My turbulent mind

This isn’t a poem. This isn’t a story.

Maybe I write poetry or stories to hide behind, rather than to reveal truth.

This last year has been rough for a few reasons and I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t affected me. But, that’s not what I want to talk about. Nobody truly has it easy.

What I want to talk about is my turbulent mind.

My turbulent mind is a minefield. Mostly it has 20 tv sets on, playing everything from apocalypse, death, injury, to marriage, homemaking and happiness, to what colour pants do you think they’re wearing to wondering if people see in different colours, to feeling sexy to feeling repulsive, to feeling I am everything, to feeling I am nothing. All at the same time. I know, right?

I rarely know what I am thinking until I say it or write it. If I go without saying or writing anything for a length of time my mounting confusion turns to frustration and I wholeheartedly want to self combust. With this in mind, escapism has become important to me.

Due to this years events it has taken a darker turn. The tv sets are now playing documentaries about how shit I am, how I am doomed to failure, how everyone really hates me and doesn’t have the balls to say. When I walk down the street my mind tells me all the terrible things passerby’s minds are thinking about me. I worry about everything and although I have developed the facility to know that this is all bullshit, I still can’t turn it off.

I frequently do things then spend the rest of the day over-analysing why I could have done it better, how I’ve inadvertently offended someone, how I shouldn’t have eaten all of that, how it’s getting worse, how I don’t understand how I’m meant to stop this. I try to do things that I know are good for me, then lose half an hour staring into space, playing out a future life I’ll never lead, imagining a life of someone I’ve never even met; upsetting myself over remembering terrible things in even more terrible detail.

My current cycle and almost weekly battle is to: Push myself. Achieve. Self sabotage. Collapse. Start over.

I seek solace in the fact every day I can start over. I tell myself it’ll be ok, I will make it better, it’s not that bad. I am just about to finish my first year of Uni, I have landed a job I love for the summer, I have started work on a novel; I am not being slack. So why do I keep telling myself that it’s not good enough?

I have lived with this since birth. When I do have spells of happiness I am infectiously happy. When I am around people I engage with I am distracted enough from my mind to be comfortable. My biggest issue is when I’m on my own and sometimes I need to be, but that’s when my mind is at it’s worst. As a result I’ve formed several relationships over the years that have all failed. I have been engaged 3 times and have never married. Contrary to my opinion at the times, the failures have been my fault as much as my ex-partners and I’m sorry to all of you for that.

Friends have told me that I need to learn to be happy with myself, that I don’t need a partner. I agree completely, but having someone close to me is bliss, it’s when I’m at my most content. Learning to be happy with yourself isn’t always easy.

Why don’t I talk to people about this much? Because why should I bleat on about how shitty I feel when I’ve got a roof over my head and food in my belly? It’s much easier to put on a smile and enjoy people’s company and it makes me happy too. So if you ask if I’m alright and I say yes, please don’t wonder if I am or just saying it, because that’s my shit and my choice: if I want to talk about it, or just forget about it that day.

Or perhaps I can be brave and write about it and reach out to see who’s with me on this one. My turbulent mind. My blessing and my curse. My best and my worst.

Doing the deed – Becoming a do-gooder

There was once a time where do-gooding was frowned upon. ‘Interfering do-gooders’ were known to meddle and cause problems for those of us cantankerously surviving in our mundane day to day existence.

Thankfully these times are changing for the better. It is becoming more popular to do good and I am stumbling across more and more adverts/short films/music videos that promote goodwill and kind gestures. Us human beings have the power of endless love and compassion locked beneath the barriers that our minds create as a defense against hurt, anger and rejection. These barriers however do a good job and we almost always forget what we should do. i.e. that poor old chap trying to cross a busy road. ‘Sorry buddy, no time for you, I’VE had a bad day’.

How did we come to act on such selfish tendencies? How can we say “I don’t care, I’m looking after me right now”?

Imagine if instead of this we all looked after each other. That we donated a moment of strength to someone who was struggling. Imagine the bond that would form with someone who rescued you when you most needed help and were too scared to ask a stranger. That on seeing that poor guy trying to cross the road, no doubt terrified by the noise and endless streams of machines intent on mowing him down, you took those few seconds to take his arm, walk him over and carry on with your day.

It’s these few precious seconds that are nothing to you…and everything to him.

Think about the relief he’d feel, thanks to you. Imagine the smile on his face when he tells relatives of that lovely person who helped him when he felt vulnerable and needy. Doesn’t that make you feel good?

How about that kid trying to get on the bus, or a mother paying for groceries amidst screaming children. They’re 20p short which means a long walk home, or missing out on some sort of essential item. Do you have a lose 20p floating about? I’ll bet you do. The thought crosses your mind but you shrug it off quickly. ‘No, I’ll need it’ or ‘It’s right at the bottom of my bag’. You stay quiet and they suffer as a result. You need it for what anyway? A pint at the pub later? A packet of crisps for the walk home? Just give them the 20p and change their day for the better.

It’s these little things that will make such a difference to those in need. Also, the enormity of joy and satisfaction you’ll receive from seeing a smile on someone’s face that you’ve put there is second to none.

There are countless moments like this every day for those who choose to see them.

So next time you see that opportunity to help, ignore that little arsehole in your head who’s only looking out for number one, waltz up to that person and do it. You’ll be surprised how good you both feel as a result and you never know, you might make a habit out of it.

