I am writing this when I shouldn't be.
I should be working, I should be at least "pretending to work".
It's the week before Christmas and a mixture of boozing, junk food and dark cold mornings have left me in a haze.
I feel stupid.
I realise that I both love and loathe this time of year and maybe you can relate.
The thing is, I am currently one of those part-time artists trying to hold down a full-time job. A job that requires me to commute 3 hours a day no less. It pays the bills but, as I sit here at my desk, I have nothing to do and my bosses don't seem that interested.
People stop bothering with emails, there isn't much care in an office full of bunged up noses, sneezing and the same 6 or 7 Christmas songs on repeat all day every day for the entire month of December.
I work in an open office where people choose to have full-blown conversations next to my desk, swearing away about some inane Sun newspaper article, whoever won the Jungle thing or what they think of the latest celebrity couple fall out.
Even as I write there is a bloke constantly pacing across the office, back and forth, past my desk.
And I just hold it together, barely, with my headphones in...
I love the festive period for the friends, the family and the prospect of a fresh start come January, but the dire straight I currently find myself in leaves me feeling completely drained of any motivation. There is no concentrating here, the cloud of near permanent hangover has taken over, and this lingering cold just won't leave me. Oh I know what will make me feel better, another early morning stood face to face with another mouth breathing stranger on a train to the fucking edge of the world.
Okay, not the edge of the world, Middlesex.
Clearly, I choose to blame my current work situation rather than myself. Am I right?
I know it's risky to post this but I need to express this - How can writing about things you have no interest in be healthy? How can training your brain to switch off be a good thing?
Where did this procrastination come from?
I'm clearly doing something that I don't enjoy, trying to ignore people by hiding behind my ever growing fringe. It has now become visible in my eye line, like a blind that's been half closed because I'm too lazy to close it.
No, it's not the fringe. I'm not going to blame the fringe.
It isn't a symptom of laziness either, although you could probably take a look at the current state of my room and disagree. Wrapping paper everywhere, clothes on the floor, it's a seasonal tip.
No, you see, the thing is, I quite like parties and this is the party-est time of year. For the last two weeks, I have boozed every night.
My excuse: "It's Christmas"
It would be okay if I didn't feel guilty about it.
That's the problem isn't it. There are too many excuses at this time of year, too many sneaky little ways of making yourself feel better. I don't normally eat chocolate, fast food, Chinese food, none of that shit. I don't normally eat meat during the week either.
Since Monday I've eaten 2 Macdonalds, 1 subway, 1 chinese, several chocolate biscuits and half a pack of Caramac buttons.
It's now Tuesday.
My brain literally feels like a slab of fatty pork belly, complete with crackling. Where once there were thoughts, there is now gravy. I have become a Christmas slob.
Is this normal?
What's it really down to?
Is it those fucking dark, cold, icy mornings?
From April this year, I started waking up 6am, coming up with a morning routine, kick-starting my day right. I'd been listening to a lot of Tim Ferris.
I was recommended his podcast whilst travelling by an awesome dude called Ivan who has also proved himself a pretty inspiring bloke.
Tim Ferris has several podcasts dedicated to morning routines and how winning the battle of the morning is the best way to success.
So that's what I did, I came up with a morning routine revolving around a bit of exercise, a bit of creative work and the odd bit of meditation.
The sun would come up, I'd generally bask in it and feel good.
Since October that's been tough. There's not been much sun at that time of the morning for a start.
But I'm not going to blame those morning's either because I've managed to buck that trend.
I had one day of glorious blissful productivity at the end of November.
It was Black Friday, I had the day off work and, rather than lying in, decided to go for a 6am run. Upon returning I finished off some art work then at 9am, headed into London.
I went to the National Portrait Gallery, then the National Gallery.
That was when I decided, I want to make things happen for myself, I want to set myself some goals for 2018 and grow myself as a brand.
I went from the gallery straight to PCWorld and bought a laptop in the sale. Navigating Oxford Street on Black Friday should have been an anxiety-ridden nightmare but I was so convinced that I was about to make a massive step to living life the way I want to live it, I didn't care.
There was a real sense of achievement on that day, I could see the freedom, I was projecting it so clearly in my head, it just all seemed so easy.
I wasn't able to follow that through though and booze filled, dark December has currently stolen that powerful projection away from me.
Maybe I need to train myself to be mentally tougher - But when you're hung over, the last thing you want to do is get straight out of bed and go for a run.
In my head I'm just thinking, tomorrow, tomorrow will be different, tomorrow I will have some inspiration.
That is a shit thing to do, it's another cycle I often slip into - the tomorrow cycle.
My internal dialogue has turned into something quite negative, like I can't figure out what I want to draw, even though I've still be working on things for people and they are turning out great, the inspiration to work on projects for myself has all but dried up.
Or, at least, that's what I tell myself.
It's then easy to say, "It'll happen tomorrow". I convince myself in order to give myself a temporary hit of endorphins.
This is not the right attitude, in fact, it's a pattern I follow every year that leads to the bouts of SAD I have just come to accept is a part of the natural cycle of life.
These cycles have been how I've lived my life, over and over again, year after year.
Luckily I'm a different person these days.
2017 has taught me many of the things I thought were "just a given" are total bullshit. Everything can be changed, defeated, overcome.
I've managed to break out of negative cycles over and over again this year, it's one of the reasons I consider it the best year of my life.
I hadn't written anything for a while, I've been telling myself there is nothing to write about.
This is why I'm writing this very blog whilst sat here at work, present but not present. I need to get my mind back to sharpness, train myself back to seek reward in those early morning routines, escape the guilt of the hangover.
The reward should come from overcoming those difficult tasks, doing the things I don't particularly want to do, feeding the things I do want to do.
I have made my 2018 list, I know that sitting here at this desk, it's not the end game for me.
That's one of the things I have learnt this year, to be more fearless and give less of a fuck.
My conclusion, it's not Christmas's fault, it's not the hangovers, it's not even my job, not really - It's me. It's no good having a negative internal dialogue, particularly when you've made up your mind about the future.
I have made my mind up about my future.
I have set my goals.
The projection comes back, it's permanent and it will happen, I know my future will be with my art, my illustrations, my painting, my prints and maybe a little bit of music here and there.
Maybe it's the same for you reading this. Maybe your head isn't in your current routine and it's compounded at this time of year.
Maybe you are a creative, an artist who longs to escape the shackles of meaningless hangovers, dark mornings on a train that feels like it's killing you...
Maybe it's time to do something about that?
Creative legacy is what is important to me and I'll be doing it from a beach in Thailand, or maybe a city in Germany, a mountain in the Himalayas or maybe the real edge of the world.