There are so many beautiful, brutal, exquisitely illuminating human experiences playing out all over the world every single moment.

Sometimes I imagine them, and wonder if they’re real.

Sometimes I wonder if all our imaginings are simply us being offered a glimpse of another’s reality. Another being; another time; another world. Would that be more or less extraordinary? Is our gift, our skill, measured by our ability to build up out of the abyss, or to say what we see with deftness and clarity, as we peer through the portal we’ve happened upon?

I don’t know, and I don’t think I need to, but I like to imagine what could be true.

Wordgame: Norway

I have a weirdly vivid memory of being obsessed with the 2009 Eurovision winner, Fairytale, by Alexander Rybak, for a few days after he won. It was a weird time in my development, as I had all but left my goth stage, but I hadn’t quite emerged into the wider world, so I didn’t like to admit to myself that I enjoyed things like that…but at the same time I kind of wanted to admit it to everyone, as though they should be equally fascinated by the novelty of it.

I think it was the celebratory energy with which he sang “I’m in love with a fairytale, even though it hurts, ’cause I don’t care if I lose my mind, I’m already cursed” that truly hooked me, though.

I hard related to that declaration. That was my mantra. That was the meaning of my life, as far as I could tell. Every single word of it. A weird mix of brutal, unblinking self-awareness and determined, romanticised, exultant masochism.

I played that mantra out to completion. For many years it was, truly, my life’s work. It lost me my mind, and I had to build a new one. And standing several years to the other side of whatever portal it sent me through, I can see that it’s still true for me, but it’s different now. I can’t articulate what the words of the mantra have changed into yet; that’s something I’ll need to sit with. But the core of that journey is there in me, and always will be. It’s part of what makes me who I am: That fatal flaw in my ego has been transmuted into what I believe to be strength.

I will always be willing to lose my mind for the sake of saving my heart.