Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Normal Girl

Signs that things are decending into shitsville:
  • I have taken to drinking neat gin
  • I am listening to Whitney Houston's Greatest Hits
  • .. naked.

Yesterday I lost my job - actually no that is being dramatic, I didn't lose my job - I got made "temporarily redundant". They can't afford me (nobody ever could) but I can go back to my post when they have further investors. Which is great - a holiday with no fixed end date - except I'm not being paid and with no guarantee that I will have a job at the end of it.

I did what most self respecting people my age do when faced with financial crisis and considered applying for another degree. That way I wouldn't have to worry about anything else for the next 4 years whilst you lovely tax payers pay my way through self discovery - but I'd completely lose my last shred of dignity in the process. I left my degree in the first place to supposedly follow my "dream" of writing - and thus far it hasn't worked out. However, post 3rd gin shot after being "sacked" I realised that I am (almost) 24 years old and I haven't yet written my life story - how incredibly unpretentious of me! I clearly have an inferiority complex.

In the height of my self-pity I got to be thinking how the hell anyone actually survives without going completely insane. I would insert some profound psychological study statistic at this point or reference some socialist literature to emphasise how capitalism, commercialism, food modification etcetera is making us all globally sick but I’d be kidding myself into a false sense of intelligence.  I am no sociologist, and despite being a lesbian - I am neither an expert feminist, but it doesn't take a real genius to work out that there is something fundamentally wrong. I don’t need to be well read to understand these things, simply navigating myself through the twenty first century as a young woman is as much of an education about “life” that I will ever need. Thus the gin infused notion emerged that I must take all my worldly knowledge and immediately set pen to paper. You could write a "how not to life your life" book based on my mental health record and I am by no means anything out of the ordinary. Just your standard young woman that has absolutely no idea what she should be doing with her life and why it bothers her so much.
There are so many books out there now recounting troubled young womens recovery (or not) from a plethora of mental illnesses and I'm not about to write another one of those. No I see your issues and raise it by 16 others that I have been through - as have a shockingly high number of other people my age. Nobody would benefit from reading another of those. This is not to be a self help guide, an inspiration to others, an autobiography, a sociological rant - more a personal experiement I guess and if it takes some kind of vaguely interesting and tangible structure, I'll develop into a satirical novel about why "life" is actually just a big puppet show anyway. Whatever it will save me a lot of time in cathartic therapy.

Monday, 25 June 2012


Mint. Metal. Salt.
Mint, metal, mint, metal, mint, metal, salt. Mint, metal, salt. Mint, metal, salt.

Mint – metal - mint.
Mint – metal.
Mint – mint.
Mint – mint.
One, two.
One, two.

One, two, one, two, one, two, one, two, one, two and so on. Lick the salt. On the inside, in the outside, one, two. Super acute hypnotism, mint, metal. One before the other, mint, mint. Mint, mint. One after the other. Mint, metal, mint. Mint, mint. Mint, metal, salt.

Blind sight, mint, mint. Fixed focus. Mint, mint. Syncopated but obtuse, mint, mint, one, two. Dissonant, mint, mint, rhythmic, mint, mint, melodic, metal. Mint, mint.

Metal air, salt air, mint. Mint, mint. Fight. Mint, mint. Internal scream. Mint, mint. External roar. Mint, mint. Mint, mint. Mint, mint, metal.

And salt.

Mint, mint. Desperation, mint, mint. One two. Mint, mint.


Monday, 30 January 2012

Hanging Up The Mask

I do not believe in mistakes. Nor do I believe in regrets.

I haven't exactly made it secret that I've been less than content with my degree. I have bitched and moaned about its lack of structure or evidence of any decent organisation from the staff and tutors alike. That said, I think I have to be truthful and own up that actually it's just wrong for me.

For many years I chased this big London College of Fashion dream because it apparently was a beautiful marriage between my twin loves of the written word and fashion. For years I'd decided this was what I was going to do and never really gave myself an opportunity to think there may have been another option. I had this pig headed belief that perusing this career line would make me happy. So determined was I that this was what I was going to do that I didn't actually stop to actually take stock of what my gut was telling me.

I am not cut out for the fashion industry. Yes, I still have a great passion for fashion as an art form, as human expression, as a reflection of politics, history and sociology, but I truly loathe what comes with it. I was somewhat aware, though partially living in selective ignorance, when I began the course but my trip to India really brought it home. I do not wish to dedicate my life to contributing to this sector.

Whilst I have made some great friends and met truly wonderful people through my short months on the degree, I could tell that I wasn't like most. Like them, I used to believe success and status was a measure of personal accomplishment, I used to believe that I had to prove something to my family, to myself, to the world. I used to believe that because I have an element of intelligence I HAD to pursue it through academic study and doing anything other than that was a waste of any gifts or talent that I may hold. Then I gave myself a bit of a mental slap for just parroting the beliefs of others - not what I truly felt.

So many people had well wishes before I left, little half (but not completely) jokes to remember them when I'm famous/successful/rich whilst some simply mentioned that they knew I'd "go far". What exactly does that mean? Surely being "successful" is accomplishing happiness?

It is difficult to break the spell after spending most of life being an overachiever; when your head and heart do exact opposite things, it stops being a gift and becomes a curse. I had (and to some extent still do have) a great fear that I will be judged and criticised for making this decision. I know there may be talk of how I have thrown away an opportunity, for people to raise eyebrows and tisk about this behind my back - but this is my choice.

"There's a narcissism to insecurity. When you realise that you're not the most important person in the world, being perfect doesn't matter - you're just one atom in the world." - Lauren Lavern.

Is there really anything wrong with just wanting to be the average Joe?

Should I complete my degree I can see myself several years down the line working constantly to keep on top form. Such is the industry that it is a relentless game of cat and mouse, you always have to be on the ball, always working, researching and fitting the part. I can't think of anything worse than my life being all about work, I do not want to take it home with my every night, lie in bed with it, eat, sleep, live, breathe my job. Some people are driven by their careers, they thrive on working - but I am just not one of those people. For me it is just one very small aspect of life. Nobody has ever been reported on their death bed to say, "I wish I'd spent more time at work". I've realised that same life is just too short to spend even a second doing something you do not want to do through choice, to spend even a second not doing all you can to be happy.

“Well what do you plan to do?”
“I plan to write”.
– Susanna Kaysen

This is not to say that I plan to completely reject any form of creative pursuit. My Mum highlighted to me that, for now, I've "had enough of an education both in and out of the classroom". I am a writer - not a journalist. What I wish to do cannot be taught inside of an academic institution. One can either write or they can't. At this stage, development can only be a personal process, one of experiencing and living whilst having an opportunity to constantly evolve ideas. Being in university is effectively destroying my education.

I know that to build my life as a “writer” would be a luxury, like any artist we are blessed to be able to work doing something we love and as result it doesn’t come without sacrifice. I know I could not afford to keep a home through writing alone yet (here’s to hoping one day…). Depending on what Josie (my fiancée) decides to do I think I intend to return to my hometown (for financial reasons) and work a simple 9 to 5 (or stay in London and do the same), something that keeps me fed and housed but leaves enough brain capacity to really begin work on all the bits of works that I have dotted all over my brain, notebooks and life.

As I referred to earlier, as a writer life is about experiencing and I like the challenge of throwing caution to the wind for a while. Run a risk and see what comes along, save some money and see some places, begin to build a home with my beloved fiancée and make for a happy world around me.
"Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim" - Nora Ephron.

The past is memory and the future is fiction.
Guess who's holding the pen...