Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Lower than low

By nature I am an optimist. Someone who looks for the best in everyone, in every situation. On my best days, the ones where the sun shines and my breakfast avocado is perfectly ripe and the email in box is full of joy - I believe anything can happen. I have complete faith that things work out as they are meant to - that every bump along the road is simply there to help us slow down on the journey, take in the surroundings, appreciate free-wheeling down the big hills.

Then there are the days when I wake, feeling like I am pinned down to the bed - a ten tonne weight on my chest, making it almost impossible to breathe. The panic sets in. My heart races and I think - how do I find my way out of here? Again. It feels like a maze, one I am destined to re-enter and spend my days forever ricocheting off the sides, never negotiating a way out.

More than anything, I wish I wasn't attracted to industries that reject you. I wish I loved numbers, banking, business - something tangible and real, something with career progression and promotions and health care and pensions. Something to guide me. To always have an answer, a solution.

Maybe there is a lesson I never learnt. Isn't that why cycles repeat themselves? For us to realise our wrong turn and make amends, change course. I've changed course so many times, to accommodate having a family, to pay bills, to survive. Of course I am beyond blessed, with a husband, children, a home. With these things comes responsibilities. I'm no silver spoon kid - I can't turn to family to bail me out, to fund me while I'm between jobs, to pay for my children's sports lessons or even a food shop. There has never been anywhere to turn, except to myself. To find the will to get back on the horse again. I always do.

Until I don't.

Until I wake one day and say - enough. Enough with the forever trying. Like the moment on X factor when some cast off from a boy band of yester-year crawls back into the audition room having lost his youthful zest, his strong jawline, his floppy hair. He's a melted bloated version of his former self, but still he holds the mic like his life depends on it and belts out a tune that once captivated his local pub. It still brings the sloppy barmaids running to him. But it fails to move anyone, least of all him. Yet he hopes. He really hopes that this time, it will be the one. That the judges will see what was seen once - all too briefly - and they will usher him a fast pass to fame and fortune. Heck, maybe at first they do. They let him through out of some nostalgic pity more than anything else, and he surprises himself by making it through another round or two. Until he hits a crossroads, the big make or break at Judges' houses... The pressure gets to him, he vomits beside the luxury pool but he manages at last to pull off the performance of a lifetime - his last ever one it turns out - because he was never the right look, the right age, the right person. So he goes back to the karaoke nights where he can be king for a moment, while the large glitter ball above endlessly spins, sending fragments of light cascading across his face. He quits while he's ahead, marries the barmaid. Gets a job at the local Pizza restaurant as a manager. But when he belts out the 'Happy Birthdays' to transfixed tables every night, lingering on the final notes, bathing the room in his voice, inside a little piece of him dies at what could have, should have, would have been....

Realising one's own limitations is a tough and sobering moment. It is a moment when you know that your good, isn't good enough, no matter how much you want it to be. No matter how many well meaning mates cheered you on, no matter how much you maybe convinced yourself. I watch around me as so many people I know glide through life. Steady jobs, 2 holidays a year (if you count a break at a rustic holiday home at Easter) never ever sweating anything. I used to content myself by thinking that under the surface they were paddling furiously to keep afloat - until I realised, no, that was just me.

I had a dream the other night that I was a skater. One of those flesh coloured tights, hairsprayed, neon pink lipsticked goddesses whizzing across the rink and whirling myself up, up, into the air. My skirt flip-flapping in the breeze, the bodice covered in tiny pearls as white as my teeth. I awoke to think that perhaps I'd missed my calling - that I was a secret Torville in the making, but now I'd never know. Maybe there is a whole plethora of skills I have that I've never uncovered. A vocation that could have propelled me to financial security and pensions and all manner of luxury. I just never found it before.

Perhaps I never looked hard enough. Maybe it's time to start now....

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