I knew this would happen.
I recently threw an existential tantrum. It went on for a while. I played the victim, I got mad, I got bitter, I lashed out. I was angry at the things that normally give me hope because, at the time, I didn’t have any hope left. I certainly didn’t want anyone throwing any of it in my face. Anything remotely motivational, positive or inspirational incited my arrogant wrath.
In normal circumstances, I have a deep and loyal faith in universal forces. I believe in my inherent spiritual safety and in my own power to create the world I’m living in. But I’m a human being and I’m susceptible to occasional periods of bleak, unwavering darkness that threaten to drown me. I throw tantrums and blame the world, other people, or the universe for everything I deem ‘wrong’ with my life.
Even with my ‘victim’ hat pulled low over my furrowed brow, I’m also a writer. When things get tough, I write. And I write, and I write, and I write until things feel bearable. Until the light seeps back in. I don’t share self-indulgent, insolent tantrums because I want to be saved or counselled or praised. I am grateful to the people in my life who care about me enough to have offered words of support, but it was not my intention to garner sympathy. I share my tantrums because I believe that, sometimes, it’s important to demonstrate all of the astonishing, spectacular ways we’re coming undone. We live in a world of impossibly high standards, harsh and vile judgements, and unadulterated fraud. My perceived inadequacies are normalised when I witness those brave few people exercising vulnerability and integrity, and teaching that not everything is, or has to be, perfect all of the time. And that’s more than okay. It’s okay to give yourself a week (or, in my case, lots of weeks) to play the victim, get pissed off, and flip the universe the bird (because let’s face it, sometimes the universe is a little bit of a dick).
I also share my tantrums because I’m selfish, and sharing them liberates me from their truth, their experience. As soon as I share the words, I realise the ridiculousness of my ‘problems’. My mind starts to clamber out of the hole it has dug for itself. For me, writing is healing. It stops the tantrum in its tracks. By the time the words are finished, everyone else is witnessing me stuck in a place that I’ve already fled from.
As I said, I knew this would happen. I entertained that ferocious, pretentious little child in me. I sat with her, I stroked her hair, I whispered in her ear, I kept her close and warm, I clapped while she shook her tiny fists and stomped her tiny feet. I enjoyed having her with me because she kept me strong while I was feeling lost (misguided as it was). But I knew, even as I gave her words, gave her weight, that I was going to be shooing her out of the house soon. (Again. Until next time).
I’m impatient and capricious. I’m wildly incongruous and I sweep from one emotion to the next. I get overwhelmingly frustrated at myself for not doing life better, for not living up to the impossibly high standards I’ve created for myself. I push all of the goodness out of my life with a perverse sense of smug satisfaction because I know that, in fact, I have far more than I need, in all of the ways; I’m one of the lucky ones. At times, I feel gloriously in control of my life, and at other times, I feel thoroughly unqualified for the world, incompetent and fumbling. Yesterday, bullshit memes offering cliched inspiration bore the brunt of my rage, but here now, today, I understand that clichés exist only for the truth in them. Yes, they’re sometimes infuriating, but they infuriate us because they are so simple and yet, so thoroughly, unarguably, truthful. They don’t entertain the misery in us when it wants to be entertained. They speak a universal truth that resonates with us all:
It really does get better (and then it will get worse again, and then it will get better, and worse, and better. Repeat).
Just because things are hard now, doesn’t mean they’ll always be this way.
You just have to get through it, and you will get through it.
Time is what will fix this.
You never know what’s around the next corner.
My favourite – it’s always darkest before the dawn.
I am humbled by the knowledge that the world doesn’t owe us anything. The universe owes us nothing. It has already provided, already equipped each and every one of us with the tools we need to flourish. What we do with those provisions is our own business, and it is entirely uncivilised of us to expect more. No, things are not perfect right now, and I don’t know when I will make it out of the dark place, but I will. I want to make this life work. I want to grow up and, eventually, become a wise old lady with hard-earned laugh lines on my face, and love and acceptance oozing out of every one of my impressively aged pores, and say to the world, ‘Look at me! I was brave and honest with this life, and sometimes I was utterly content, and sometimes I was devastatingly broken, but I’ve lived! I’ve lived out loud, with all of my precious heart.’ I’m here for a reason, glib cliché noted. I’m never anywhere without a reason, it’s the story of my life, and that’s not a cliché that’s just a fact. I’m always in the right place at the right time. So, I’ll make this work. I’ll make lemonade with the lemons of this new life I’ve chosen because, God knows, I don’t want to be the girl who leaves early just before the party gets good.