A long weekend of travelling across the country to stay with people I’d met on the internet… (sorry mum!)
I met Emily first.
She answered the door after I was bumbling about in the drive trying to work out whether I was actually at the right house or not. The pink plastic flamingo on the front lawn was a good sign, though I still hesitated about knocking on the front door for what felt like longer than it probably was – total potential for random weirdo in your garden business going on here.
It was the right house. Thankfully.
Emily’s such a people person; so chatty; so confident; so full of life. Thoughts whizzing and bouncing so quickly that, sometimes, just sometimes, it was hard to even keep up with what she was telling me – the stories, the adventures, the people.
Upon meeting her, my old, old insecurities reared their ugly heads pretty quickly – this old shame programming I’d carried and buried deep inside for most of my young life suddenly barged its way back into my awareness, taking over the show and taking me away from the present moment.
When you’ve always felt like you’re different, and like you don’t fit in – it can go one of two ways, you can go ahead and embrace it and express yourself, be confident and not give a fuck and do what it is that makes you special. Or if you were like me, you sort of allowed yourself to feel ashamed by it and let it pull you in the opposite direction from where you really wanted to be.
Growing up, I could never see that I was a creative person. I was never really in any social circles where there were many arty types around me, not until much later in life. I felt I was always the weird one amongst the ‘normal’ people – the ones who wanted careers, marriage and houses, where I couldn’t understand how I had missed the memo and why none of that appealed to me in the slightest.
Musicians, artists, poets, writers – they were like unicorns to me. When I would see them, I would instantly shrink, in awe of how they were doing what I wanted to do but didn’t believe I had it in me.
Instead of just being creative anyway, answering the calling inside me to be creative, regardless of skill, talent or ability, I just tormented myself for not being the way I wanted and just went down the ‘should’ route, doing what the world expected me to do whilst wearing my weirdo badges, using them as armour to not let anyone in or anything out.
Obviously carrying on like that isn’t sustainable but that’s a whole other story…
Anyway, after a short while, I met Indigo and I think a short conversation we had sums her up better than anything I could write:
“I like your fringe.” Beamed Indigo
“Oh thanks.” I replied.
“Will you cut me a fringe?”
“I’ve never cut a fringe on someone else before.”
[Snip snip, snip]
“Please don’t hate me.” I thought to myself.
Indigo is so free, so present and seems so sure of herself – I found it hard to believe that such a wise soul was only 19 years old. She is so in love with life and in awe of everything, constantly scribbling in notebooks, writing poems and taking photographs of anything and everything. My favourite part about meeting her was seeing her reaction when she discovered vinyl – her face lit up as the record started playing. With sheer delight, she exclaimed “how it did sound better.” It’s easy to forget these young’uns haven’t experienced things like this.
I wished how I had her self-assurance at her age. Life would have been very different. Again, noticing that ‘head cunt’ was stepping up, trying to dictate my experiences and stop me from connecting.
Thank fuck for actually being really self-aware these days.
Luckily I spotted these thought patterns really quickly and I felt my body shrinking and the anxiety eating me up.
This isn’t real.
You’re imagining it.
And back into the room.
Instead, I listened to the kind words they both said about me and I looked for where our similarities were. It quickly became clear that the way I saw them was the way that other people describe me.
My own head was just trying to shrink to avoid looking at where my own awesomeness lay. It made me think, is this what we all do. We look at people we think are awesome. We downplay ourselves. We shrink. Our head cunt tries to tell us we’re not enough.
Meet your shadow self.
As soon as I recognised what was going on, I let it go and embraced the weekend wholeheartedly. Adventures were had, pubs were visited, pictures were painted, music was listened to, photography lessons were given, cakes and chips were eaten and toilet roll was stolen too.
Above all else, I made friends. Not just any friends. I met my members of my own weird and wonderful tribe, openhearted lovers of life who loved life not because it was easy, but because it was hard, despite its flaws and challenges; women who instead of blocking a true connection because of their own shit, rife with anxiety masking it as competition, embraced and were in awe of each other’s talents and individual views of the world – once they stopped listening to their own silly heads.
Indigo and Emily. Thank you for a wonderful weekend ☺
Oh, by the way, the fringe looked awesome too.