid for it. For about 2 years he badgered me to apply for assistant managers jobs, in fact he implied that if I applied for the vacancy in our shop I would get it. I couldn’t have thought of anything more depressing.
Not to take away from my friends who still work there, it was a good job with good money and good security, but I could never have imagined being a manager of a retail shop. I didn’t want to get stuck there, enjoy the money a bit too much and be there for the rest of my life. I didn’t want that to be my main skill set. I went to University and got a degree in Irish and Celtic studies and didn’t want that to be a worthless piece of paper as I toiled away in a shop. Not that I can get a degree specific job, there are little to no Irish jobs here and I don’t know if I want to be a teacher or not (not to mention I don’t have a teaching qualification as of yet).
The job itself was making me miserable, to the point where I dreaded going into work every single day. I was so unhappy, and this place and job were multiplying my unhappiness exponentially. One morning I woke up and told my mother I wasn’t going in, and that I didn’t want to go back. So I didn’t. It was and is the best decision I have made in my recent life, granted I didn’t have any money but the relief of not having that place on my shoulders every night when I left and on my days off was amazing. At first, I was really struggling with the depression and anxiety. My mum had just had a heart attack, we soon found out she had cancer, my own health was shambolic and my relationships weren’t going well. The realisation of my parents mortality brought a lot of memories rushing back, ones I suppressed and am only dealing with now (as I have previously mentioned). I couldn’t go out on my own, I couldn’t talk to anyone other than the Girlfriend. She was brilliant at this point. Always there and always trying to help me.
When I got better after a few months I began the process of job applications. I didn’t tell anyone for completely counter intuitive reasons. I always viewed myself as a failure and the constant rejection or ignorance from potential employers made this worse. I didn’t want the girlfriend, my family or my friends looking at me the same way I did, so I didn’t tell anyone. I blamed myself, whether it was my ability to fill out applications, my lack of qualifications or just that I was a dickhead. It turned out that some of those around me looked at me as if I didn’t care and as if I was some sort of waster because they assumed I wasn’t looking for work, even though I was. This left me absolutely heartbroken, that some of the people who I loved the most looked at me like this.
I didn’t want a temp job, due to my health issues and disability I get looked after much better by social welfare than most (although it is still absolute bullshit and no where near enough to exist as a normal human being). I wanted a job I would have wanted to do and I would find fulfilling. A job that could make me happy. I applied for a lot of jobs, a lot of admin work because I liked the idea of getting paid to get on with work and not talk to anyone, a refreshing change from my previous 7 years of employment in the Retail and Service industries. I think I got 3 replies. All of which were rejections. I couldn’t understand, I have a lot to offer in skills and experience to almost any potential employer and none of them could see it. Every rejection or case of ignorance I was on the end of just chipped away at me. My view of myself as a failure compounded, supported by views of some of the people around me.
I got little bits of occasional work with my cousin, who owns a management consultancy company. It was great work, I taught myself how to use Excel and Photoshop to do what he needed me to. I got given work and didn’t get bothered until it was done. It was exactly what I wanted. He had this amazing model that is beneficial to any form of Government, be it central or local, and things were looking incredibly positive. I was working under the promise of a great, well paid full time job once everything was signed off. Unfortunately, the pitfalls of modern democracy and the bullshit bureaucracy that follows it seem to have pulled that carpet out from under me. It’s all heel dragging and non-commitment, which I have learned is par for the course when dealing with any Governmental Department. Filled with incompetent and/or lazy fuckers who know they will get away with rarely doing their job properly, if at all. I have no idea how Western Governments can run if this is the standards with which they work to. Even though every body My cousin has met loves what we have to offer and has said it needs to happen, including MP’s and MLA’s, there is still little to no movement. I’m annoyed because I felt I was part of something great, I felt I was helping to build something that would not only benefit me and my cousin financially, but would provide a excellent and necessary service to people in The North of Ireland. Now it seems to be getting taken away from me.
I’m still applying for jobs, there are a few that have just came up in my local health trust that really interest me so I’m going to apply for those. I’ve worked for the trust before so hopefully it’ll put me in good stead, plus I know a lot of people who work there who are in important positions so hopefully I can get a good word or helping hand. I know I can’t give up. In counselling I talked a lot about my failings, about how looking for work made me feel like a complete failure and completely useless. I’m now starting to accept that the current economic situation, and the competition for these small number of jobs, is what is affecting my chance. It isn’t me, I’m not useless, I’m not a failure, although I have to reaffirm these sentiments to myself every single day. I’m still trying, that’s the most important thing.
I, like the vast majority of the population of my city Belfast, am getting incredibly exasperated by this whole situation with “The Flegs”. In case you’re new to this or haven’t been paying attention, a small group of Loyalists within Belfast are trying their best to bring the North to a stand still and rioting like idiots because the Union Flag on 17 designated days over council buildings, bringing us into line with the rest of the UK (I’m not a big fan of the union, but I do realise that we are part of the UK).