And let me tell you, that’s one habit our world needs more of.

Apologies for the unexpected interlude

Good morning!

Apologies, my page has been quiet for a little while. Things should get back to normal shortly.

I’ll level with you. I’ve been stuck in a valley of a life situation that needed changing and after stewing on this for quite some time those changes had to be made.

Life is a bit like flowing down a river, some times you’re carried and some times you have to steer the boat.

After a period of distraction I awoke to realise I was following a path I’d never intended to. I was missing valuable components to my happiness. I’ve found that life will do this when you’re not paying attention.

It was time for a revolution.

Firstly, after years of coasting jobs for the money (I had never been able to decide what I wanted to do), I took the all important step of applying for a degree in Creative Writing. I love the arts and have dabbled in almost all over the years. Much like a one night stand they came and went, slipping through my fingers when the sun came up. Like finding a soul mate, it was time to commit to the one that has naturally been the most happy and true. There is nothing more delightful to me that when words come flowing out onto paper or onto screen. I start my degree in September. I am twitching with anticipation.

Next came the job. I was working in Customer Service for a large corporation in which I had no faith or passion. The parallels to Orwell’s ‘1984’ were endless. When I started I felt hardened to it and thought I could exist quietly under the radar of the management. As long as I kept my head down and got on with my job, I could last until September. Alas, corporate companies can be the most soul crushing of places. I watched from the shadows as free thinking individuals were marched through in their masses, eyes a’glimmer at the lure of their own desk, coffee and a decent pension scheme (don’t we all dream of someone to look after us?) As days went by their smiles would dim and one by one they would lose all sense of self and become hosts, amalgamated into the machine with nothing to say other than pre-thought phrases handed down on little sheets of paper left on our desks every morning.

I had to escape there immediately, before they got me too.

With rent to pay, I stomached the last few weeks whilst looking for something else. I took to daydreaming of not going in when I knew I inevitably would. I imagined the delicious joy of staying on the train past my stop and ending up somewhere completely different, just to prove I was in control of my own decisions. Luckily, I found a job working the bar and waitressing in a local gin and whisky lounge and started the next day. The change in lifestyle has been instant and glorious. My character is something to be celebrated, rather than taken as a threat. Instead of waking bleary eyed at the crack of dawn, I dawdle home to the sound of the early birds. I have no need for the gym as I spend a good 10 hours of my day running around, carrying things, with a smile on my face and a cheeky word to say to ears who’d like to hear it. Yes the hourly pay is less, but there’s tips to be made and as long as I’ve got my means covered, then that’s enough for me.

I have no drive to have more money than I need at the cost of my happiness.

The happiness I’m feeling for these 2 changes is uncontainable. After concerns I had lost who I was, I have never felt more myself and in control of my life. It’s not been easy and I’ve felt the fruit flies of doubt at my apple but I believe in a world of distraction, the capability of being true to yourself despite hurdles is one of life’s greatest satisfactions.

Our hearts scream to our inner selves when there are changes to be made. Don’t ever be scared to make them. You’ll never know unless you try and this fear can hold us back from so much. I have returned to dancing around my home to my favourite music, wearing nothing but a shirt, cider in hand, feeling blessed to be alive.

And get out of the office. It’s not normal. Not for me anyway. Damn, it feels so good to say that.

Insecurities

So a friend of mine asked me some honest questions today on insecurities for some research she’s doing. Things like:

What are three insecurities you have?

Do you keep your insecurities hidden from people, if so why?What kind of feelings do your insecurities bring you?

Have your insecurities ever stopped you from doing something you wanted to do?

What do you think the world would be like if we were more honest about our problems and feelings?

I wrote the most honest response I could and realised that people should talk about this a bit more. So I’m humbly posting it here in the hope it will stir up conversation. We are never alone.

I worry that I annoy people or that they think bad of me for one reason or another (I hate upsetting people). I also worry that I will never find true love and have a family. I also worry that I’ll never be truly good at anything.

My biggest worry is definitely missing out on love and a family.

I try to keep them hidden as I think they make me seem weak and it adds to my worry of people having a bad impression. Plus the more admitted, the more is let out to deal with (it’s easier to ignore when know one knows). I don’t keep them hidden when I realise someone else is feeling it and I want to help and let them know they’re not alone. And sometimes I just can’t keep it under wraps Once it starts I start worrying about everything. I panic and become frigidity and obviously irritated.

How they make me feel? Scared, angry, frustrated, no confidence, panicked and that I can’t look people in the eye.

They stop me from doing things a lot. I have a voice that tells me ‘You can’t do that’, just simple things that would make me happier or anything that involves being the focal point of attention. I’m learning to override this. It’s really satisfying doing something anyway and saying ‘fuck you’ to myself. It has taken me a while to realise I am capable of overriding it…but doing so sometimes causes it to come back harder. I am becoming stronger to it though and I like this strength.

People should be more honest about their problems. Especially insecurities as they make you feel so isolated. It always feels good to talk to someone else who worries about the same stuff. Not only is it helping, but it eases the pressure on you. People shouldn’t be scared to talk about these things only it’s kind of the heart of what it is, so it’s difficult. If people did the world would be a better place as negative feelings lead to negative behaviour and that in turn can transmit to other people. Any bad emotions spread and it’s important to stamp them out. Sometimes it’s just a case of realising you are only seeing from one perspective and there are plenty of other ones out there you could choose to see from.