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

Monday, 2 March 2015

Me, Myself, and I

Laura Jane Williams

I’m doing a #NoWorkWeekend! I told anyone who would listen. I’m going to the beach! Without my laptop! Because I am totally in control of my life and my worries and definitely haven’t been developing a severe teeth-grinding problem or waking up in the middle of the night to check my emails!!!!

Off I went, then, booking somewhere to stay, organising buses and taxis and packing an impressively compact bag. I had thoughts, in the back of my mind, niggling sort-of-almosts, but I ignored them, because I! Was! Going! To! The! Sea! To! Relax!

And listen, it’s not that I have this awful life where I work in a coal mine to make a minimum-level wage that barely feeds my four kids and my heroin habit. Obviously. I live in Bali. And write life-affirming words all day. And eat a lot of vegetables. But I am also white, and middle-class, and university-educated, as well as an avid viewer of GIRLS: this means that I can find angst nestled up between my privileges without trying very hard at all.

Does that mean my troubles of perfectionism and self-issued pressure and fuck-what-does-my-future-really-hold heart palpitations are less valid than, say, death or taxes or the impossibility of who should replace Kelly Osbourne on The Fashion Police? 

No.

It does not.

So I told Twitter and Facebook and Instagram I was going away for the weekend, as well as few IRL’s, as an afterthought, and hopped aboard the party bus. I went to the beach, and… the beach it wasn’t. I spent not a small amount of cash getting to the coast, and had already paid online for my hotel, but the accommodation was not ten minutes’ walk to the shore, as advertised. And the accommodation was not “luxury”. There was hair in my sink and no pillows on the bed and the curtains didn’t close properly. I was feeling… lethargic. Not physically, but mentally. Spent before I’d arrived. Antsy.

I was gunning for a fight, and desperate to find it.

Pissy as fuck.

I got a motorbike down to the sea, which wasn’t the sea I hoped it would be: it was beautiful, very white cliffs of Balinese Dover, but I was expecting to be at the main beach. With hotels and people and those bars that run down onto the water with low tables and candles where you sit on mats on the sand. I wanted to drink a beer as the sun went down and make eye contact with cute boys, and ask to join tables of girls, and feel like I was on a vacation from my vaca-life.

What I got was deserted and windy and of void of life. Then I saw a small sign, hand-painted on cardboard, that said, “transport”.

“Could you drive me to Ubud?” I said.
“When?” he asked.
“… right now,” I said.

I spent a day’s budget and a morning getting to my destination, and two day’s budget and the rest of the afternoon getting back home again.

So that was Friday.

I talked it out with a new friend I made – a woman who reads this blog, actually, and was passing through Ubud, and so we met up and ate disgusting amounts of Fro-Yo and she told me, in no uncertain terms, to cut myself a goddamn break.

Okay, I pep-talked myself. Work can wait. Articles and posts and plans and projects can wait. Fucking. Relax.

I went to the pool of the five-star hotel down the road (ssssh! Don’t tell them!) and lay in the sun and drank a milkshake with a cherry on the side of the glass. I wrote my monthly reflections and swam and eavesdropped on other people’s conversations. I guess I fell asleep, too, because when I opened my eyes again it was to storm clouds and the beginning of rain.

Walking to a part of town I’d never been before, I felt headache-y and tense. A physical manifestation of my mental state.  A massage, I thought, and almost immediately happened upon a place with a special offer on. Can you make my headache go away? I asked, and lo-and-fucking-behold SHE DID.

I was so impressed that I got a mani-pedi, too, and the whole lot cost about twenty bucks. I sat sipping ginger tea, finally exhaling deeply, as I realised, yes. This is what I wanted all along. To feel pampered. To pay attention to myself. I went home, napped, showered, and put on some red lipstick as I declared: You, Laura, deserve a date night for one.

And that’s the point of this post, really. That I put on some fancy clothes, and with three glasses of white wine, alone, and my thoughts, I finally got the release I’d been after.

It’s almost comical, really. What I needed with myself I would’ve given far more readily to somebody else, a friend or lover or family member: quality time.


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