Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we were given an itinerary for our time on earth. Excluding the gaps and the in-between’s, they can be left blank so we can experiment and personalize; but as for all the major choices in life such as career, image, partner, they’ve all been chosen perfectly to suit our personal characteristics. I often find myself torn between different persona’s, wondering which one suits me best. Which one I truly am and hoping that falling into that person will be like finding the right puzzle piece, an ‘ahhh’ moment when everything fits perfectly with no sharp edges.
Wanting to be a successful writer with a beautiful home where everything works perfectly and I can have the heating on and take long baths without thinking about the cost. Wanting to throw away all my shoes and live a life of freedom and simplicity on a beach somewhere. Wanting to carry my life in a backpack and walk hundreds of miles on spiritual pilgrimages. Wanting to put my mind to good use, learn something that could really help people and our universe, wanting to be brilliant in some way. Wanting to meet someone and be swept through life, content on a wave of love that is enough to give meaning without a yearning for more. All of these lifestyles compete against each other every day, leaving me never really knowing what I want.
One of the quotes that hits home hardest with me is one I have mentioned before and is by Jonathan Safran Foer in his book ‘Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close’. In the character of 9 year old Oscar he hits the nail on the head with the painfully accurate ‘sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living’. A sensation that I know only too well. Truth is I haven’t written a book yet because I don’t know what sort of writer I am or want to be, I wake up everyday with a new feeling, an alteration in my character that was different from yesterday. How on earth are you supposed to produce something of consistency when one day you’re in the mood to write the next Harry Potter and the next you’re feeling a heart wrenching tale of exploration and self discovery? The moment I start writing something I am bored of it. The build up to an idea, that ‘light bulb’ moment, the epiphany! It’s all so exciting. That is, until I sit down to begin and like finally kissing that person you’ve fancied for two years, the desire fades away with the chase and you’re left with an empty hole where your infatuation used to be.
And no matter how hard I try, with every new idea I have that actually makes it to the stages of pen to paper, I picture an audience of thousands of readers waiting to criticize my every word. Imagine that what you were so desperately trying to produce was to be judged by the whole world… well, it could never be perfect enough, could it. Why can’t I just write for me? For my close family? My desire to make an impact with the sentences I string together is SO great that it scares me away, resulting in taking the easier option which is to not write at all. That yearning pushed back into it’s cage where it continues to grow in silence because of a fear of failure, stemmed through the certainty that I will be a writer, that I was always going to be a writer.
But what if I have wasted my whole life struggling under the impression that writing was my ‘destiny’ when all along I would have found equal happiness as a florist? That I have had my hair blonde and fringe-less for years but what would actually suit my face shape the most would be a choppy bob and side fringe? How easy it would be if we were given instructions on how best to utilize our assets. How to best make use of our talents and skills, how to dress the best for our body shapes, which books to read and films to watch that were guaranteed to be enjoyed, which partners to choose that will propel us forward instead of holding us back. Where is the sense in trial and error ? Life’s cruel joke perhaps, although I must admit the intensity of happiness experienced when you do come across something that is ‘you’ is one of a kind. That feeling of finally returning home after a long day at work where you can eat that weird food you like in your comfy clothes and watch your serial killer documentary without judgement. Of being home.
Suppressing who are you are is like wearing a scratchy jumper, itchy and uncomfortable. To find who out you really are is to finally rip it off and let your skin feel the soft warmth of freedom, the final act of liberation.