Expectations

Sometimes I find myself so caught up in who I’m “supposed” to be, that I forget who I am. I find myself constantly either battling expectations, or trying to meet them, and end up emotionally exhausted from the effort. I mean, come on; existing is hard enough, without having to try and conform to the version of you that other people think you are.

I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure lately, to be the person other people expect. And I don’t mean that I’m actively going out of my way to change who I am for someone else, but rather that I feel the weight of everyone else’s expectations of who I am meant to be.

See, a couple of days ago, I cut off most of my hair. Before the big snip, my hair was somewhere around waist length, and was dyed a dark red. When I said I had booked in to cut it, almost everyone that I told expressed disappointment. “But your hair is so beautiful”, “but you’ve been growing it for so long” and “you’ll regret it” were the things I heard the most. I felt as if I had to constantly explain that I needed a change, that I wanted something lighter for summer, that it’s my goddamn hair and I can do what I want with it.

When I felt the weight of my locks disappear, I felt literally and metaphorically lighter. By the time the hairdresser was finished, and my long red hair had become a jet black bob, I knew that this was the change I had been craving. And the first in a series of changes I plan to make, in an effort to improve and progress.

It’s not just about my hair though. At work, I fight the endless battle against customer expectations that I can’t do my job because of my gender. When I tell people I don’t want kids, I get smug sneers and condescending comments about how I’ll change my mind, because women my age are expected to want families. I’ve been too afraid to admit that I might be a little bit lonely, because I feel like I need to be this strong, confidently single woman who don’t need no…other woman. Because for so long, that’s who I have been, and my brain keeps telling me that to admit that secret aloud is akin to selling out. It’s a heavily ingrained mindset and a hard habit to break.

The truth is, lately I’ve just been overwhelmed. Between an ongoing (and long drawn out) rental dispute and the accompanying anxiety, a weighty frustration at how this year has turned out, a heavy dose of newfound and unfamiliar self loathing, and the absolute wretchedness that is Christmas, I just want everything to stop. I want to run away to a quiet little cabin somewhere and get my bearings. And to shrug off all the expectation, to start fresh. But since I can’t do that, maybe the next best thing is to stand naked and barefoot on the grass under tonight’s bright full moon, and ground myself. Because, let’s be real, everything is better when you’re naked.

I made a change, don’t carry on; I left my locks at the hair salon.
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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

You know the saying, you sound like a broken record? Well, I’m kind of like that, except my record isn’t broken. It’s just really short, and the player is damaged so it just keeps playing that short album on repeat. You may be familiar with some of my greatest hits, such as “I hate my job” and “I feel so unfulfilled” and, my personal favourite, “what am I supposed to do with my life?”.

I feel as though I’m never fully satisfied, wherever I am, and whatever I’m doing; it’s never enough. When I lived in the city, all I wanted to do was quit my job and move back home. When I got my job back here, I was thrilled. It felt like a step up from my last stressful position, and I not only got regular breaks, but an actual weekend. Now, almost six months into that job, I dread going in. It is mind numbing and soul crushing. The work is monotonous, and about as far from stimulating as a job could possibly be. As I said to my best friend yesterday, I feel like I lose all my colour and vibrancy the minute I step in the door. 

I am considering quitting, but the thing that is holding me back at the moment is that one thought I can’t shake; what’s the point? So I quit this job and find another that seems like a better one for a few months, until I get to that same stage of boredom and discontent, and start looking again. It is an endless circle, chasing fulfilment and satisfaction, or at the very least, a job that doesn’t make me want to shoot myself in the face. But decent jobs are scarce, especially without a qualification, and more to the point, I have no idea what I want to do.

I turned 25 this month, and I feel like I’m no better off now than when I was 20, except when I was 20 I was working in a job I actually loved, and I hadn’t yet become so jaded. I know, I know. 25 is still young, and I have opportunity and all that. But the thing that terrifies me more than anything, is the notion that this will be my life. Going from job to job, living in rented houses and scrounging money fortnight to fortnight just to get by, until I eventually die. I mean, what kind of life is that? So I have decided that something needs to change. 

