If you ever need a reason to survive…
“Are you heading in the right direction?” glared my cracked phone screen into the night.
Perched up a ledge, outside the local contemporary—a free gallery, filled with contemporary art—I drifted into the abyss of my mind. ‘Is my life going where I want it too?’ The proverbial gray blanket, which rested upon my consciousness, provides evidence for the answer to this question; no, I don’t feel like my life is going where I need it too.
Take me back in time, into my carefree youth in 2010 and a different picture may be painted: I was certain that my life compass was taking me to my calling. I’d just discovered my calling. Days were bright, nights were light and the perpetual vastness of the sky seemed to talk to my spirit; it gave me a reason to survive. Acting became the one thing which supported and still does support my existence. It was a time when the dark fog of anxiety hadn’t surrounded me and my faith in life was a dazzling white light which radiated from me, in everything I did. This became and still is my life; it’s in everything I do; its always there to remind me that I matter and have a purpose in this life. It tickles my heart.
“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
― Dr. Seuss
I’d fallen deeply in love with my life and was finally happy with who I was and had found my place in this ambiguous thing we call life. I didn’t just exist; I lived. Just as I’d toppled over and fallen into an endless cavity of darkness, an extraordinary breath of life emerged and opened my lungs, for what seemed like the first time; it’s had placed my feet onto the ground so I could start running for a take off.
I remember slumping into a cold, plastic chair, one miserable Monday morning. I was twelve years old and still a year eight pupil in a pretentious British secondary school. Up until this point in my life, I can only ever remember existing; I didn’t know what it was like to live. Even though I’d always lived safely with a loving family, I hadn’t ever feel joy that felt genuine or experienced a moment of perpetual vastness. My form tutor’s lifeless voice rang through the fusty air. “A local drama school and agency are popping in for a…” I’ll never forget what that moment did to me. It was like a montage of images and feelings ambushed my mind and left within a split second; it just happened and nothing will ever be the same again.
Travel forward into the present day and there I was, sat on a cold stone block, outside a pompous art gallery, waiting for my grandparents—who have a confusing habit of pretending that we we’re a perfect family—to take me home after an exhausting day, finally finishing a performance exam, which had tirelessly dragged itself out for months. It must have been something about the holes in the night sky, where tiny, twinkling dots lay over the earth like a duvet over a child’s makeshift den or maybe it was the whooshing of the cars as the drove by combined with the ceaseless chatter over workaholics and drunken louts, but whatever it was, it pushed my into a bottomless chasm of thought. A volatile emotional state of mind is something I’d struggled with for three years and the light that shone within me—seemed dimmer than it’s usual fluorescence. I’d often feel overwhelmed with grief one moment and completely numb the next. I always felt clear in the city; they make me come alive. So in that moment of asking myself if the way I’m living my life is actually fulfilling me or not I became simultaneously clear and ambiguously unclear: Clear because the bright lights of the city filled my senses and unclear because I was presented with what seemed to be an absurdly obvious question in my most beloved environment. I rendered myself into a state of disbelief at my lack of realization. I had let fear take over my life; I’d let it become bigger than the faith which lives within me. ‘But how did the fear cause me to veer away from where my life is meant to take me. When I look back at how all the events in my life have transpired, it all makes sense; it all led to my passion for acting and how it excites me. If there is one thing I’ve realized about myself through this incredible journey of self-discovery, it’s that I crave action. If I don’t act upon my dreams I become restless, anxious and I start to purposely shift the control I have over my life onto someone or something else because not having acting in my life and not acting upon my dreams and deepest desires makes me feel as though I have no purpose in this life; I need this feeling—of perpetual vastness and the fulfillment of always having to work on something—to function in a way which means I’m living and not just a bag of skin, bones and blood with breath and the ability to speak. This is it.
So here I am, asking myself if I’m walking in the right direction and honestly, I’m not feeling as fulfilled at I did. I feel like a flower whats been crushed by the dirty, playful fingers of a child who remains unaware of the irreversible damage they’ve inflicted upon the flower and they’ve only just decided to release hold of the flower. I’m blooming again but not completely smooth because, unlike the flower, I can pick myself up, dust myself off and remove the blanket of numbness which has caused me to live in fear. I am stronger and have a more powerful heart than fear and no quantity of negativity can ever take that away from me.
It’s the darker eras of life which put the fact that the only life we have is the only we live in this very moment into perspective. It’s something human beings generally tend to forget. We have two choices: accept it or change it. You can take this course of action in one of two ways: in fear or faith. The belief that the future exists steals faith and poisons it; it creates fear because we convince ourselves that we have no control over the outcome of our lives; we tell ourselves that our despair isn’t our fault. If it isn’t your fault then whose fault is it? the outcome of our lives depends upon our reactions to our circumstance. So if the compass of your heart is pointing towards that audition or that road trip then follow it; don’t walk into the opposite direction because the destination your compass points to is blocked by a brick wall. Climb over the wall or break through it.
When we imagine our ideal life destination, our minds may take us to a place with freedom, sun and fresh air, immersing ourselves in the passions which drive us through life. We create an ideal and imagine it to exist among the vast blue sky or out in a continuum of nothingness. The thought which fails to present itself is the one which tells us the only happiness to ever exist is one which burns from within; the only true happiness seems to exist as an output of following your gut instinct. Follow the compass of your heart; it’s inconceivable where it may take you.
