At the moment I have ideas and half-written blog posts floating around in my mind. Options, thoughts and arguments. I started reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and in her words “I have to write every day or I go mad” (something like that anyway). Sure, my vocab is limited to that of a 27-year-old who barely learnt anything at high school, skimmed her way through university, and never studied literature, and whose idea of grammar is to use it however you feel like as long as it kind of makes sense – but still, I MUST write.
This year for me has been a year of deep thinking. It’s fucking exhausting really, but I really feel like “illusions” keep lifting and my perception of this human life has completely changed. I can’t quite explain it in words, nor thoughts, as it doesn’t all make sense to me yet, but the things that do, I must write about it before I lose the fucking plot. What else to do with all of this? I have to turn in into SOMETHING! The notepad in my phone is filled with half-written half-formulated ideas and thoughts. I write them whenever I can. The other day I was writing on the back of a scooter.
Alchemy, some might call it. This is actually the practice of turning lead into gold, changing basic substances (like metal) into other substances. Perhaps, darkness into light? Perhaps turning pain into something else? What else do we do with it? I can’t suppress it anymore with medication, alcohol, addictions – so, I must find a healthier way to feel the darkness. Darkness is part of being human, it’s always going to be here and we have a choice of what we do with it. If you’re numbing it away, you’re also numbing away lightness – and that I no longer want to do. But then, this darkness: I must let it move through me with words and with breath.
It’s almost like I’m ’becoming an adult’, maybe? Questioning everything has become a necessity for me now, to come up with my own ideas about what things mean. But, it’s hard! I almost wish I could go back to the illusions I once believed, it would be easier. This will probably only make sense to someone who has gone through what I’m going through right now! Otherwise, I’m sure I’ll sound as cooked as ever.
ANYWAY: things I do know. In the pursuit to find how “who I really am” and what I really want, some things have become really clear. The most interesting part of living in Bali for me, apart from everything I’ve learnt business wise (so.fucking.much) is diversity. I’ve LOVED so much talking to a range of very different people and learning how they see the world, what they talk about, what they care about etc. It’s actually kind of blown my mind just how we all experience this life so differently. And like, my experience of diversity is probably level1 (if there were 10 levels), because in some ways these people are so similar to me. So, all the billions of others worldwide? The thought actually hurts my head. How are they experiencing life?
I’ve gotten pretty clear on things that feel right to me. Like: what I think about sex (fucking love it and I’m very pro-casual sex and hook-up culture). I thought everyone probably thought the same, but noooo they do not! Last year a friend even got angry that I was suggesting non-monogamy ideas (her fear, not mine). I think that’s what diversity has done for me: I thought everyone mostly thought the same as me, and now it’s crazy to even think I ever once thought that. I’m not (completely) stupid, I always knew on some level they don’t and we are all different, but fuck people really think so, so differently! Shockingly so when you begin to be exposed to it.
Illusions of the self and ego… as a friend put it this morning ‘it’s like a death of the self’. I’ve been attached to who I was, who I am, and who I want to be. For work, I’ve been creating my ‘brand’ – how I want to appear to the world creatively. Drawing on women I find powerful and incredible, words I love (fuck is number one word, of course), imagery that aligns with who I am etc. This has been really fun, but also – how strange to create an identity. But, we are all at different times. Outwardly successful people like Tony Robbins and others have said they have created themselves. They created their identity. We create our identities without thinking anyway, but now that I’m wanting more out of life and to get where I want to, I’m also consciously creating it. There will always be subconscious parts of identity and I know ‘consciously creating your identity’ might sound a little fucked, but if we are going to be doing it anyway, why not make some choices about it? That’s what ‘conscious’ means to me: taking some time to think about it and making your own choice.
The back end of all of this is relentless. Working through pain, sadness, fears and sitting with these heavy emotions is crippling at times. I haven’t slept well the past two nights as new thoughts and feelings arose and I think I had been suppressing, so then when I finally stopped at the end of the day: the thoughts came. I had to get up early this morning to go to the Immigration office in Depensar an hour away, and had a double shot coffee on an empty stomach – something I never do now as it fucks with me! Even though a mere few months ago I’d have 3 on an empty stomach just to get me started on my day (how actually fucked is that!!). And then: I had to write as soon as I got home. Actually, in the car, I started writing on my phone. I needed to – how else to explain what I’m feeling. How else to move it through me? How else not to let it swallow me alive?
As everything falls from around me, of what I once knew, I’m left with some very scary and dark feelings and thoughts. Flashes of depressive thoughts arise, which is so confusing as I also feel happy most of the time. Lightness comes with darkness, darkness with light. Some thoughts were ‘what if I died right now’. Like – that dark! (Don’t worry I’m fine most of the time I just want to express what darkness is to me).
