Today is Nottingham Pride. I’m supposed to be taking part – at Nottingham Writers’ Studio, with the Rainbow Writers group. But for one reason or another, that’s not going to happen. It’s a shame, but they’ll be fine without me. If you’re reading this today (Saturday July 26th) before 6pm, you might want to get yourself down there to have a tarot reading with a difference, and listen to (or possibly perform in) the open mic event. There will be tea and cake.
So, pride. What do I feel proud of? My kids. My wonderful, funny, clever, loving young men, who’ve grown up tall and strong and kind and thoughtful. Do they need direction in their lives? Yes, of course they do. They’re 19 and 21, trying to find their way in this world that puts pressures on kids that they can’t be expected to bear. Should they pull their fingers out, focus, become responsible members of society? Yes, I guess so. But they’re getting there, on their terms, and I’m immensely proud of them.
I also feel proud of the work I do these days. When I worked as a software developer making programs that helped marketing departments sell more of their big companies’ products to people like me, whether or not they needed them, I went home at the end of each day with an empty feeling. Now, I’m part of Five Leaves Publications, an independent press that publishes new books and new editions of out-of-print books that ought to be out there, and Ross Bradshaw is now the happy proprietor of the first independent bookshop in Nottingham for a very long time. And I’m helping to run Nottingham Writers’ Studio, which is going from strength to strength. As part of that, I’ve co-managed the Dovetail project, been involved with getting Nottingham Festival of Words off the ground, and I’m now helping to develop a bid for Nottingham to become a UNESCO City of Literature. I go home at the end of every day with a profound sense of satisfaction.
Today’s all about celebrating the LGBT community in Nottingham. Gay Pride events have been happening all over the world for decades now… partly in reaction to a societal pressure on homosexuals to feel ashamed of their sexual preferences. But… do I feel proud that I’m gay? Not particularly. It shouldn’t be something that I have to feel anything about. It shouldn’t be something that matters one way or another. In fact, as I haven’t had a partner for a very very long time, it’s irrelevant. I don’t know… it’s all a bit confused in my head.
Emotions I’m feeling today are: sad (thanks to a hurtful email), inadequate (thanks to a migraine that’s put me so far behind with work I don’t think I’ll ever catch up), stressed (ditto), pleased (that I’ve finally managed to have a decent amount of sleep, thanks to that same migraine), relieved (that the heat is due to break tonight). The depression I’ve been battling for years, and thought I’d beaten, is creeping close to me at the moment, which brings in another emotion – fear. What if I get depressed again? I can’t bear the idea of being that miserable, that hopeless, that desperate. But I’m not going to dwell on that. I’ll just get on with my work, and when I go to sleep tonight I’ll feel proud that I’ve had the best day that I could have had. Either that, or I’ll wonder: what’s the point of my existence?