The sharp sound of a car horn rang as I turned my head to the road; my grandparents were slumped into their car seats. My legs carried me toward the car door and, in one swift movement, I was sat in the uncomfortable car seat, drifting, once more, into thoughts of life, dreams and the city as the lights intruded the car through it’s windows. The lights continued shining as my eyelids drifted, closed.
Often in life we yearn for someone to know us, to be interested in who we are, to explore us and understand us. Sometimes it feels like an unrequited yearning.
Sometimes that which is unrequited is better that way. Unrequited love is a love which never dies because it is never truly born to life, it is permanently in gestation. It is a wish which we can wish forever and never regret having wished for it when it comes true and confronts us with the reality of a fulfilled dream.
Reality is so different from dreams, ideals, wishes and all that which is fed by our imagination. It is neither better nor worse, it’s just different.
“And he’d tell you a tale of the old days
When the country was wild all around”
There is only one person who knows me almost as well as I…
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“The simulacrum is never what hides the truth—it’s the truth that hides the fact that there is none. The simulacrum is true.” ~ Ecclesiastes
I find it extraordinarily fascinating to delve into the concept that the world we live in is made of seven billion perceptions; that’s all it is—just one giant brain. As each set of eyes gaze up at the night sky, they perceive a different shade or aspect of what is essentially a singular existence. Every inkling or thought which has ever existed in one’s mind is what makes up the universe. Our reality—the insensate tranquillisation of our minds through trivialities like media, work and routine—is the immediate happenings of our life and how we perceive them; our reality is the simulacrum because we learn—to read, write and the way of which we must life our lives for the rest of our existence—in a clinical environment which is essentially a distorted imitation of the truth. We imitate imitations of the truth of our existence on this planet; we copy a distorted and defiled copy of the truth.
The seven billion perspectives of life merge together to create truth and in doing so actually convince us that our perspective is the truth; we blindly believe that our perspective is the only ‘correct’ one. Our personal perspective and the several angles of which we look at life acts as a veil over our consciousness; it hides the idea that not one of us is correct because the brain of human existence consists of a large orb of perspectives; the human existence consists of seven billion angles of which we perceive our life and how they interact with each other to create reality. We’ve created the simulacrum—a defiled distortion of truth—by living our lives among seven billion others and letting the two merge together.
So I’ve established that our perception of life veils the idea that the brain of human existence is only a cocktail of billions of other angles of truth. Now I bet you’re thinking “Why is this relevant?” If intelligent human existence is just several angles and layers of truth, combined, then your input into the world is imperative to how the truth of human existence evolves. You are important. Your expression of truth and your angle of viewing the life you live is going to affect how someone else lives there’s. When people talk about the future, they always seem to think that it’s somewhere in the distance; they separate it from the here and now. They have this distorted view that one day they will wake up and the future will have unexpectedly arrived. Let me tell you, it won’t just arrive. Everything you do now, every move you make and every word you say is a stepping stone to who you will be. Always visualize who you want to be and walk towards it now. no-one can stop you but you; no one can make you give up who you are meant to be so pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start walking again because the path isn’t going to shorten and transport you to your imagined life; you won’t wake up and have a future. All you have is now so make it count for something.
What do you visualise when you think of your 12th birthday? Clumps of chattering children, surrounding your royal blue, plastic seat; bags full of sugary treats, flying through the fusty classroom air and a glittering blue birthday badge which covers the left side of your torso, may spring to mind. Perhaps, you envision your first drunken stupor at a distant friends house or perking yourself under a tree with a bottle of Vodka in one hand and a cigarette in the other. My point is, there could be about a million and one ways to celebrate your twelfth birthday (one year till adolescence!—*cheers excitedly*)
My twelfth birthday was quite a different picture! It was a wet, overcast Saturday morning and my senses had awoken to the sound of violent vomiting and groaning; dad was sick. After trudging downstairs, with my hands over my ears, I sank into the soft, brown leather and abandoned all thoughts of food—”I can’t eat now!” I thought dejectedly. After waiting for an entire year for this day to arrive, I have to say I was incredibly disappointed when my mother concluded that, because my dad had decided to drink too much wine the night before, all birthday plans had been aborted. The recreational street dance competition, I planned to attend later that evening, could only consist of my mother and the other one hundred stranger who’d come to watch familiar faces dance atrociously across a filthy wooden floor.
I have to say, spending one of my most seemingly memorable days sat on a couch, eating banana’s and baked beans isn’t an ideal way of spending a birthday. Being completely aware that all of your other friends are congregated in a small, pink bedroom, exchanging make-up tips and gossiping about the inexplicable recklessness of “Barry’s new, green Mohawk,” or “Amy’s rendezvous with Josh In the bushes,” is dreadfully heart-breaking but what can one do?
So, that, my friends, is how I spent my twelfth birthday (of course this was some time ago).
I hope this slightly amused you.
I wish to share little droplets of knowledge, thought and experience with whoever wishes to share it with me; to venture out into the world each morning and come back with a proverbial nugget of gold to share with you all. If even one person finds any form of joy from me posting this, I’ll have achieved my purpose with this blog.
Hope you enjoy the snippets of life I intend to post.