because none of us is fucking up like we think we are, is what i'm trying to say

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Sonder. Also: me, me, me.

The thing, apparently, is that I am not the centre of the universe.

This week has been one of monumental upheaval for me. My states of being can be clearly divided into one of only two categories at any given moment: absolute blind panic with flushed cheeks of confusion and manically unfocused eyes of doom, or total ecstasy with flushed cheeks of sheer pleasure and manically focused eyes as I drink down the glory of everything, ever, so quickly that it gives me a headache and I look like I am on a particular brand of paranoid high.

I guess I kind of am.

However. It would seem that one can partake in a free walking tour of London, and when the (incredibly charismatic, intensely humorous and deliciously knowledgeable) guide asks So, how long have you lived in London, then? HE WON’T EVEN BAT AN EYE when your response is Two days.

Two days! That means I just got here! And to get here, I must’ve made choices! And decisions! And am probably experiencing large amounts of internal anxiety All. The. Time! MY CHEEKS AREN’T JUST BURNING LIKE THIS BECAUSE LAUGHING AT ALL YOUR INCREDIBLY WITTY STATEMENTS AS YOU TEACH ME THINGS GIVES ME LADYWOOD!

Although, that might’ve been part of it.

The guide just sort of muttered a ‘cool’ or variation thereof, and off we trotted to the next palace/old building/place of historical note. Meanwhile, I was left thinking geez. I’ve practically scaled the moon and this guy can’t even muster up an ‘Oh, really? Good for you!’ token acknowledgement.

But, that’s just the thing, isn’t it? My moon is somebody else’s backyard, and my giant leap for mankind is the school run for some. By proxy, then, what ain’t no thang for me is another woman’s personal challenge, another chap’s biggest fear.

And isn’t that interesting?

Yesterday I had to make way through the centre of town during the commute rush hours, and as I tussled with the crowds off of the tube and poured out with them onto the street, I genuinely marvelled at being part of the mob. I actually (embarrassingly) thought to myself, a mob of intention. And then I slapped my own face, so that you won’t have to.

And these people, mostly dressed in black, and most definitely not in neon pink-collared shirts like I was, turned left and right and crossed over the road- ants busying away at their particular role in the collective. I acted like I knew where I was going, which really meant I let the other ants lead as I followed, and I thought to myself, Where is everybody going? I bet they didn't all just move here. Everybody seems to have such purpose. I wonder what mountains these guys will scale today?

Normally I have an internal monologue that refuses to be quiet, on repeat in my head every waking hour, and some slumbering ones, too, and it goes me, me, me.

Laura Jane Williams, what are you going to do now you’re here? Laura Jane Williams, how are you going to afford rent next month? Laura Jane Williams, as if you have any business thinking you can sell a book. Laura Jane Williams, that’s a really dumb blouse you’re wearing.

Until I was part of that mob of intention, I don’t suppose it's occurred to me lately that this isn’t the internal monologue of everybody else. I can’t imagine what I presumed them all to be thinking if it weren’t for about me. But OF COURSE it is irrelevant to a tour guide that I am meeting him after moving here within the time frame of the actionable zone of the morning after pill, that I’ve started an adventure that is already shaping my life. To him, I could be an anecdote at the dinner table that night (“And do you know what she asked me when we got to Buckingham palace…?), and to the Canadian lady on the tour I could be only a half-memory (“She wore the most bizarre peacock feather attached to her hat.”) To the men in suits we passed near Trafalgar Square I could’ve been background noise (“Who IS that saying mememe?”), to the lady who sold me an egg and cress sandwich totally forgettable (“…”).

I’m the centre of my own universe, and not of everybody else’s. They've got their own moon landings to deal with.

Everyone else has a story too- each businessman and young mother and fellow tour-mate and sandwich seller has their own moon-landing and dream and internal monologue and worries, and their cheeks are red and shiny just like mine, but for totally different reasons that me and my little dream don't even factor into. I'm a light in a background window to some. 

That's beautiful.

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