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

Monday, 14 January 2013

In which I am terrified of everything

People tell me that I’m brave. I know that sounds like a wanky thing to say, but it’s true. And I get off on it. I find my identity in being the one who always says yes. I love being the girl who means it when she says it, and says it only because she means it. I believe in action as much as I do words, and that standing still is falling over.

Don’t mention that around Laura, they say, she’ll hold you to it…

I can be a bit of a liability that way. Come on, let’s just fucking DO IT. Responsibility cast to the wayside in favour of living a story. Consequences are for tomorrow, and tomorrow is whatever we make it. Take a chance today.

It’s my version of living on purpose, of finding the adventure. I’ll get on the plane or take the job or demand exactly what it is I want in that moment, even if I might not want it the next. Nownownow. Gimme. A constant high, and not entirely dissimilar to how I imagine life to be in a musical.

Because why can’t life be a musical?

(Don’t answer that.)

Asking the questions. Finding the dreamers and looking for love. Learning it all. Doingdoingdoing because movement must mean progress, so don’t stop! Stopping is failure! QUICK! MAKE A DECISION TO DO SOMETHING IMPULSIVE OR RISK BOREDOM AND THUS SEE SURE IMMEDIATE DEATH IN LIFE!

By my own admission it’s an exhausting way to live, but like my brother said, that’s just how I am.

Last Tuesday morning I stopped moving. 

I stopped moving, and I lay down in bed beside my brother’s fella, and I cried really quite hard and for a very long time thinking one thing, over and over again. I was supposed to be getting ready for work. I made a decision to be late. I eventually started a whisper, in between heavy gulps for air and much nose-blowing, and saying the words out loud made me acknowledge the weight of what I was feeling. 

I feel…I feel really, really sad, I said. I don’t know if I can do this.

Do what? He asked.


I’m overwhelmed with day-to-day living. Paralysed with the terror of routine. Petrified that committing to a life in one place will steal the best parts of me because I define who I am by how many ridiculous voyages across the world I’ve had that day, or week, or month. I’ve never just… well, existed.

Sounds ridiculous? That doesn’t make it any less real to me.

There’s a beauty I can't seem to master in waking up, putting on the kettle and looking at the London rooftops day after day. Getting to work on time, knowing all the faces on the way, and spending eight, nine, ten hours, five days a week, sat beside people who probably we wouldn’t actively choose to be in such close proximity with in our actual real lives. Except, these are our actual real lives. That’s brave.

I see the magic but cannot quite execute knowing where the best lunch spots are around here, where the locals go, and knowing who’ll be free for a vodka on the way home. Whoever that person is, they’ll be wrestling their own demons, reaching for their own dream, and still they’ll manage to find clean underwear to wear everyday. That’s brave. I seem to struggle to breathe.

It’s brave to go home determined to cobble together dinner, to share wine with housemates and lovers and spouses, to dissect the minutiae of the day and find something to laugh about. Being in company, committing to making something together-  that’s brave.

Saturday shopping trips and Sunday brunches and wild nights out and snuggling up to read the papers and here, I ran you a bubble bath.

Doing this, over and over, is all there is to it. Getting on with it, unassuming and honest and hopeful and real. The laundry and bus timetable and workouts and snatched conversations that make you think about things just a little bit differently. There’s a bravery in finding the commonality in people. In becoming part of something bigger.

We all want the same. To belong.     

I worry I’m not good at that. That I can’t do it. That building a life for myself is so utterly alarming in it’s magnitude that I’ll walk out of work one day and onto a plane, and I’ll never know what it is to call a place home because I’m too afraid to try.

It feels like the bravest thing in the world to have a flat and a job and friends and boys and a regular coffee shop for more than a few months at a time. Brave to just embrace what I’m being offered up by the universe and say, yes. I commit. Let’s do this. Let’s build a life.

I don’t think I’m brave at all. Now the initial jet lag of landing here, in London, not forever, but for... now, at least, just to see, has worn off, and the year is looking me square in the eye, I cried that morning because, well. I’m really quite terrified. 

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