I need to start being an adult about this, and work out a bit of a plan. I need to decide if I want to stay in this rut, and get progressively more bitter and angry about my life, or if I want to go, and make the life I want for myself. I need to start thinking seriously about whether my writing is good enough to take me the places I want to go, or whether I need to start working on a backup plan. And more than anything, I need to start finding joy in things again. Because at the rate I’m going, all this pent up rage and bitterness I have is going to end up killing me. I’ve had a bad year. I’ve changed, and not in a good way, and I’m not sure I like who I’m turning into. I need to get back to that idealistic 20 year old Amy, have a chat with her and get some perspective. 

I know how I want my life to be. I just have to figure out a way to achieve it.

Anyway, that’s my current existential crisis. I hope you’re all well, and that wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, it’s something you love.

Bad Decisions, and Not-So-Green Grass

Do you ever have a run of seriously bad decision making? I’ve been having one of those for…well, pretty much this whole year. I’ve been in this cycle of feeling stuck, and making changes to try to better my situation, only to have it completely backfire and turn out worse than before. That whole thing about the grass not being greener on the other side has definitely hit home with me lately.

I have stuck around where I should have walked, and walked away from things I should have stuck with. I have completely uprooted my life for the possibility of something better, and had it be a huge disappointment. I’m no happier now than I was at the start of the year, and I think that’s what is really getting to me recently. I just turned 24 and I think I am the unhappiest I have ever been, and it is all the result of decisions I’ve made that I thought were going to improve my situation. Oh, I had grand plans. But one by one, they have failed and both my life, and the dreams I had have withered away and turned to dust. How’s that for some emo teenage regression?

I just don’t know what to do anymore. I’m having this giant existential crisis and trying to battle the ever increasing numbness that has damn near engulfed me entirely. The energy is drained out of me and what life I had has been swallowed up by the daily grind. I feel like my future isn’t even in my hands. When I’ve tried to be strong and take control of it, somehow it always fails spectacularly, and I find myself right back at the start again. It’s like driving along an endless highway, with no destination, no rest in sight, and nothing to look at but the bleak expanses of my own mundane existence.

And see the thing is, they keep telling you that if you don’t like something about your life, then you should change it. Well, I did change it, but that doesn’t seem to be working too well for me. Perhaps I’m doing something wrong?

Existential Angst, and the Big Question

For the last four or five years, I have kept a diary. Sometimes there are things you can’t blog about, can’t talk about. Sometimes you just need to get the thoughts out of your head. My diary knows more about me than even my closest friends. So I sure do hope it’s not in the habit of gossiping! Anyway, I went to write in my diary tonight and nothing happened. My pen sat poised above the paper, and my hand refused to move. All the crazy, mixed up thoughts swirling around in my head, and I couldn’t seem to release any of them. Except one. And really, that one thought pretty much summed up everything.

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what the hell am I doing?’ I know I’m not the only one to have ever had that thought. I know there are billions of people in the world who have had extended bouts of existential angst, and found themselves wondering about their purpose. I know I’m not alone. So where are the solutions? Where is my answer? What the fucking hell am I doing?

As the end of the year draws closer, I realise that I am almost exactly where I was at the start of the year. I mean yeah, I moved out and have just financed a new car. But I’m still working the same job in the same town and I am no closer to achieving my goals. And the more I think about it, the more I realise I don’t even know what my goals are anymore. I have less and less faith in my writing abilities, and I’m not really good at anything else. And moreover, I don’t have a clue what I would like to do. Sure, there’s the dream of creating, but is it a really viable option? Can I have any real measure of success with the limited skills I’ve managed to develop over the last twenty three years?

So what is my solution? Spend the rest of my life working for other people and earning just enough to pay my bills and my rent and my loan, and then go home to an empty house and eat Mi Goreng while I try to coax some love out of pets that only show me any interest when I’m feeding them? I just want to create and have adventures and have a house with a room entirely dedicated to books. And I want a job that I am passionate about. I just need to figure out what it is that I’m passionate about. And that’s the trouble.

I need an oracle, or a fortune teller, or a mind reader or the bloody Sorting Hat. A sign, a surprise opportunity, a coma from which I awake having had a grand epiphany. Someone or something to point me in the right direction, and tell me what I’m supposed to be doing. I know I’m too young to be worrying about this. But most other people I know seem to have their shit together and I’m gonna be honest with you here, guys; I’m starting to panic.