Headspace

The past few days have been weird. Not in a good way, but finally this evening I’m feeling at peace with everything. There was a lot of stress and tension in our family last night, and I got caught in the crossfire, which resulted in a lot of hurt feelings (mine) and resentment (again, mine). Finally, today, I had to realise that only I can be determined enough to achieve my dreams, and I have to believe in myself enough. Even though acceptance from others matters to me (especially family), I’m setting myself up for a lot of heartache if I expect everyone to understand that writing is in my blood, a part of who I am – not just something I do.

The past year I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about what other people think of me – extended family, aquaintances and so on. We’ve all had that question – what are you doing? I always stumble with this question – I’m volunteering, I’m writing, I’m doing a creative writing course, etc. I always feel I have to justify myself. I’m conflicted between wanting to do well and be successful in other people’s eyes with being true to myself and following my own path. If I did what everyone expects of me, and gave up writing to work in a high powered city job, I would be unhappy. It doesn’t matter how much money it would pay – I don’t think that would make me feel any better.

The temptation to just give in means that sometimes I’ve been close to just giving up. It would be the easy thing to do. Thats why its a bad idea – you just know that if something is easy, then it can’t be right. The things that matter are hard work. Its determination that keeps me on, that keeps me writing this blog and my fatshion blog, that makes me scribble in my notebook. It would be easy to give up, because writing is hard. Some days I don’t have the motivation but I’m learning when to give myself a break – sometimes taking a break is good for you. I live in my imagination and my imagination feeds on the real world and culture. People keep telling me that its time to ‘live in the real world’ and ‘get a proper job’.

You know you’re a writer when you find yourself rebelling, when you insist you’re already living in the real world; its what you write about, even if it is fiction. The word ‘real’ suggests that what we are living right now is not real – that somewhere outside our houses or flats, there exists some sort of reality that we’re not a part of. And what is so great about ‘the real world’ anyway? When someone talks tough to you about needing to join the real world, they’re saying that they don’t think you know what its like. It invalidates imagination and creativity, suggesting that its not real and that its childish. I’ve always thought that imagination was something that created civilizations, inspired people and changed the world.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Sarah says:

    It is hard not to care about what others think, it’s almost as if it’s part of our nature or something…? I think we’ll probably always worry about what those who are close to us are thinking about what we’re doing or whether they support us…but at the end of the day, it’s only us ourselves who have to accept what we’re doing – we’re the ones who are living it. I guess that sometimes we have to remember that if we don’t do what we want, when will we ever do it? I’m not sure if I’m making much sense…hmmm…maybe I am? Keep going, I know you can do it xxx

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  2. LonerGrrrl says:

    I’ve had that tough tone of ‘get in the real world’ directed at me too, & have heard it bandied about by others more generally as well, & it tends to come from the mouths of small-minded people who are content to coast along with life as it is, who don’t think anything needs to change/could change, because they’re not adversely affected by anything.

    Don’t listen to them – indulging your imagination & the creativity & insight that can spring from that also amounts to living in the real world. More so in fact, because it comes from a deeper place, and not just the vacuous surface that makes up so much of the everyday we’re all just supposed to live on through.

    I feel closer to the ‘real world’ when I read those passages in a book or hear a lyric in a rock song that just strike the heart of what it’s all about, that incite emotion, revelation, revolution, inspire change, than I do sitting at a desk doing nothing all day, even though that’s what we’re ‘supposed’ to do, that’s the real world – never mind it’s not really ‘living’.

    There’s nothing wrong with seeking for more outside of your immediate reality & living inside your head – especially if you intend to use what you find there in your writing, to share with others.

    There’s too much ‘just going along in the real world’ – if people were more able to stop rushing to conform and keep up appearances all the time, and more space and time was allowed for reflection and creativity, the world would be a better place, we’d be happier people.

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  3. Jen says:

    “Thats why its a bad idea – you just know that if something is easy, then it can’t be right. The things that matter are hard work.”

    Absolutely – if something’s worth doing, then it’s hard.

    The ‘real world’ is a largely made-up concept anyway, I mean everything’s ‘real’. The value of work is independent of its monetary value, I mean for a start most of the most valuable jobs are also very low-paid.

    Then again, any experience, work or otherwise, is useful to a writer. Besides, there’s the purely material aspect – if you work fewer hours at higher pay, you’ll have more time to write. But that’s exactly why you don’t engage in a high-flying legal or finance career as just a means to an end, particularly legal cause you need to work 60 hour weeks at almost secretarial pay when you start. The best work is the work where you have most to contribute and that will be most useful. Writing is an invaluable skill, although as an area of study it can be discouraging and pretty hard to teach, particularly the creative kind. You’ve got to be tough as shit to do that properly.

    Still, whenever I’ve heard that I need to get in the ‘real world’, it usually means that one day I’ll want to own a nice home with doilies on the matching furniture and shop at Waitrose and be heterosexual and have kids and throw out the guitars. It’s all well-meant advice from good people – there is no other kind of people. Thing is, that’s a version of ‘adulthood’ that’s more or less an eternal childhood. Fuck it – you don’t live just to afford the more expensive range of lampshades from Ikea.

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