Who I am

I’m a thirty-something single Mum from South Wales, UK, writing nowhere near as much as I’d like to (and working on improving that)! My daughter recently turned one and is delightfully mad as a box of frogs. I have spent many years trying to better understand myself and the world around me, so that I could have a better experience of the sometimes shitstorm, othertimes awe-inspiring reality we call life. I have worked in sales, photography, mental health and alternative therapies. I’ve studied all sorts of weird and wonderful shit, from why a council painted bollards blue, how identity is formed, to how pirates were employed by the government and how to put a cat’s head on a human body. Call me jack of all trades and master of none, or join me in connecting the dots between seemingly ridiculous and juxtaposed themes. 

There have been some dark times in my life, says a voice in harmony with every other human being and animal on this planet. My earlier years were spent fighting against myself and sinking, whereas my more recent years have been spent fighting against myself and swimming. My writing is my journey, for want of a less dick-headish sounding sentence. Brain says ‘you’re being a writer, just write a different sentence’. Brain has also learned the hard way that if I try and write in any other way than allowing the words to pour out of my finger tips, they don’t come out in my truthful voice. So a stream of consciousness is my what you see is what you get. I’ll try and keep the swearing to a minimum in an alternate reality. 

I love lots of things that fit under the spiritual and metaphysical umbrellas. I’ve noticed a crossover where some people have spiritual experiences and get diagnosed with mental illnesses. Also happen to have seen people’s ‘spiritual’ experiences get a bit concerning, because they haven’t had support. Somewhere out there, there must be a middle ground where people are safe and free to explore and heal that blurred line. I’ll probably write a lot about that… Tentatively… Carefully… There is also a possible assumption that spiritual folk are fluffy, floaty and all ‘love and light’… Just to warn you, that isn’t me. I do know some of those folk, though, and I do fall into glossing over things absentmindedly at times. Given enough space to get over myself, I eventually do. Most of the time… 

My future plans are to create a nurturing woodland eco community full of all of the beautiful people I love. We will live off the land and have no carbon footprint, we will all be vegan and maybe a little bit naked and we will use no plastic and sleep on the floor on our yoga mats. I’m taking the piss out of myself for being a cliche, but I’d fucking love that, and to write books, just as soon as I can stop being a hypocrite and living in ways that do not fit well with those dreams. I’ve bought a shit loads of plants to see if I can keep them alive before I try and manage a forest! Also practicing on nurturing a child to see if we can build a better world… 

No pressure!

I think, learn, read and talk about such a weird array of things that its hard to sum up up the range of content that might appear on this blog. I can take pretty much anything and figure out a way to apply it to personal or spiritual growth, though. Equally, I can take my growth in the micro and apply it to the wider macro, massive, mental world out there. I am a bit of a believer of the maxim “As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul…”. I screw up ALL the time. I struggle often to practice what I preach. I piss people off as often as they do me, and whilst I don’t intentionally hurt people, I have hurt people deeply. It is this knowledge of the darkness within me that has led me to try and become more at peace with the world and everything in it.

“Who am I?” Some thoughts

You know that game where you write the name of someone famous (either real or fictitious) on a rizla, stick it to your friends forehead after slobbering over the gum, then await everyone else having theirs affixed, yourself included? Once everyone has been assigned some alter ego, you set about trying to work out who you are, asking certain questions with very closed yes or no answers. You’re supposed to only get 20 questions to figure out who you are, but usually everyones lost count, is too pissed or is too fed up to care by the time you’ve asked 18 and are still nowhere near knowing who you are! You all spend hours trying to work out who you are and if you ask the wrong questions you don’t get very far at all. Equally, if you’re not paying enough attention you forget the answers anyway, making it harder still to figure out who you are. There are those mates who really don’t give a shit, they’re just going along with the game because someone made them, there are the ones who are sticklers for the rules, there are the ones that just don’t take it seriously and the ones that will fight to the death to finally know who they are… Some people work out who they are pretty quickly and just get on with the rest of this really shit party, others take a bit longer and the rest either give in or kick themselves when they finally figure it out.

Is this life? Is life ‘Who am I?’. Are we all constantly battling to understand who we are, going down all these paths, opening all these doors, trying all these things and asking all these questions to try and know ourselves? Or are we doing all of those things purely to avoid knowing ourselves? Are there people who are just better at figuring all that shit out, just understanding who they are and then the other people who just don’t get it and fight all the way through life trying to make sense of everything? Are there people who think its all pointless and ridiculous but just ride along? Are there people who take it all too seriously and cause themselves a load of stress and torment? Are there people who’d much rather be doing something else and get on with it? Is that really life? Trying to figure out what the saliva soaked rizla we’ve been assigned says and to act accordingly?

