Sir, You Need to Calm Down.

“Sir, you need to calm down.” The bartender puts her hand up in front of her and backs away from me.
I start to laugh, wondering what she is talking about. I was just sitting here enjoying my pint and I asked for another one. She looks oddly familiar. I make to rise up off my seat and ask her what I did wrong when I feel a hand on my shoulder. I turn around a see a security guard. He’s tall, blocky with a shock of red hair.
“Sir, you need to calm down.” Again, I chuckle and look around at the other patrons, only now they are not there. The young couple sitting next to me, a fair haired man and brown haired woman, have moved to the other end of the bar. They are shouting something over to me but the music is very loud. After a small lull in the music I hear them shouting the exact phrase that the security guard and the bartender had just said.

The bartender has reached the end of the bar and hasn’t taken her eyes off of me. I can see her hand and lip quivering, terrified. But I still don’t know what I have done, and look pleadingly into the security guard’s eyes. He leans in close, his blue eyes boring into mine, whispering, “Just calm down. This happens to everybody.” I wrench my shoulder from his grasp which wasn’t that strong. I burst out the back doors, passing two bouncers who tell me to go get a coffee and to come back when I’ve calmed down. I look back at them, realising they are twins. They both turn to watch me walk right down the busy city street.
Pubs, clubs and restaurants adorn each side of the street. My friends are all outside one of them, beckoning me over and at the last second turning away. I hear them say, “But you work every weekend, we didn’t think you’d mind.”, as I continue on, confused beyond belief.
Further on, I see all the lads from America. For a brief second my heart leaps with joy. Cigarette smoke blurs them in front of me, each asking the same question, “Are you coming back? You said you were.” I can’t get through the smoke and tears begin to form as I shout, “I don’t know! I don’t know anything!”

Through the haze of smoke and tears I manage to hail a taxi. I hop in, speaking to the back of his ginger head. ‘Home, please.”
“You need to calm down. This happens to everyone, it’s normal to feel like this.”
“What is everyone talking about? I’m fine! I had one fucking pint and I got refused another drink! What is it with this fucking town?!”
The driver turns around and the shock of seeing myself in the front seat causes me to jump up in my seat, banging my head on the roof, hard. I begin to feel woozy, my vision slipping.
He, I, look down at myself, shaking my head and sighing. “He’ll be grand, it’s just a bad day.”

Happiness, Parts 1 and 2.

Happiness – Part 1 – 17th July, 2018.

Oftentimes throughout the day, whatever day it is, I’ll have brief moments of happiness, or frustration, or sadness, or whatever emotion happens to strike me at that point. A hangover could bring a certain emotion. A good meal or a coffee with a cigarette could bring another emotion. What I have been struggling with recently, is that I don’t know when I last felt a pure, raw version of an emotion. When was the last time I felt true happiness? When was the last time I felt pure joy? When was I last in a proper angry mood? When did I last cry out of true sadness? Those are tough questions to ask or answer. I think that, as adults, we tend to gloss over certain periods in our lives with one big emotional brush. A whole season or year could feel sad to us because of a certain event. I can’t remember the last time I was truly sad. That’s not great. Sure, there have been times when I’ve been drinking that I’ve felt down in the dumps. Those weren’t true emotions though. I woke up the next day after these binges and felt fine after a while.

Coincidentally, I haven’t felt pure, red anger in years. I used to reserve that anger for playing G.A.A. matches but a switch flipped one day, and I just stopped caring. Again, I’ve been angry when I’ve been drunk but that isn’t true anger. That’s an anger fueled by two many neat whiskeys and cigarettes. That’s an anger I haven’t felt sober since I was a teenager. Sometimes I miss it.

I can’t for the life of me remember when I last felt true happiness. I’ve been happy when I’ve received tips from work at Christmas. I’ve felt happy when I’ve played well in a match. I’ve been happy when I’m having the craic with the lads and when I get a few likes on my blog posts. The last time I felt true happiness must have been opening my Leaving Cert results and realizing that I did well enough to get into my chosen course. Or when I was a child. I’m not sure. Drink doesn’t bring on true happiness.

This has got me thinking about what could possibly be wrong that I haven’t felt a pure, raw emotion in some shape or form. I can’t keep going on binges. How did this turn into another fucking self-examination of me, my lack of direction, emotion and my problem with drink? I’m done with this. I’m out.

Happiness – Part 2 – 11th September, 2019

A lot can change in a year. People come and go from your life. You may leave one place behind in search of something new. You may leave a place behind in search of something old. It is all a part of your own journey and nobody can judge you or question you for what you decide to do.
A little over a year ago I wrote the above paragraphs. I saved it, exited it and went back to pretending like everything was OK. And everything was, to a certain extent. I was still having the time of my life and I was happy. I was just not totally enjoying the day to day life. I look at it now and realise I should have spoken to someone. One of the lads would have listened to me, but I did the Irish thing and kept it in. In a selfish way I’m glad I did.

I moved home with the hope of doing a Journalism masters in Dublin. As soon as I realised I would be flat broke straight away I declined the offer, opting to apply for one in Cork instead. A couple of weeks later, after accepting my offer, the coordinator told me that the course would not be going ahead. I decided I would make a go of it at home for a while. Strings of rejection letters, calls and emails from jobs followed. Each one felt like a hammer blow to the chest. I wanted to go straight back to the states. I could have been forgiven for upping sticks straight away. But something in me felt like I needed to stay.

A little over a year ago I wrote that I couldn’t remember the last time I was truly sad. Now, I know it was the time I thought I had ruined my chances with my girlfriend. I sat in the car on the way back from the airport and just sunk into the passenger seat, trying to put on a brave face and happily explain my holiday while wanting to scream inside.
Coincidentally, the last time I was truly happy was this morning when I woke up to a snapchat and message from her. Yes, lads, I’ve gone soft. And I love it. And her.

I’ve felt blood red anger on the pitch a few times this year. I wish that I stuck with it a bit more but the politics of Junior football and hurling proved too much. I’ll try leave it all behind me next year and just enjoy the game. But, the anger is back, and while it is not an emotion I wish to always have, it is nice to feel that passion once again.

I do think that I need to give up the drink for a while. Or at least stop drinking spirits. My hangovers turn into all week affairs where I question my life decisions and mistrust everybody in my life. I will try document my progress here. The same goes for junk food and eating meat. I’ll try and cut it down to where I don’t eat meat two days a week. That one will be fun.

If you’ve made it through all my ramblings, I guess I just wanted to say thanks to everybody who has been a positive influence in my life over the past few years. You helped me through some dark times even if you or I didn’t know it. To the lads in America, the friends here at home, my family and girlfriend. Thanks for putting up with me and hopefully ye will be around to see the finished product. Me, as a happy old man, fat with pizza and beer.