It’s funny really (well, dark and sad but ya know), how we shy away from showing these emotions since we all feel them in one way or another. And they are just emotions. I wonder where that comes from, humans and sociology – like we have to pretend we have it together in front of others when our minds are all just as fucked as each other? (Some more than others, obvs). But you know, what’s with the stigma with expressing them? Do we see it as ‘weakness’? Who says we have to ‘be strong’ anyway. That’s one of my most hated sayings of all time: ‘Stay strong’ – what! Fuck off. Like, pretend to be okay when you’re not? To suppress what you’re feeling in front of others so they won’t have to be inconvenienced by it?
It’s not a cry for help sharing feelings. I posted a couple of things on insta this year expressing dark emotions and friends reached out and asked if I was okay lol bless them but seriously, is that how dis-attached we all are from expressing ourselves? If a form of self-expression is me posting on Instagram and disrupting most feeds of fake bullshit that people think I’m not okay? I know you all feel these feelings too. Can we be okay with expressing ourselves and not labelling it as a breakdown? It wasn’t – it was just the day in the life of a human. If we don’t, then at some point or another we will have a breakdown! (been there, done that). Note: I’m not criticising friends for reaching out to me is this sitcho (super cute of them!!), but I am using it as a point to show how seriously dis-attached we are as a whole that even my own friends are saying that to me.
It’s not me trying to get attention. It’s me navigating them how I best feel like navigating them. I’m not asking anyone else to take them away from me. I used to do that do, rely on lovers or friends to help ease the pain and suffering we all feel from time to time. It’s part of being human.
I am the most independent I’ve ever been. I do not rely on anyone anymore, nor do I want to. I don’t rely on a relationship for emotional support, anyone for money – as I’m learning to create my own ways of making money – only doing things that I really want to do. Sure, I have a support network that help me a lot. Friends and family I can talk to, people I can ask for guidance. But ultimately, I don’t need anyone. This again isn’t to appear ‘strong’ or ‘holier than thou’ (the worst, right!!), it’s just how I realise I need to live my life. As relying on others was killing me, slowly but it was. I have to live life on my own terms – for me, I have no choice but to do this, but that means being completely self-sufficient.
Humans, in general, are happiest in a community. Some of the people who live the longest in the world have strong support networks, a healthy social life and community. But what about the others? People like me who aren’t ‘group’ people? Who like cultivating 1:1 relationships and actually, for the most part, feel completely miserable in a group. How do we best live in our (chosen) solitude?
This has been quite the shift from how I used to live. With it, comes a lot more freedom and joy, but also it’s a lot harder. Isn’t it mad really that I’ve been alive for 27 years and never lived alone? I’ve always had family, a boyfriend or housemates. There’s nothing wrong with living with others of course, and if you live somewhere like London it’s almost impossible to afford to. But for now: I choose to live alone. For now, it’s just me. It’s really hard sometimes, but it’s new and I’m still adapting. There’s no way I’d have it any other way right now. I actually couldn’t. I can barely spend much time socialising really (the less I probably ever had – 100% by choice), let alone share my home with anyone else.
It’s not that I’m consciously staying away from others, it’s just that I need so much time and space at the moment to feel what I’m feeling. To take myself away from everyone else’s thoughts and options and formulate my own.
The darkness? It was gone for a while when I threw myself right into all things spiritual and found solace in that. But living in Ubud has taught me, in the words of a friend: ‘spiritually is dangerous’. There are people living in this little town in the jungle that are literally in a world of their own. I barely understand some of the shit they talk about, most are buzzwords like ‘consciousness’ ‘authenticity’ blah, blah, blah. Sure, I’ve used these and these are concepts I’m really interested in and believe them – but, I need to balance this with real vibes or I’ll probably float the fuck away!
There’s a lot of ‘holier than you’ vibes. Living here has actually put me off spirituality, I’ve been turning away from it as I don’t identify with the extremes of it.
I guess I’m just trying to find my own way, forge my own path. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done without a doubt, but the most rewarding – of course. I’d much rather live life this way. I still love a lot of spiritual shit, but I also love the ‘real world’ – there’s a fuck load of good stuff in there too! And even though I’m surrounded by a lot of crazy shit at the moment, it’s reinforcing the need for me to still stick to my own thoughts and options.
Spirituality can have the same dogma as religion, for those who choose to walk its path. Don’t get me wrong, spiritual people are really lovely, and for the most part, really happy and joyful- it’s just that I can’t fully buy into it you know? I can’t buy into anything right now. Everything seems kind of fake right now, like everyone scrambling for identity. Either in spirituality or the ‘real world’. Either through prayer, or crafting a basic as fuck insta posting the same shit that everyone does. You know?
