Friday, September 15, 2006

Day 26

I apparently, live in a fabulous dichotomy of emotions - either completely frantic or deathly numb. I say ‘fabulous dichotomy’ as if there were more than two options, I stand-alone with Mr. Black and Mr. White – no Mr. Grey; no siree. If I were in a painting class I would fail the gradient mixing section.

My counselor today tried to define this dichotomy as feeling either, “frantic” or, “just being”. I pondered this for about 3 seconds before responding - “No, I’m not ‘just being’!”

Panic. ‘Being’, in my mind, denotes some kind of spiritual connection with a nod towards self-recognition. Conjuring up images of people sitting in the lotus position om-ing at the world on a tatami mat, being at one with themselves and the universe. I on the other hand do not feel ‘at one’ with any kind of universe – more so in direct competition with it. My only spiritual connection it feels, is a 69 pence Buddha that I bought at Au Naturelle in the vain attempt to show the universe I was willing. If someone dare ask me to ‘om’ I would probably have a panic attack as being calm is akin to being touched in my latest ‘DON’T’ category.

Oh the pressure of defining oneself. Mr. de Botton seems to have written some polemical scripture about ‘status anxiety’ and how we are all suffering from it. I tried to read it one day (probably the same day I purchased the 69 pence Buddha) and couldn’t get past the first paragraph. “High status is thought by many (but freely admitted by few) to be one of the finest of earthly goods.” one book description offers. I drop the book as if it were a hot iron. I fled the bookstore and stuffed a picture of Mother Teresa in my pocket, from one of those free postcard dispensers in a pub. She, I envisaged must be a more appropriate, aspirational symbol.

The definition of who we are, what we want and where we are going are quite obviously, enormous mountains to scale, and for me are unanswered questions that scream like banshees inside my weary little head on a daily basis. These 3 evil, little, life checkboxes can take a lifetime to tick off, if one succeeds marking the boxes at all. Some poor sods (?) will reach their grave without ever ticking off these boxes and will possibly never consider them important enough to even contemplate. Others make their pigeon holing and 5 year plans a priority.

From the age of 19 I have been attending colleges and working in jobs that I hoped were going to lead me somewhere grand and noteworthy; all under the guise that I was defining myself. The more I tried, the more I panicked because the answers constantly eluded me. Finally, one crisp morning last May I woke up frozen solid, feet in concrete of my own making, repeating over and over for about 8 hours straight “I can’t”. “I can’t” tell you who I am. “I can’t” tell you what I want to be. “I can’t” tell you what I want. After trying not to throw myself out of a window, (yes, seriously) and refusing to let my mum leave me alone with the madness that engulfed me (she stayed on the phone with me from the Highlands to London for those 8 hours, almost solidly. She deserves a medal.) and a frantic conversation with my GP after my panic stricken mother had alerted him to my predicament, I bobbed and weaved through the agonizing fear of facing the unbelievable truth that after all my hard work and painstaking efforts, I had no idea who I was and if I even existed. I dragged my (then) boyfriend who had fled the flat in the morning when I began rocking back and forth on the sofa whimpering, back from work to escort me to the doctors to get my first dose of coma inducing anti depressants.

As my failure to launch became deeply apparent, all around me my peers, nae my friends were all settling down, all buying homes and having babies. They all seem to be at the point when the graph of life was taking an upward spike, mine on the other hand was and apparently still is, diving down below the axis towards obscurity and certain death.

Stupid Mr. Identity, please, please, for the love of God leave me alone. Or at least give me something more important to worry about. Actually I take that back, I couldn’t cope with anything else.


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