Today is my birthday.
You know, it’s funny when I was working on this memoir I was writing I was secretly always looking for a moment in my life where everything would be resolved. Something that lent itself to a hopeful ending for the pretty tragic tale. And in my heart I think I was always expecting a happy ending. Infact I came to expect this so much that I would hang all my hopes on whatever new thing entered my life. Of course doing this usually meant I was a basketcase and that whatever new thing had entered my life was quickly doomed. And I would try something once and think, “Oh my god, this is so horrible. I’m never doing this again.”
And sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes a holiday romance is just that and nothing more. And if you sort of know and understand those things you can appreciate them for what they are. However if you have convinced yourself that this is your ticket out of misery and into happiness and abundance – of course you’re doomed. I guess what I understood while writing bits and pieces of the memoir was that it wasn’t really that big a deal. To a normal person it wouldn’t have been such a big deal. I think a normal person would’ve brushed themselves off, uttered something about more fish being in the sea and got on with life. Increasingly I had a sense that what had occurred wasn’t that interesting. What made it interesting to me was my very pecuilar worldview. I thought the only way the story would work would be to allow people to see inside my head. This wasn’t really about unrequited love, rather it was an epic battle for love. I didn’t think I was lovable and I was searching for some evidence to support or challenge that expectation.
I tell you all this really just to say that you never know what the moment you’re having is, or what it is going to mean in the broader artwork that is your life at large. Because it takes time to reflect on the experiences you have and contextualise them – and sometimes, recontextualise them – just to see how they go together. I have this growing sense on this my 28th birthday that some of the things I thought were gravely important were actually not. When I reflect on certain friendships that evaporated into nothingness I am amazed at how frequently those friendships were just jumping off points to other friendships with other people, more enduring, more meaningful relationships. I used to lament that horrible things had happened to me and I only had a song or a blog post or whatever to show for it. But I am starting to think that perhaps far from being a consolation prize, that perhaps the artwork was the point of the whole thing all along. Because, honestly, being drawn back to writing and painting and singing has delivered me back to my own hand with a renewed sense of who I am. Once I took all the energy I was pouring into begging for acceptance and approval and affection and put it onto the page, things improved dramatically.