I was 24, and I had just finished my degree in Astrophysics.
I was unemployed, depressed, and living with my parents in Barcelona.
I would read feminist blogs compulsively.
And at some point, the realisation began to dawn on me that I should become a writer.
NO. NO. NO.
Panic. Deny. This is not happening. Help me get back to the world of Astrophysics, somehow. Somebody help me find a job there. I do not want to take this call.
“You are crazy. I can’t be a writer. I don’t know anything. I can’t write. I am terrible at reading classics. And English is my second language. This is impossible. GO-Ah-WAY!!!”.
7 years later, I still don’t want to take this call.
I would rather do anything else. Almost.
“Why couldn’t I have been a human rights lawyer?”, I found myself asking a few minutes ago, after seeing a picture of Clooney’s wife.
I don’t like Clooney. But I could quite fancy being a human rights lawyer.
Correction: I could quite fancy *all the perks* that come from being a human rights lawyer.
Perks of doing something that is not writing, ie: being a human rights’ lawyer
Money. Tons of money. Never being poor, never having to go without, never having to choose between food and heating, between rent and clothes. Just.money.
Social status. When one is a human rights’ lawyer, one gets all-the-respect. All the admiration. All the “this is my friend, she’s a human rights’ lawyer”. How many people respect me for being a writer? How many people refer to me as “this is my friend, she’s a writer?” HOW MANY PEOPLE TAKE MY WRITING SERIOUSLY??? Yes, that’s right, no one. And yes, that’s in part because I don’t take my writing seriously, I don’t send my writing to publications, I don’t make money from my writing, whatever. But when one is a human rights’ lawyer, one gets respect. And status.
Dude, just think how “high” one gets to fly if one is a human rights’ lawyer. You probably make all the money, and then have the wealthiest friend. It’s the Elizabeth Gilbert lifestyle, innit: “my friend the film director, I was visiting him in his house in Santorini, before we flew in his private plane to Australia”. Wowsers. You get to hang with all the “high class” people. And, presumably, marry George Clooney.
You can go out and meet men. You can go ANYWHERE because you travel everywhere and make all the money and have all the “high class” friends, and so meeting men is like shooting fish in a barrel. You are “my friend, the human rights’ lawyer”, and you get introduced to people at parties. I mean, you go to parties, something I haven’t done in years and years (when was I last at a party?!?! I mean, with people.) And you don’t have a panic attack over “what will people think since I am on welfare, work as a waitress and only write a blog that gets 10 clicks a day, and have been doing this for 7 years”. You can introduce yourself in a way that makes others go “whoa!” not “eww” or “eh”. You don’t have to be ashamed about being poor and how on Earth could you find a man when you are poor, that’s not possible. You are… desirable. A “catch”. People want you. Men want you.
(pausing to note the tightness in my throat)
Nobody doubts that what you are doing is “contributing to society”, that you are a worthy human being. I mean, you are a human rights’ lawyer! Sure, sure, I write about how to stay emotionally and mentally healthy, and how humanity is undergoing a revolution of consciousness that we must all embrace to be part of this better world, WHATEVER, DUDE, the fact is nobody cares, I don’t get paid monies for it, and at the end of the day, money and status are all that counts to “what is important”.
I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to do any of it.
This “being a writer” thing. I don’t know how to do it.
All I do, all I’ve ever done, is put one word after the other
It makes no sense. This thing that I do, this writing every day, publishing on my blog occasionally, torturing myself daily over how much writing I am not doing “this very second”. None of it makes any sense.
It’s not making me any money. It’s not making me any fame.
It’s not helping me find my soulmate.
It reminds me of the “spiritual path”. Which never, ever makes sense.
I mean, I don’t know, maybe if you move to a religious order, and you have an assigned teacher who can guide you ever step of the way… And even then. The actual physical experiences of meditation cannot be explained, so even with the best of guidance, you are on your own.
You get the teachings, the support… But you practice on your own. And when you do it, you realise that it makes no sense.
That it feels yucky. That it feels like you are moving backwards, not forwards.
Like you are getting weaker, not stronger.
So you wonder, WTF, why on Earth do you bother, why on Earth do you keep going.
There is a reason why those people who stay on the path are those who have been most damaged by life. They keep going because there is no other option.
They keep going even if it makes no sense.
I don’t know why I write. Or meditate. Or do yoga on occasion.
On the “grand scheme of things”, yeah, I can tell I am getting healthier.
But whatever, dude, my bank account stays the same, even as the skin on my face begins to sag, and the years pile on; while my friends get partners and cars and houses.
So why do I do it? Why, why, why?
Perhaps because I believe… or I wish, that the process will transform me.
If I sit down and try to write Truth, then I will be transformed and become more “truthful”.
If I sit down to meditate and find my core of peace, I will become more “peaceful”.
Note: It never feels like it’s working.
I almost never feel more “peaceful” after meditating.
I almost never feel like I’ve written “Truth”.
I can only hope the journey transforms me into something beautiful.