Get your crap together. Gather your bags. Carry your burdens. Adhere to the rules. Smile, heck – wave, if you please. Never question anything. Look to everyone else. Sound like everyone else. Compartmentalise. Be you, only if it slots into the fabricated idea of what’s expected of you.
Uh, no thanks.
Leaving the life that was ‘expected’ of me was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and I carry that pressure with me each day. Anyone who has ever walked out of their comfort zone, closed the door and stepped – unguided – into the future will know exactly what I’m talking about.
Anxiety greets and grips us when we tip the scales in favour of unchartered territories. What if there’s a darker side to adventure? Whether you end a relationship, change careers, muster the humility to say sorry in a tense situation or even decide to verbally acknowledge something you’ve struggled with – it’s still an adventure of sorts, and we all face it.
My thoughts wandered as my pen perpetually tapped the old wooden table, English Media never quite captured my attention, yet a strand of it will forever intrigue me. Todorov’s narrative theory of Equilibrium states that most scripts follow a three-part structure; everything is balanced to begin with (the state of Equilibrium), then something comes along to disrupt said state of balance and finally, the Equilibrium is restored whenever the disruption has been recognised and addressed. Simply put, whenever something alters and disrupts the Equilibrium, a domino effect ensues, and so events fall into place that simply ‘had to happen’. Of course, we only see this with hindsight.
Why does a theory concocted by a Bulgarian-French literary critic continually confound me? I guess it’s simple really, like most things in life, when we dig right to the heart of our problems, we find clarity. What I’ve learnt is that a lot of the time our ‘Equilibrium’, or starting point, looks wholesome or ‘happy’ to the world around us, our peers think ‘she or he has it all’, yet whenever we don’t adhere to the rules of society, that’s when we realise that our sense of Equilibrium was in fact a load of fabricated guff.
Trust me – it’s ok to feel anxious, it’s ok to question yourself, to ring someone and say ‘hey look, am I crazy to feel this way, but…’ and it most certainly is ok to admit that something HAS to change. Life is too short to not acknowledge things, to say what needs to be said and to follow where you’re being led.
In essence, our journey’s vary, the paths are often narrow and windy, they take us through the depths of the valleys and to the peaks of mountains, yet one thing remains; perseverance.
So on Sunday, we left our bags at our feet. Our burdens? We shared them, it’s crippling to carry such a weight on your shoulders. Oh, and our metaphorical ‘crap’? We didn’t get it together, because sometimes you have to lose everything in order to find what you need, not what you want.
We sipped coffee, sang in church, chatted with strangers, wolfed down avocado to the hum of Sunday morning bunch-goers and finally, as the leaves adorned the streets we walked, I realised that all I have to do is believe, and trust.
Ps. For the record, my favourite kind of people are the ones that don’t have their crap together. Furthermore, thank you for reading and not thinking I’m some sort of idealist driven whack-job in need of a psych-ward stint. If you meet me for a cup of coffee, you’ll know I’ll laugh, be distracted by a cute dog, I’ll talk about something intense yet with a lighthearted attitude and somehow, we’ll sit unaware of the rarity of it all. And why not? That’s where the little golden nuggets lie in life.
PPs. I’m not asking you on a coffee date, but if you want to – cool, let’s do it.