The rough with the smooth - In the name of Thiago - Day 319
And yet that sensitive side betrays me and the right to feel proud about those achievements sometimes lessens. Often when I tell people about this blog, I start by introducing the context - I'm a grieving parent and I've been doing this amazing fundraiser. But then I might say, not always, just sometimes, "don't worry the blog's not all doom and gloom" as if I have to justify its existence. Thinking about that as I am now, in a slightly messy emotional state, I recognise that as being ludicrous. I don't have to justify anything on these pages to anyone.
There's my justification, he's right fucking there. Look at those big beautiful eyes, breaking hearts. No, not me you stupid fuckers, the little man - Thiago Frederick Leite Gibbs. I know you knew that, I just needed to create a little light-heartedness.
Today is International Men's Day. It's a strange one to be honest. We have this day once a year, which this year at least, coincidentally - or maybe not as the case may be - shares its space on the calendar with a day that is truly worth celebrating: World Toilet Day. When my network connection at work kept dropping out this afternoon, I did wonder whether I should instead simply celebrate International Men's Day parked on the shitter with a brew. I feel like I've missed a trick now!
I'm talking about International Men's Day not because I'm an international man, those days seem to be a distant memory these days, but because I attended a virtual event today where a bloody fine fella called Nick Little spoke from the heart. Nick runs a community interest company called The 12th Man I've actually written about them at work when talking about male suicide but Nick and I hadn't connected before. Well we did today and I'm very happy to give The 12th Man a plug here. Guys - there's always someone out there and as the spoof cricket commentator Billy Birmingham would no doubt have said in The 12th man I used to know.. "Don't you fucking forget it!"
I am feeling extremely emotional right now. In nine days' time it will have been a year since I lost my little hero. Writing that fucking sentence cuts me like nothing I've ever known. And yet even though I'm proud of myself, I'm questioning everything I'm doing. Why can't I trust myself, my decisions, my ability? Why does everything seem so overwhelming? Why am I completely overwhelmed by every little thing? My head is spinning, my concentration is all over the shop and all I seem to trust is my instinct to write.
I actually pushed hard to present at the event today. There's a strange paradox at play here. I knew that I had something special to offer at the event, something that would have appealed to many average chaps like myself just looking to do the best they can for themselves and their families. But I also knew that if I'd been making the call, I might well have had second thoughts about putting someone in my uniquely awful position forward. That all sounds a bit weird but hopefully you kind of know what I'm trying to say. Just too much of a risk ultimately, even if I am an extremely confident and engaging presenter. Hey, I recognise enough of my faults to be permitted a little self-indulgence occasionally!
And that picture right there sums up the 'risk'. How do we know he won't blub, in fact how do I know I won't? Truth is, I probably would cry. Cry like there's no fucking tomorrow, because for my little hero there won't be one. And that fucking hurts in ways that I find almost impossible to explain, although to try to do it justice I'll simply say that it's like I'm being disembowelled while fully conscious. It fucking sucks.
But to cry is how I cope. And if you're feeling utterly shit, I'd encourage you to do the same. Does that make me any less of a man? If you think the answer's yes, then clearly you're reading the wrong blog as men, fuck it as human beings for Chrissakes, we are different now.
I'm broken, I'm damaged in ways that hurt me and everyone around me. But I'm a man, a good man and I'm not ready to give up the fight. For Thiago, for Angelica, for Elisa and for fuck's sake frankly for me as well. I'm never going to give this up.
It doesn't seem quite right saying this after all that but if you feel able and happy to do so, my NHS fundraiser remains open. If you're helping them, you're helping me folks.