I’m getting back into it a bit now though, in a way that feels right to me (I’m defo not going all-the-way as I’m not into it all-the-way). The word ‘god’ doesn’t scare me anymore. “My god is Fuck” I said to a friend recently – not sex, just the word in every form. The god of fuck knows what, what the fuck ever, but a “god” seeking for a whole existence.
In every pocket of humanity, are we all just trying to fit in?
I mostly admire those that don’t. All of my heroines and heroes for that matter are different to others. How were their lives? How did they navigate it being different and going against the norms? I’m not saying I am, I mean, most of the time I feel pretty unoriginal, to be honest, and face a constant battle of fitting in vs standing out and speaking my truth. But, like how did they actually do it?!
Earlier this year I wrote a lot of inspirational positive stuff. That is still SO important and how I operate. BUT, suppression of ANY feelings does not help anyone! It’s OKAY to feel emotions! No matter how dark, scary and confusing they are. I need to turn my into words. Some turn theirs into art. Some get out of their minds and run, surf, dance. It doesn’t matter how you alchemise if you’re not numbing, but it just matters that you do so it doesn’t eat you alive. Darkness must move through us. We must let it exist, but we must let it pass so we can feel the light again. It’s easy to get sucked in by it, it’s pull is strong.
Some numb the existential pain of humanity by getting drunk, doing drugs, being obsessed with work, having a lot of sex- I have done all of those. They are all addictions. What drives you to partake in those behaviours? Now that I’ve stepped out of the binge drinking and drugging culture it’s pretty fucking crazy seeing it from the outside.
Sure, it’s fun to party – but do we actually all do it to escape the mundane, to feel something, to stop thinking? Um, yeah. When I operated more superficially I would say I just wanted to have fun. But at night, a lot of emotions would come. I would have problems sleeping. I didn’t know how to feel it all. Those feelings I was suppressing through stimulants and escapism.
And now that I’m not escaping again, this time through spirituality and being addicted to working, the feelings are back, but different now. They are new, but fuck me they are intense and strong. I’m quite possibly feelings these emotions and having these thoughts for the first time in my life. I can’t go back, I can’t escape them – my only choice is to feel them. I can’t cover them up with affirmations and gratitude – both of which are super powerful – but really we do ultimately need to address what sits underneath and feel our feelings.
Today: I don’t know if I can handle feeling any more than I do right now. It might swallow me whole if I don’t quite yet know how to alchemise it and know how to help myself navigate through them stat! I just know I have to write, write or die. I sat in a presence meditation for 20 minutes and the resistance was intense! I really wanted to stop. But, I lay there and breathed. 4 tears escaped me, I would welcome more right now, but that’s all that came.
I believe the human race is plagued by the pain of existence, of our mind, of being overidentified with them, of creating identities based on externalness. By having conscious minds we have access to a whole lot of thought and emotions. Most of us (myself included) push a lot of these emotions out, shy away from what it really means to be human and what it really feels like to be alive. Because it’s easier. So fucking much easier. Drinking is easier than just lying there and breathing and feeling. Fucked huh?!
We haven’t yet evolved in this level of consciousness. Perhaps humans will only last 100 years, and 100 from now we will have advanced to the point of not having to feel all of the darkness, the pain of existence, the suffering, to feel the light. Who knows. Probably time for me to do some academic reading on this!
If anyone has read this, my point here really is: feel your feelings. It’s safe to, even when it feels scary. Being a human can be fucking hard beyond words sometimes. But we all feel these feelings, extremely strong emotions, in one way or another. What we will resist persists. Instead of numbing and pushing through, try sitting there with them. Even though it might actually feel like it sometimes, they won’t kill you if you learn to sit there with them. They can sit along lightness. Nothing really can ‘get rid’ of them, the only choice we have is it feel and breath and turn them into something – anything! And that, I promise you, you can do.
After releasing a couple of tears, sitting and breathing, talking to a friend who has experienced this and more and hearing the comforting words and explanation of what is happening to me: I feel better. Tender, but a little lighter. A tiny bit of that darkness has moved through me and turned into light. Enter: another layer shedded, another level of realisation reached, another chance to feel freer.
We all have to experience these emotions anyway, but it’s completely up to us what we do with them.
Today, with compassion and deep love to you and all of humanity as a whole – I know that sounds wanky but right now my heart goes out to anyone suffering (emotionally or otherwise) and I pray (to my “god” of “fuck-knows-what”, maybe it’s compassion and love in humans?) to alleviate their pain, in any way they can.