Who I am

who-am-iI tend to make old mistakes, again and again. Sometimes I think it’s because they are less scary than making new ones. One of them is trying to find out ‘who I am’.

I try to blend in with the culture I blame for my twisted thoughts, my presumptions, my obsessions. Like a chameleon I change my dress sense every time I change environment; nonchalant, hippie, sexy, feminine, outdoorsy, there is no end. And none of them are me, yet all of them are. Who am I? How do I dress/behave/feel to express my original self? Who even cares besides me?

I have my coffees in cafes that allow my laptop as a canvas for my futile attempts to poetry and thought trains that go in circles. No one really needs to read my verbal excretions, but god I do need to get it out of my system. But when I try to be a writer, a poet I fail. ‘what would I have to do, what should the quality be for me to BE this thing?’ When can I honestly say to people ‘yes, I write’. The question itself castrates me, and everything I’m trying to verbalise freezes into other people’s words and writing styles. I get stuck in writing the thing I think you might want to read. I get stuck in trying to portray myself as smart, clever, sympathetic, strong, optimistic, all-knowing.

I’ve had many jobs and job-titles, have moved around in different cities, different countries and never found myself in any of them. I think I wanted to be something/someone but could never find the right setting to become that person. I looked for other settings, without really knowing what it was that I wanted to be. ‘If If find the right setting, will I then automatically and finally become ‘me’?’

So there is the old questions: ‘Who am I, who do I want to be?’. And I’m growing to dislike this question because the answer is always going to be crap. I don’t want to be a manager or an employee of the month,  not a lady or a rebel, not a servant or a mistress, not promiscuous or a saint. And at the same time I want to be all of these things every now and then. But why should I aspire to be things I can define myself by with just one word?

If I NEED to define myself as something, in order for me to know how I am supposed to behave, what does this mean if I become sick, or poor or depressed. If this means that I can only be one or two things at a time (and include the appropriate behaviour) it could then mean that my whole being could be defined as sick, poor or depressed. I think this would not be helpful in any way.  I think a better alternative to this would be to perceive myself as a (complex, ever-developing, emotional) person and maybe suffer from these things every now and then.

If I feel like I need to behave a certain way because I decided that this definition is ‘me’, I am restricting myself and my creativity starves. It means I can never write a thought unless it makes for good reading. It means I cannot behave in a way that is going to provoke change. Defining myself as something pacifies me and makes me feel that I have no choice but to behave as expected.

Maybe I’m already who I want to be, who I wanted to grow up as. I’m not a manager, or employee of the month, not a lady, a rebel, a servant or mistress, promiscuous or a saint. I’m not even a writer. Maybe I am merely capable of being these things with different amounts of success and satisfaction when I choose to be. Maybe I should stop searching for who or what I am and explore the things I’m capable of and enjoy being capable of. The things that are helpful, satisfying, and make me feel happy with what I’m doing. The most important thing about the outcome of my actions should be that it is helpful for me and my place in the world (incl. relationships, health etc) and not about whether I fit the definition I was trying to become.

My dad died 4 years ago today. I think he was searching his entire life for who he was or what he was supposed to be, and consequently became a person who did not enjoy his life, family and job. I think he only found the non-importance of this question, and started searching for the things that made him feel proud of his capabilities after we stopped speaking to each other almost 7 years ago. I think this year is the first time I can admit that I am glad that he did realise this eventually.

And I am sad that I missed it.

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The lady on stilts and the hobo

I took on a new old job (temporarily) in a pub and needed some shoes. As most people who have done this kind of work know: shoes attract beer. No matter how superfly your pouring skills are, at the end of the night you will ALWAYS have at least one shoe soaked in lager (oh the evil Tennents smell), Guinness,  and/or  vodka cranberry.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALong story short: I needed me some cheap black, shitty shoes, so I went to New Look. I found a pair (canvas, rubber sole, 7 GBP, basically slippers) which were perfect. Now, I combed my hair that morning, had some mascara on, put on a clean pair of trousers…  and sat down next to a princess. She smelled of musk and plastic flowers, had spider legs for eye lashes and no visible skin under the cake display of powder on her cheeks. She was trying on a pair of black glossy stilts, walked (wobbled) around in them a bit, I think decided they were perfect and grabbed her golden glittery purse for her credit card. Her hair did not move, and I believe, could not move, yet is was perfectly shaped into a fluffy bun on the top of her head. She was thin with well pushed up breasts and a teeny tiny bum, squeezed into faux (not fake) leather leggings.

And there I sat next to her, with, in all honesty, pretty uncombed hair, which I might have washed and straightened 2 days before, but in my opinion did not need to go through that 20 minute process again just yet. There I sat in my ebay gathered outfit of slightly worn burgundy jeans, slightly tatty boots and a purple tartan coat I picked up from Primark 3 years ago, with two of the buttons dangling on its last threads. There I sat with slightly runny mascara, skin looking blotchy and flushed from the cold, smelling of nothing but the soap I had washed my hands with, trying on a pair of the ugliest shoes I’ve every owned. And I felt less of a woman than her. I looked at the mirror opposite us and realised that compared to her, I looked like a hobo.

I’ve told Steve once that I don’t really get that intimidated by dolled up girls, but I do get intimidated by how they smell. They smell of chemicals, flirty intentions and confidence. They smell like they are looking down on me for not smelling ‘nice’, but instead just smelling like a human being. They smell like they have spent hours on how they look before they walk out the door and think I’m a lazy fuck for not doing so. They smell like I should try a little harder. Or a lot harder actually.

And then I come home after a long day at work and a short walk through a Scottish gale and Steve tells me I have beautiful eyes, which is so much better than ‘your make-up really makes you look pretty’. He’ll hug me and smell my neck and say ‘ah, you smell of you’, and I realise that’s heaps better than ‘your perfume smells nice  (consisting of musk (‘glandular secretions from animals such as the musk deer’-wiki) and plastic flowers)’.

The princess next to me probably didn’t even notice me. And I’m sure I am too lazy to spend so much time on myself as a beauty project, instead of as a professional/emotional project. I hope it makes her feel as confident as I perceive her to be. I hope that she doesn’t break her bloody ankles with the stilts that she bought. And I hope I smell like me again tonight, even though I look pretty shabby.