Whenever I book a plane ticket now I rarely think about booking a return. It’s not that I don’t like London, my country, or my people, it’s just that, well… after trying and failing to feel like I fit in, I have come to the conclusion that maybe I just don’t fit in anywhere. Maybe I’m just not normal. And being not-normal in my homeland seems scarier somehow that being not-normal somewhere else.
I don’t think I’m alone. I think there are lots of not-so-normal people out there who try their very best to slot into some specific job or city, or social group but just don’t. I struggled with it for a while but now I think… well, fuck it. You can’t change who you are.
I’m kind of liking spending time by myself more than I ever did, which is surprising.
Sometimes I think it comes with the whole “being a writer” thing. It’s a solitary, quiet profession. No one else understands how you can frown at your computer for 15 hours a day or why you look up startled and bewildered at an intruder like they’ve yanked you from another dimension. Most of the time they have.
No one else understands why you drink so much either – coffee or booze – yeah, both, extensively. They don’t know that unless you do something to blur, calm, quieten the voices, they nag at you to write everything down and spell it right and sing it out loud in colours, and tell the world before it’s gone again; even if another little voice says “no one cares if you do or don’t really,… no one cares!” These voices punish you if you ignore them, make you feel guilty. So you drink more. And then you write into the night to redeem yourself when you know it’s probably going to be rubbish. Either way, you can’t stop.
No one else understands how you can make so many plans and then cancel them to stay home in a nest of used coffee mugs and scented candles. The truth is, whereas the old you was the first to reach a party (thanks to the booze) the new you would actually rather stay home and spend time with the people in your head. You don’t want to let them down anymore. You don’t want to feel guilty.
I often ask myself, is it an ego-thing? Or is it some monster inside me that wants to control me?
Are they the same thing?
Getting up and getting out into the world is the only way I’ve found to feed the monster without going totally insane. And so I have to go. I want to live without really knowing what’s happening next, because I know now that actually, that is how I stay alive. That is how I keep my soul burning, my fingers tapping, without resorting to waddlesome sloth like ways and extreme Mars Bar consumption in my coffee mug nest. I recently found this website on cool volunteer opportunities in Canada! I like the sound of Canada more and more and more… I especially like the thought of getting away from my computer altogether and cleaning cabins in a woodland resort and making friends with bears and living in this treehouse for a while:
The greatest thing ever is when you find other people who aren’t so normal either. There are many. Maybe you’re one too?
It kind of reminds me of this quote by Timothy Leary.
If you’re a writer, or someone else who feels so crazily compelled to do something that you barely even know what else to do on a daily basis, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Just don’t submit to normality. Find the others.
I’ll be in my treehouse…