Friday, 7 December 2018

Putting it off.

Putting it off. As if the moment will be better in a future that does not exist. “I will feel more like it then.” 

I was going to write a piece on love, because I want to write a longer piece on love. And yet here I am writing about putting things off in an attempt to put off the piece on love. Maybe I should just sit down and write that.

Sometimes I think if my surroundings change I’ll feel more like writing. If I go to a cafe, if the music is right, if I’m looking out from the window at a busy street. I’ll write then. I’ll do my work then.

I am also hard on myself. If I binge-watch a series, if I have a lie in on more than two days in a row, if I have a nap. I feel bad about it.

But if I just sat down and did the stuff I needed or wanted to do, if I didn’t have such a struggle in my head about it, I could relax without any hassle from my internal monologue.

I wonder if I could just get that voice in my head to shut up. Well, we’d all be much more chilled out without that problem.

The thing is you don’t take much in of anything when you’re constantly telling yourself you should be doing something else, all the while another voice is telling you to put it off.

It is a wonder I get anything done with this endless monologue. Endlessly putting ‘it’ off, endlessly berating myself. All a figment of my mind, I suppose.

I did not write this blog post in a cafe, the rain running down the window, a hot cup of coffee steaming. I wrote it on the sofa on my phone, finally finding the energy to pause the TV. It may not be a post on love, but at least I stopped putting it off.

And that’s the first step, right?

Friday, 30 November 2018

Vulnerability.

Sharing personal experiences, private thoughts with the Internet makes me vulnerable. Sharing the blog in posts on Facebook where new friends, old friends, family members, basic strangers and even people I've dated can see quite deeply into my thoughts - it is an act of vulnerability.

The play I wrote recently and performed in front of strangers and close family and friends, it was also deeply personal. Perhaps more so than I allow this to become. I was there, my face was there, and as much as I was performing and putting on a show, I was adding another dimension to the expression of myself and thoughts. I was so vulnerable. I will be vulnerable when I perform it again, in a new way, to another audience (less forgiving, perhaps, than one at the Edinburgh fringe).

But I do not mind being vulnerable. I think, even, that I seek vulnerability. Maybe I thrive on it. Erinn Gilson says this: "in seeking invulnerability we specifically ignore the constitutive aspect of vulnerability, the way in which we become who we are through openness to others."

I found this quotation whilst working on my dissertation, which, unsurprisingly, is a project that is personal to me. I stopped and thought, "is this what I do?". Not seeking "invulnerability", but the opposite.

I become who I am through my openness to others. Whether that be in writing, in performing, in the friendships I form.

I find that I need to be open in order to connect. Not in a perverse way, not in making my material open to some sort of voyeurism. I mean, in the most honest way I can. Always sharing, always being honest. It brings openness and closeness to people every single time.

I have become, and continue to become who I am in this way. In being vulnerable, in the best way.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Twenty one.

On Sunday I will turn twenty-one. Twenty-one, somehow, seems a lot bigger and even more grown up than twenty. I am guessing that happens with every birthday from now on, each one a little bit more daunting. But I am excited, twenty-one is also big and exciting. What happens now? Where do I go next?

To celebrate, I have decided to write a list of things I have learnt in the twenty-one years I have existed on this planet. Twenty-one things for twenty-one years. Here it goes.

1) There is nothing that can provide greater pleasure and satisfaction than good food. Food is beautiful and I am extraordinarily lucky that I have always had a good relationship with it and that all varied sorts of it are available to me to enjoy.

2) It is okay to eat loads of carbs and very few vegetables on some days, but not all the days.

3) Something which can almost provide the same amount of pleasure as food is having your hair played with, or someone touching your back. I think it is a beautiful feeling and is a part of my love language.

4) My mum is still the best at doing this.

5) I am one of the luckiest people in the world and this is because I have a beautiful, complex, intense, loving, curious, and supportive family.

6) I am one of the luckiest people in the world and this is because I have made some of the most brilliant friends that I know are here for the long run and they fill my life with joy every single day.

7) I am endlessly and unconditionally loved by some wonderful people.

8) I have so much love inside me for and from other people sometimes it feels like I could burst or fly up to the ceiling like something out of a Road Dahl book.

9) I have done brave things in my life and I am allowed to feel proud of myself.

10) I cannot help everyone who needs it, and I cannot solve the problems this world has right now, but I can put in my best efforts.

11) Pasta and pizza are possibly the best types of food. They are consistently delicious and satisfying. Rarely am I disappointed by pizza or pasta. I shall be forever grateful for the Italians.

12) I forgive myself for relationships and friendships that didn't work out and the time I spent mourning them.

13) The pain will always end.

14) The pain will always feel endless and earth shattering all the same.

15) I have recovered from very dark periods of poor mental health and I accept that I might have to do it again and again throughout my life, but I have proven to myself that I am strong enough to do so.

16) It won't always turn out like I wanted it to, in fact it rarely will, but this is almost always for the better.

17) I can be alone without being lonely because I am loved.

18) It is okay to be lonely and to desire and to want to be desired. This does not make me a bad feminist.

19) Always, always strive to be the best feminist. This means supporting all kinds of women from all kinds of backgrounds, and it also means loving and supporting myself.

20) I think 'When Harry Met Sally' might officially be my favourite film of all time.

