The Therapy Diaries Chapter 6: Each Time I Turn Around I Wonder Where You’ve Gone

What is a person? And moreover, who is a person? Smarter people than me have been debating this for thousands of years, and I’d appreciate it if there could be an answer already. Living in a permanent existential crisis is no good for my sleeping pattern.

I know who I am, I mean the bare bones of it. I’m Robert Laurence Welbourn, born 1987, 34 years old, author, one published book, lots more unpublished. These are immutable facts. I have blue eyes, gingery-blonde hair, I’m 6 feet tall, I have two feet, two hands, two ears, one nose, and all the rest. I live in England, have done so all my life. These are all facets of me, that makes me, me. But what is me?

If you were to ask me if I’m Robert Laurence Welbourn the literal answer would of course be yes, but the metaphysical or metaphorical or whatever, figurative answer, would be how the fuck should I know? You tell me. I heard a song on the radio this week, in which the singer implored their lover, or wannabe lover, or whoever, to say their name. Say my name, say my name (it wasn’t Destiny’s Child, something much more recent), and it got me to thinking. You hear a lot in popular culture about lovers saying lovers’ names. Timothee Chalomet (sp maybe?) broke out in a role in the film Call Me By Your Name. Lil Nas X has a song with the same title. There’s so much in a name, that for as long as there have been humans capable of communicating, there have been humans dying for their lovers to say their names. And yet, I feel nothing. I feel no connection to my name, other than its legal definition of me as a person. It says who I am, but it doesn’t say who I am. Does that make any sense? Does any of this?

My basic question is this: is my name who I am, or is it only one facet of my being? Am I my hopes? My dreams? Am I my memories? Am I my actions, whether remembered or not? Am I the people around me? Am I those that love me, those that hate me, those that know I exist but it doesn’t affect them either way? Am I the things I do, or the things I say, or am I the things I want to say, the things I want to do? Am I my film collection, my book collection? Am I my favourite author, or my best friend? Am I my fiancée?

Am I all of these things rolled up into a package, and for better or worse, that package is me?

Can’t someone just please fucking tell me!!!

Uh oh, multiple exclamation marks; I may have lost my mind.

It’s black Friday today. Everyone’s favourite day of the year: spend spend spend! Fuck the consequences! This TV is only £999. It was actually only £799 yesterday but we’ve stuck a massive banner on it saying reduced, because we believe consumers to be idiots! And we treat them as such! Because if our business fails, the government will just bail us out! Because capitalism only exist for the poor, the rich all live under socialism already!

I plan to buy nothing today. I don’t even plan to look. I mean to be honest, I never buy anything on black Friday anyway, but I do usually look around, see if there are any bargains to be had. But not this year. This year I know, without even looking, there are no bargains. Because there’s no such thing as a bargain when it comes to shopping. No matter how small the monetary price tag of an item may be, that doesn’t reflect the item’s true cost. The actual cost of that item is someone’s exploited labour. Some poor bastard in a third world country (horrible phrase, but I haven’t the time or inclination to go into that right now) who slaves aware for pennies an hour/day/week, just so you and I can feel good about ourselves ‘saving’ 10% or whatever on a slow cooker or a landline telephone holder, or some other shit we don’t need, and wouldn’t buy anyway, but can’t refuse that giant ‘reduced!!!’ sticker.

Black Friday would be bad enough, were it not a thing made really popular by that most awful of companies, Amazon. As it beefy old baldy Bezos hadn’t fucked the planet enough, he’s now turned the entire world mad for a long weekend each year, all in the name of hoarding more gold under his bag dragon arse. Because, like I say, Amazon didn’t start black Friday, but they popularised it, and now there’s no escape. I mean, there’s no escape from advertising anyway, but now thanks to Amazon, for a large part of the end of November, that advertising is all black Friday bullshit. Yo, ee, I’m not going to buy a whole new phone just because you’re going to chuck in some free headphones or a carry case or whatever. Tesco, my man, keep your fucking mince pies. Dear the BBC; I know you don’t sell anything, but each and every black Friday article you post is selling a little of your soul to our corporate overlords.

(I’m aware of the irony of my writing this article about black Friday whilst I criticise the BBC for doing the same. Sue me.)

Amazon Smile is trending, because people are encouraging others to make a donation to their chosen charity when they buy shit today.

Can you imagine living in a world that wasn’t this ridiculous. A quick google tells me that the company is worth $1.75 trillion. Yep, trillion. I’m not even fully sure what a trillion is. A thousand billion? So a thousand thousand thousand million? Numbers that big jut don’t compute. Luckily (???) they’ll never need to.

Can you imagine living in a world where a $1.75 trillion dollar company, rather than imploring you and I give to the needy, gave to the needy itself? Can you imagine living in a world where the richest people help others, rather than have a dick measuring contest in space?

I may have to contradict this entire article and make one black Friday purchase. Does anyone know how much guillotines retail for these days?

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