The last few weeks have been difficult. Really difficult. That’s what I’ve been saying to people, when they ask how I am, I say I’ve had a really difficult couple of weeks but I’m on the way out of them now. I don’t think that’s true. I can’t see any end to this path, not yet, and it sounds fatalistic but don’t worry. I’ll get there. The thing is, I am terrible at being any less than okay, so I always tell people I’m fine. Or that I’m close to fine. I wish I were less practised at putting up a front.
The truth is.
I have no idea. I feel completely surface level. I am functioning well and I am working well and I am getting along with people well, but I feel a little bit like they are all preprogrammed actions with no depth to them. Maybe if I keep having these conversations I will feel better. I will fill up again.
There are times I look at my hands in the washing up bowl and I cannot tell if they are mine or my mother’s, and times when my handwriting is indistinguishable from my father’s. Sometimes my thoughts of self doubt and inadequacy are mine and someone else’s, I don’t know who exactly, and the voices of frustration and perseverance and dogged determination belong to my teachers and my friends and the characters from books I treasured years ago. Echoes of characters. Echoes of a million voices and faces. I can’t tell whether I lost myself by accident or on purpose. I think it was a more deliberate act than I realise.
I love what I am doing at the minute. I love making theatre and that I am capable of doing so. The people I surround myself with are brilliant and caring and the exact right people. I read good books. I eat well. I am writing more, leaving the house more, planning more, doing and being so much more than I ever thought I could that the whole idea of change, the whole idea that I could be anything less than happy is ridiculous and maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s why I can’t feel it. I have ticked all the boxes for contentment but it’s been lost in the post somewhere.
I am my mother’s daughter, so I love intensely and care intensely about too many things at the same time. I deal with everyone else’s problems before my own and I surround myself with friends and family and care. I perfected a brave face a long time ago. My eyes are green. I am an expert in passive aggressive washing up.
Sometimes I feel like I could genuinely make a difference and then I laugh at myself for being so idealistic, I go outside and smoke and drink black coffee because we’re all going to die anyway and why bother, I embrace fatalism like a lover, we knock back shots of bleak humour and wait for the world to end together and I love it.
I am my father’s daughter, so I know my voice and how to use it, I can talk my way in and out of any situation. I love music and literature and being in new places. I can be charming. I can go for days without talking to anyone. I hate responsibility but will take it on. My hair is dark. I make bad puns like there’s no tomorrow.
All of my emotions crystallise to perfect rage and I have no idea why. Maybe I’ve been saving it. Maybe it’s the cold weather.
I am the delicate balance of anyone who has ever had an influence on my life, which is positive and negative all at once, and I can match my traits to so many other people that I lose myself in the mix and the lines that tether me to myself vanish and I float. I don’t think I can stand the idea that I am not me. Maybe I have no uniqueness. Maybe all the individuistic qualities that people say I have are only because they do not know all the people that I am. I think I want to change. I have no idea how to do that.
I can’t tell when I lost it. I put it down here a minute ago or a year ago or several past lives ago but I swear it was here. Somewhere.