Its 10am, Monday morning and I’m stocktaking my emotions for the millionth time. Another restless night in bed has left me feeling like the test patient in an experiment on insomniacs, but when I wake there are no men in white coats with fresh printouts to tell me if I’m normal or not just breakfast, a silent computer, a few vague deadlines and the fading engine zoom of traffic outside, giving the impression that there’s a world out there that already has a head start on the day.
I read back through some old journals. In certain moods, old writing can make you melancholic about the past, and ‘better times.’ But lately, I’ve been taking strange delight in re-reading the more miserable chapters of my life. During my early twenties, betwixt the funny ideas and observations of people, I’d launch into intensive self-therapy rants. This involved me documenting the last few troubled days in point form, (getting it out of my head, onto the page), before drawing the same conclusions: You are a sensitive person. You worry too much about whether people like you. It’s okay to have these feelings. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are a good person. People love you. The bleeding earnestness of this period still makes me quietly cringe. Looking back, I find the concept of having to write ten pages just to reboot myself and be self-reminded of the basic fundamentals of being human, a little depressing. And it certainly was at the time but as Lennon sang ‘whatever gets you through the night.’ He also sang ‘everybody’s got something to hide except for me and my monkey,’ which probably doesn’t relate as much.
At some point over the last two years I feel like I’ve grown up. By this I mean, I’ve finally done enough mind mapping and fallen prey to the same low self-esteem programming to cast a light on my negative patterns and reveal them for the pathetic little shit-gremlins that they are. If knowledge is power, then knowledge about yourself is the most valuable feather in your cap and if you stuff enough feathers in there, then eventually you can start to fly a little. (*Justin is booked by the metaphor police*)
I’ve decided that I’m actually quite confident but even a feeling of confidence, like a new mobile phone takes a while to get used to. The high school idea of yourself has been so heavily branded onto your soul, that even though it’s not something you like, there is an odd comfort like weeing in a wetsuit – in reverting to your nervy, awkward, pathologically submissive, self-hijacking mode.
There’s nothing convenient about upgrading your personality, and I can safely say it’s taken a good decade of genuinely hard work. As any performer will tell you, if you do enough gigs, you’ll inevitably become better at what you do. I guess I see my life as being hundreds of shit gigs, from which I’ve been able to learn a little bit, and gradually get better at being me. So the moral of the story is: don’t quit the life industry, because there’s some amazing opportunities in store.