21) I am incredibly young and have been incredibly young this entire time. I will still be incredibly young when I am twenty-one and for quite a few years after. I have time. I am enjoying the journey. It is a good journey.


Friday, 16 November 2018

I did that!

I stood up in front of a full crowd of strangers on Monday and delivered some stand up comedy I had written. It was only three minutes long, but the objective was to make them laugh and they did, which was nice. I don't know if I'll ever do it again, but I had always wanted to try it once and now I can always say that I did it.

I felt nervous, obviously, but in a strangely distanced way. I had to drink a large glass of wine beforehand to feel more relaxed, but the entire time it never really felt like it was about to happen, until it did.

I always wonder why I get nervous about anything. I get so nervous and anxious about things, but things that are so hypothetical and unlikely that they rarely ever happen. I was excited about performing stand up, nervous and excited, even if it could have gone badly. Because I was fulfilling a desire, and I was going to get the buzz of being brave. I have an element of doom and gloom in my anxiety about anything else.

Maybe it is because I adore performing and the nervousness beforehand is vaguely pleasant. Maybe a completely irrational fear of my future in 5, 10, 15, 20 years is less pleasurable. I can see two outcomes of performing; one is bad but bearable, the other makes me feel like I can do anything. But the unknown future has multiple outcomes, and I am always certain the worst ones will come true. I am almost always wrong.

So perhaps I should forgive myself for my little anxieties, and revel instead in the pride of having ticked something off the bucket list. I did that! Can you believe it? I was so brave, and mad. And I am, for once, going to enjoy something I achieved.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Truths.

I spend a lot of my life gripping tightly on to what I think might be my truth. And when I am not, I am searching, frantically, for what I haven't discovered yet as if my truth might be lurking out of sight.

What the hell is my truth?

I reject anything that I do not want to be my truth, to be absolutely and irrevocably me.

But what is my truth?

My truth cannot be that guy I kept thinking about 6 months too long. My truth cannot be those bad thoughts I have about myself. My truth cannot be all the times I embarrassed myself. Or all the times I let myself down. I let myself down with the thoughts I shouldn't think, lingering on people who have left now, who I should let go. I let myself down when I hold back, when I don't try nearly as hard as I could have done.

These are not my truths.

Some people say that you can write your truths. That you write from the place that is absolutely and irrevocably you. Or at least, the writing anchors you to something like that. I think maybe that is how I grip so tightly, and also search for the things that are lurking.

And the other things, the letting down, the bad thoughts, the overthinking, the not trying hard enough. Of course they are truths. But they are fleeting, not anchored. And I am better than that.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Undecided.

I have stood for what feels like hours - that is, minutes turning into hours - deciding where to be, what to eat, what to buy. I have walked back and forth between cafes trying to gauge which has the best working atmosphere. I have picked up ready-made sandwiches, made it all the way to the checkout, and in a panic turned back around to make a different decision. What if this is the wrong one?

Such trivial things, too. I have done things a little bit wild, outside my comfort zone, without a moment's hesitation. Or if there was hesitation, it was only natural, and I overcame it quickly. Why, then, this impossible indecisiveness over the tiniest matters?

I get so flustered. I want each bit of my life to be as I imagined but what if I choose the wrong one? What if it is nothing like how I imagined? What if I spend the whole time wishing I was in the other cafe?

Mostly this happens when I am alone. If I am with other people their own indecisiveness drives me to make the decisions. You cannot get it as wrong when you're with another person, because company is the main pleasure.

But when alone, I get so preoccupied with what might be wrong. It must be right. It would be sad to be sad, and regretful, when you are alone.

You can get better, though, at overriding the indecisiveness. It adds what feels like years - that is, hours turning into years - to your life.

Standing in those flustered moments of indecisiveness, making the 'wrong' decision, it feels like it is much more about something else. And overcoming the wrongness, the inability to know which way to turn, and just letting it be, feels a lot more soothing. A lot more like a balm to the soul, which cannot decide, cannot know what is right. But what would that be, anyway?

Friday, 26 October 2018

The rules are not real.

I can understand, on some level, this global resistance to the way our perception of gender is headed. That is non-binary, fluid, beautiful, exceptional. I can understand because in some ways it is scary. It is a rejection of our carefully cultivated norm. It is a destruction of binaries drilled into us, which we were forced to confine ourselves to, and now as we leave them behind perhaps we leave some people behind too.

Identity will change when gender crosses enforced boundaries. It is already changing. If my identity constructs itself around femininity does that femininity become obsolete? No. But the lines between the feminine and the masculine will no longer be so rigid, so entrapping as if sex has anything to do with the way we feel.

Trans people have died and still die because cis people are so scared of gender. Imagine being so scared as to create that much violence, as to deny another human's existence.

I have no authority on this topic. I have never had to question my gender and as we watch lines blur I feel comfortable enough in my own identity to let it all happen. I am privileged enough to feel excited about it. I still think of it as a revolution brewing.

Does this rejection of such constraining binaries not lead to a deeper human experience? Will we not be more free in our own minds, in our own existence?

The denial of a person's existence does not actually destroy their existence. You cannot go backwards once rules are broken, because the rules will forever be undermined. The rules are not real. You can keep trying to enforce the rules, but they lose their power once someone points out that they are just rules. You can follow the rules, if you want, it it helps, but not everyone wants to. The rules are not real. And doesn't it feel so much better once you realise this? Don't you feel more relaxed? More full of love? More human?