It’s Thanksgiving in America this weekend, and while I am not American, nor do I live in America (North of the border YO!) I think it’s an important time of my life to take a deep breath and think about what is important and to say THANKYOU Universe and Science and World for letting me take my little gulps of air and to have blood thrumming all over my body in this thing we called life.
Because someone I know kind of died yesterday.
I didn’t know this person so well, he was a friend of my Mum’s and I met him and did a play with him when I was 14 years old. I knew him as a backdrop to my adolescent self-obssession, and later as an adult, as that guy who always posted a word of the day on Facebook (dang Facebook wall cloggers!)
And though I am saddened for my Mum who is sad, and I quietly mourn the loss of anyone who passes away at a time when they are too young (47), I am not a Sympathy Vampire, intent on packaging this loss to gain attention for myself, or make a statement about how this affects ME ME ME. I just note his death as a time to reflect and to take stock in a busy world.
Sometimes I think I’m not normal. Does everyone spend as many hours in their own head obsessing about things like I do? Do people beat themselves up as much as I do, for the passing of time and the apparent non-achievements they think should have come more easily by now?
Does everyone have this restless demon rolling around inside their ribcage, and a voice in the back of their brain that constantly cries “run away! What’s over there?! Look at all those people doing more fun stuff than you! Flee, jump, swim, out out OUT! What would Tina Fey do??”
Or is it just me?
I think it’s safe to say that most of the time I put on a very confident exterior. I just seem to get on with things. I move countries. No big. I settle in wherever. Whatevs. People have used the word brave to describe me before..
But the ugly truth of the matter is that I am a roiling rack of insecurities, fear and uncertainty. I second guess every single move I make, and it is exhausting. There is no harsher critic than yourself. And I have begun to realize that perhaps that level of self-criticism is too hard to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Maybe it’s my oldest child syndrome forcing me to be an overachiever, or the small child in me that was bullied badly in those early years who made a vow one evening in the bathtub (I’ll show you, I’ll show all of you! I’ll get so famous and then I’ll pretend I forgot your name!), but enough is never enough. Up until this point I have never been working hard “enough” I have never made “enough” money, it’s never quiet as bright and sparkly “enough” I’m not thin “enough”.
I’ve come to realize that people don’t often talk about painful things, or things they think will put them in a lesser light. The population is afraid to look weak, or maybe we’re all just Keeping up with the Kardashians. And as a result, everybody secretly thinks they’re sucking way worse than everybody else.
That they aren’t “Good Enough.”
And that’s how I feel sometimes.
Like when my visa was screwed up, I felt like I hadn’t been prepared, and when I couldn’t get it fixed and felt like a goldfish lost in the ocean, I felt like I was failing at life. As the dollars in my bank account dwindled, and my stress levels rose, I wondered how all the other 24-year-old wannabe’s out there were doing it.
Because no one ever said to me “You know what Paris, this week I feel like I’m really fucked and sucking at all this reality.” And so I thought, “oh, it’s just me that sucks then.”
The truth is, I’m less financially secure than I have ever been in my life. I’m finally getting some TV experience and I love it, but after applying for hundreds of jobs, there is still nothing paying coming my way. I have two degree’s behind me, and I’m starting to think I should have taken four years of work experience over the higher-learning. I wonder all the time about whether I should pack in this North American adventure and head for the hills (aka either of my parents houses). I’m trying to decide if I’m making any progress, or if I’m a seagull trapped behind a glass door, continuously bashing its head against a barrier it can’t see and the thing it craves.
I’m thankful for:
My Family, who are far away, but who I love and who I miss. The older I get, the more clearly their cracks and lumps and bumps become apparent to me, but the same goes for me, and they seem to still like me anyway.
My boyfriend and my friends-wherever they may be in the world.
My ability to read and write, two of my greatest loves in this world.
Being healthy. That’s a big one, one that I know you are supposed to be thankful for, but which I never truly appreciate.
The safety I enjoy by being an Australian Citizen, for the ability to live in countries of my choice, and live in peace.
It’s not a long list, and it’s not detailed. But for richer or poorer, those are the things that matter to me. I could specify, and I have private lists that go on and on. But those are the main things, and even when I am staring down the barrel of a potentially stressful few months, or stuck inside my own head over analysing the little things and driving myself crazy, I remember (somewhere in the recesses of that other part of me that is actually pretty practical and on top of things) that I will be okay. And that my life is a tiny blip compared to the age of the earth and the stars.