My mum rang me today to tell me about some Australian tourist board competition where people are competing to live on an island and blog, or something. It’s down to the last 50 and one of the contestants… used to be in my form at secondary school. She’s not someone I ever liked, got along with or really interacted with.
For a second, I felt the old jealousy flare and then, quite without warning, it died as soon as it arrived.
I really didn’t care. I kinda liked the idea of being on an island and stuff, and I think that’s what it was. And that my mum finished with "…she’s travelled the world and she’s writing a book."
Now, I find myself bitter towards almost anyone who’s ever written a book, especially if they made money… but only in as far as it’s really about me (isn’t it always, kiddies?).
No, I wasn’t and am not jealous, not because I don’t want to be part of the Reality TV world, not because I actually don’t like hot places all that much… but because I don’t care. Somewhere along the line, I’ve managed to make peace with myself, as I am, right now.
That’s not to say that I don’t want to be a wildly successful writer, because I do. It’s not to say that I wouldn’t mind being like, totally rich, because I wouldn’t mind. There are lots of things I would like to be and do and see, but if I don’t have them yet, there’s really only one person to blame: me. And to my shock, that’s OK. I made peace with myself and didn’t notice, I think. I’m about as happy as I can possibly be at the moment: that is, not quite happy, certainly not content, but OK. I have my hopes and dreams and the ever-pressing knowledge that time is running out. I’ve had all three of those for decades now. I’ve felt the passing of time since I was eight years old, and I’ve hated that… but it’s what I do, right?
If I finish Leaving Brigadoon or any of the other many bits of rubbish I’m writing, that’s what I care about now. If it gets published, or read, or anything, that’ll be nice, but it’s not why I write. It never was. I didn’t sing to be famous or rich either. I don’t need to be worshipped and loved like I thought I did once, although I guess it wouldn’t be all bad. I have reconciled myself with myself at last.
I don’t expect it to last. I’ll probably do something stupid, or something that goes against my code of self-honour (the ‘last inch’ Valerie makes so much of in V for Vendetta) and I’ll have to reconcile myself again.
The fact is, some of us are born with massive ambition, drive and determination. I’m not one of those people because I just don’t really care… the world as it is hold no real charm for me and I’m not going to bust my arse in some pointless attempt to get the world to like me. When I was at school, and afterwards too, I used to pretend that I didn’t care what the rest of the world thought of me. Now, I really don’t care, and that’s very cool.
I’d like to thank John Lennon, George Harrison, Errol Flynn, Ava Gardner and Jim Morrison for helping me reach that point, but mostly I think there’s one person who can take credit for pushing me to reach that moment beyond all shadow of all doubt. Bill Hicks. Man, I was introduced to him years ago but although I could see he was brilliant, it didn’t totally grab me as it did two years ago. I needed him then, lost and floundering as I was in the deep pool of grief. Ten years ago, when I was listening to the Beatles, I pretended not to care. Five years ago, when I was listening to the Doors, I didn’t think I did care. Now, I know I don’t.
This is not to say that I consider myself perfect or fully-formed but I do think I’ve reached an understanding with myself: If I don’t do anything stupid or against what I am, then I can live with myself.
I feel like I’ve grown, somehow. Not ‘grown up’, hopefully. Now, if I could just get those dead musicians out of my head…