So, I got some news.
I can’t label it bad news, because even though it went in the AWWWW, FUCK! box when it immediately happened, I’ve since had an existential epiphany. This epiphany is in regards to the nature of my very being, and my purpose on this planet, as well as what colour I’d like my hair to be next and exactly how many sachets of mayonnaise I need to ask for with my pizza. So. You know. It’s kind of okay.
This job- this amazing, life-altering, must-have-it-right-now-please-universe job- has been simmering on my Life Plan burner for about six months. In my imagination, I was already living halfway across the oceans, and eating food I couldn’t pronounce, with utensils I couldn’t master and people I didn’t know very well but somehow had the best kind of adventures with.
And then the email came.
We regret to inform you…
I sat and stared at the computer. Well, I thought. There’s that.
(I also thought, THREE! THREE INTERVIEWS! I’VE MOVED IN WITH BOYFRIENDS BASED ON LESS THAN THREE SODDING INTERVIEWS! I COULD HAVE DONE SO MUCH MORE WITH THE TIME IT TOOK ME TO NOT GET THIS JOB! LIKE… JUGGLING PRACTICE! AND… YEAH! LOADS OF OTHER STUFF!)
For something I fantasised about, designed in techni-colour detailed glory- right down to the shoes I’d be wearing and how I might style my hair (BECAUSE SERIOUSLY. DON’T TELL ME YOU DON’T USE YOUR SECRET FRONTAL-LOBE PLAYGARDEN TO WONDER IF YOU’D BE FUNNIER IF YOU GOT LAYERS CUT IN.)- my only thought when it was pulled out from under me, when I was so sure, so painfully sure it was mine, was OH.
Which is kind of telling about what the head thinks it wants, and what the heart really wants instead.
For six months I’ve joked that yes, I’ll be heading to London in the New Year to try and make a proper go of this being a writer malarkey (because, of course, it really is that simple), but first I’ll just go via the Orient with this three-month teaching contract that has fallen into my lap.
Except that it didn’t.
And, as I ate gelato and looked at the sea and wiped stray tears from my cheeks, I realised, in a very Elizabeth Gilbert moment of self-exploration, that it was about time I didn’t get something I wanted.
I moved to Rome on a job that I got accidentally, with responsibilities that I didn’t actually want, and I said yes because I didn’t really have anything else going on. And so I was resentful, and cranky, and did not respond to the cultural and gastronomic Mecca that is the living history of the most beautiful city in the world in the way your average intrepid explorer might’ve done.
I get it now. I never really felt like I deserved to be in Rome, so I didn’t let myself enjoy it. Oh the irony, then, that because I didn’t let myself enjoy it I didn’t deserve to be there.
I did wistful staring into the distance as I processed my ice-cream cone and ideas, and then I knew I understood what Yoda meant. We do, or do not. There is no try.
And so, I must be hungry for what I do next, and because of the hunger I will do it well. It is supposed to be difficult, and messy, and intimidating and scary, this life and dreaming and the being all that we can be shit. And because the notion of laying my cards out on the table and saying OKAY WORLD. HERE IS MY HEART AND SOUL IN BOOK FORM. LET’S BOOGEY! these difficult things are the ones I’ve cleverly and clearly put off.
I’ve been all, oh but universe, I’m a traveller, I’d love to write full time but I’ve places to be and the universe has been all, well Laura, you ain’t got nowhere to travel to if you don’t have this fancy-pants job that some people actually want as a career but you just do because you’re scared of your ACTUAL passion. To which I’m all, huh? And the universe says, DON’T ACT DUMB and presents me with a Kelly Cutrone quotation that basically says GO GIVE BIRTH TO YOURSELF, DICK.
And so, that’s exactly what I have promised myself to do. It’s no good keeping wanky ‘creative notebooks’ about finding a tribe of actors and musicians and yogis and writers who push me to find all of those making things qualities in myself.
I actually have to go do it.
And so, Universe, you’ve given me no choice now.
As of September to London I go, book in hand and hope in heart, to see if I can be something, instead of just the more convenient anything.