I mean the whole thing is counter intuitive. By rioting night after night and by trying to do nothing but disrupt every day life for the rest of Belfast, they are undoing any scrap of legitimacy that they may have had in the first place (and they had very little). I mean, it is obviously all based around sectarianism. This small group of brainless fools are angry, angry because they have come to realise that Unionism and Loyalism no longer hold complete sway and make every decision unchallenged in Belfast. They’re losing the unanimous control they held for decades, even centuries, and are only angry at “uppity Fenians”. They can no longer push the Catholic/Nationalist people about, we have a legitimate voice and they are infuriated by it. By doing what they are doing now, they are trying to let all of us know they still exist and can do what they want. I have heard numerous stories of people being abused and attacked in the city centre for wearing clothing associated with Nationalism (Celtic or GAA Gear). Not but yesterday they marched passed the Short Strand, a small catholic enclave in East Belfast, chanting “if you hate the fucking fenians clap your hands”. I think almost everyone seen that ugly woman poke her head in the broken window of city hall and scream “NO SURRENDER” like some sectarian harpie.
In the few weeks it has been going on, it is evident that they CAN do what they want. Obviously The boys on the Hill in Stormont nor the City Council have caved in but the PSNI have done very little to curb the hundreds of rioters on the Newtownards Road every night. In two days they fired 7 plastic bullets and used a water cannon. No baton charges, very few arrests. Those throwing petrol bombs and bricks, obviously attempting to maim or murder these police officers, are not held to account for their actions. It is obvious that there are vast differences between these rioters and how they are treated and any catholic who takes part in any disorder. 7 plastic bullets is ridiculous. During the summer when there was trouble in Ardoyne over the 12th Parade, they fired alot more than that. They beat those rioters with batons and made dozens of arrests. It hardly mirrors the inaction at the moment. The typical double standards that the Police have towards these two polarized communities in the North. The most frightening thing is that Unionist Politicians and Police have admitted that this is more than likely a push for UVF recruitment. The vast majority of the rioters are members of a disenfranchised youth within Loyalist areas. Growing up having hatred in their hearts for things that happened long before they were born, these kids are being taken advantage of by men who do not care about anything other than murdering anyone who opposes them. Men who are using these kids for their own advantage. It’s so sad.
I have a number of protestant friends, right minded people who do not care about the sectarian bullshit that has gone on here for years, who are embarrassed by the current situation. They hate the idea that people in the Nationalist community and abroad will think these people represent the true values of their whole community in the North. They hate the idea that these people genuinely believe they are representing all Protestants in the North. The fact is, most Protestants, like Catholics, do not give two flying fucks about any flag. A flag is nothing but a piece of cloth that has meaning projected onto it by people who wish to manipulate it. The whole thing is representative of the beliefs and wants of horrible, violent and manipulative men who are frightened of losing power. It isn’t about the removal of the flag, it is blatant opportunism aimed at what I said before, reminding us they still exist and still hold some form of Power. Any Politician who has spoke out against them or condoned their actions, included their elected MP and MLA Naomi Long, have received death threats and bullets in the post. The politicians on their side are irrelevant. Not a single man or woman in political office has endorsed their actions, all those who do have never been in office because they do not represent the majority. represent a tiny minority of narrow minded bigots. Take Willie Fraser for example. A man who claims to represent the political ideals of all people of the Newtownards Road, who has ran in several elections within the community he represents yet has not once been voted into Office, either Council seat or MLA. A number of times he got so few votes that he didn’t even get his deposit back. I think this reflects the true thoughts of the majority of people in East Belfast, that they want to move on with what we have an are willing to meet Nationalism in the middle for the greater good of everyone in the North of Ireland. They do not want to desperate cling on to the horrible, embittered past of these tiny 6 counties. They are not represented by these people.
It is such an embarrassing and frustration set of circumstances, one that needs to end soon. Businesses within the city centre, particularly those within the service industry, are really suffering. The protests and rioting are putting the livelihoods of business owners and employees of businesses all over Belfast in jeopardy. With the current economic climate, the job situation in Belfast is dire enough without this happening. I reflect this, 3rd level educated and very experienced in my facets and I can’t find a job, yet this could be made all the harder by what this small group is doing to our City. They wish to return to a darker time when the City Centre became a ghost town after 6 O’Clock every night because it was too dangerous for people to venture outside where they lived. We also depend so heavily on Tourism and interest in our recent past but people are going to be put off the idea of coming here by this. Please don’t. All the trouble and violence is isolated in one tiny area that is not significant in terms of tourism or our city centre. If you walk a quarter of a mile down the road you wouldn’t even realise it was happening.
Belfast isn’t burning, despite the fact some people want it to. It’s heartbreaking.
This is a song I wrote a while ago. Again recorded it on poor equipment (also apologise for the wee fuck up in the middle). It’s weird that I wrote it with a time like this in my life in mind, before it ever happened. Hypothetical at the time yet completely fitting now. I’m a regular Nosta-fucking-damus