If that is life, then we go through a lot of it just trying to understand the character we have been assigned by someone else. Every route we take is a route followed simply to understand the person other people see us as. Our identity is, perhaps, given to us by the people surrounding us, the influences we experience growing up, the society we’re raised in, the tv shows we like and the social groups we connect with. Is our identity shaped by everything outside of us in this game of ‘Who am i?’. Do we battle all the way through life just to figure out and be (or fight being) the character we have been given? And then, once we learn who we are given, once we’ve done all the right things and asked the correct questions to figure out who it is we are, we win and we take off the rizla and just throw it away. We then have to go back to being the person we were underneath. All the pretence, the expectations and the fitting in ends. We then have to meet who we really are.

Thats kind of a weird place to be… A place where you realise you’ve been performing this existence your whole life just to fit in some how, to not feel out of place, to feel a sense of belonging, to not upset the status quo or to do the exact opposite intentionally. It is kind of weird to spend so much time trying to make sense of yourself, to then have more and more layers stripped away, so you can see yourself with more and more clarity. It is also a bit liberating. You feel less burdened, more self aware and more self accepted. Your self acceptance is a powerful freedom you didn’t know you possessed all along. If only you’d stopped trying to be who everyone thought you were and just became what you were supposed to be all along. If only it didn’t take us so long to learn everything we need to forget about ourselves!

And it never seems to stop.. this meeting yourself. The freedom of learning all about yourself and then beginning to unlearn it all, is learning that you can just ‘be’. You can be whatever. You can be whomever, whenever, however. It does not matter whether who you are fits nicely into the boxes other people need you to fit in to. It does not matter whether who you are even fits nicely in the boxes you think you should fit in. Who you truly are is all that matters. Being true to that, expressing that, finding an outlet for that… that is the path to follow.

Be off beat, be mismatched, be uncomfortable and gawky and clumsy and uncalculated. Make mistakes, make a mess, fall over, bite your lip, sicken yourself, cry some times, laugh until you feel sick… Stay up all night thinking, call in sick, take a risk, say what you think, wear what you want, do what feels right, don’t do what feels wrong, sing in the supermarket, dance on the train, shout if you need to, run some days and curl up in a ball the next… Get angry, love fearlessly, eat chocolate, break a plate, fuck up some times…. shit your pants and laugh at yourself!

It really, really doesn’t matter what you do so long as you don’t intentionally hurt anyone. All that matters is that you do what you do with awareness of why. Be who you assign yourself! Be yourself unapologetically, but also be accountable. You set your path, you’re responsible for where it leads. Life is supposed to be messy and unpredictable and exciting and terrifying. Life is supposed to have twists and turns and ups and downs. Life is not supposed to be a seamless Hollywood movie with airbrushed super hot celebrities. Life is imperfect. In the words of Brene Brown (slightly adapted) ‘Have the courage to be fucking imperfect!’.

We attribute so much importance to the things we focus our attention on. We get so engrossed in completing all those tasks that we can’t even remember why we started. But what if we’re all living wrong? What if we’re all so focused on this game of ‘Who am I?’? What if we’re all so hell bent on fitting into this idealistic version of what the world thinks we should be that we’re actually missing the point entirely? What if all we’re supposed to be doing is just being who we are underneath the rizla? No heirs, no graces, no analysis, no conforming to expectations… What if the point is that there is no point? That ‘who am I’ matters much less than how am I, where am I and why am I? Who am I is so intangible and mostly reliant on everything outside of ourselves. How am I….., where am I….., why am I…… they all bring us to now. Not before, not in the future but now. They allow us to just be present with ourselves and to breathe a little easier… to be kinder to ourselves!

Happiness is not only in achievement or in our dreams. Happiness is not in ten years time or something that happened ten years prior. Happiness is self acceptance regardless of whether there is acceptance from external stimuli. It is to be content with what you have at your disposal right now and it is to be content with what exists inside you as it is. It is to accept that you don’t know all the answers or how to make everything perfect and just so.

Happiness is ripping that soggy rizla off your face and realising you don’t even really care so much about understanding who you are and instead you just start being that person, whoever they are and no matter what anyone thinks.

And then you start questioning why you ever let your friends essentially lick your face when you could have just enjoyed the party!