This blog post comes after taking a long hard look at myself. Anyone in their mid-twenties, or who has experienced the ‘mid twenties crisis’ will understand the days of stressing for no reason, late nights and hangovers for times that weren’t so great, and has spent the last few months or years, wandering ‘where they are going’ will perhaps understand where I’m coming from.
I’ve spent the last year having seemingly a ‘great’ time! Travelling, working, performing, running and posting incessantly about it on Facebook, thinking I was doing the right thing, all the while attempting to hide how vulnerable and tired I was with a brave face and a lot of energy.
I understand how I might come across to some people, self-righteous, opinionated, perhaps (and hopefully not) even a little arrogant. It seems that was my way for while, thinking if I spoke surely enough about something then perhaps no-one would figure out I felt like a total imposter and was feeling throughouly displaced in a seemingly successful life.
In Amanda Palmers book ‘The art of asking’ which is wonderful read for those that haven’t read it, particularly if you self identify as a ‘struggling artist’, she talks about the ‘fraud police’. This is a chapter of the book I absolutely love, it talks about how as an artist (or person in general) you have feelings of imposter syndrome, of wandering into someone else’s life, and perhaps fearing that one day the fraud police are going to come knocking on your door and tell you to get back to 6th form because only someone that was an adolescent could possibly be feeling the way your feeling. People respond to the fraud police differently, some people will accept it, give up tell themselves they don’t deserve anything and sink back into feelings of hopelessness (been there..) some people can ignore it, say Hey! Fraud Police! Fuck you I’ve worked hard and I’m here and I’m staying and that’s the end of it (maybe one day…) or you do what I’ve been doing for the past few years. Feign feelings of surety in face of adversity, just try as hard as you can to make out like your not struggling with it, blame yourself when everything goes wrong, and seemingly ignore when everything seems right. It turns out, working this way does not help with imposter syndrome AT ALL. In fact I’d go as far to say as it makes everything ten times worse. Maybe even 1000 times worse. Because my friend a more common word for it is DENIAL.
Any kind of denial is confusing and overwhelming and utterly hard to navigate, especially when your trying to work in the creative industries, your feelings of insecurity can be consuming, and interfere with your work, compulsive behavior can lead you astray, anything to distract yourself from your own feelings of vulnerability. In my case, it came in outbursts to the wrong crowd, displaced rage at the wrong people, and basically being consumed in a spiral of my own bullshit.
So what to do? After (another) sort of disagreement, I’m reluctant to say argument because I would say I don’t go into the category of going out to personally offend people, I had to give myself a sitting down. Not because I felt like I’d upset anyone, I feel sort of self assured enough in saying I am aware of that and make an effort not to personally attack anyone, but because ultimately I myself was upset. I felt like I was constantly running into walls, and was dangerously close to saying something that I would have as a hormonal teenager something along the lines of “NOBODY UNDERSTANDS ME!” and then sat listening to Head Automatica and died my hair green (not that those are actually not great life choices). Instead I had to put my brain on pause.
For a hot second.
Generally if you get feelings of misunderstanding, it isn’t everyone else’s fault, its perhaps just because you are in the wrong context. If I’m feeling that perhaps this spiral of emotional explosions is not being responded to well, there’s something to be said for shutting the fuck up and listen to the people around you. It isn’t peoples fault if they don’t understand where you are coming from, generally in life people don’t, and the dece people spend a bit of time learning how to communicate with different people, that’s the joy of this little ol’ thing called life. I had to really call my own bullshit. If I was feeling frustrated or unsatisfied its probably because, I wasn’t doing the right thing. The economy of my energy is off. Although its great to hash it out sometimes, and relish in debate on conversation, sometimes its just fucking tiring.
So I do as we all do, I sat, measured my feelings, went for a T.S Elliot style walk to philosophize the meaning of life, I spent a lot of time and energy trying to map and understand the roots of my frustration until I realized that was EXACTLY the problem. I just needed to get the fuck over myself?
Who am I to self analyze in this way? I’m not a trained therapist? Who am I to worry if I’m not saying exactly the right thing, at exactly the right time to the right people? I’m not Ghandi? Who am I to take emotional responsibility for other peoples bullshit? I’m not their parent, I’m not my own parent, I just need to get the fuck over myself.
There was too much weight around my thought process and why? I’m really not that special or important. I had to accept that making mistakes is a universal issue, and I can’t teach myself how to be a non-human non-mistaking making alien. There is a certain joy that comes from bringing yourself down a peg. A joy that I can’t explain, because there’s no need to. It’s not complicated. The issues that some of us are fighting, are hard, and complex, sometimes violent, and can make us feel detached from a real sense of reality, because its hard to go back into the world, when carrying all this knowledge of the awful things happening. In order to right those wrongs, nobody said that you have to give yourself a hard time, nobody said you have to take responsibility for everyone always, for me, I did that. So it was time I undid it. Its all great trying to fight for social justice, but when you can’t even go out for a drink with your friends, without having some internal debate about why its wrong for you to have a good time once every two weeks, I think its safe to say something has gone horribly wrong.
So what have I learnt from getting the fuck over myself?
Not much. Do more, think less sometimes. Its not too deep. Not too profound.
And that’s why its fucking great.