Much of what I’ve been reading lately has been leading me to the same conclusion: that I am stuck in an environment where I can’t really grow. For quite a while now I’ve been trying to get the best out of where I am and I do think in the most part I have done that – I feel happy and active and supported and like life is pretty great on the whole. I think the remaining frustration is down to the limitations of my current situation, lifestyle and sphere of influence and that it’s me, more than anyone else, who builds those limiting structures and keeps them in place. I mean that equally with regard to mental defences, my eating disorder, the way I act in relationships, as much as in terms of practical opportunities.
Breaking out of this limiting landscape is going to be tricky in two ways – I am scared, being one, the life I’ve made being designed to protect me from exposure to rejection by the outside world, and even if I recognise that I am ready now to risk exposure, I am concerned that the people surrounding me in my limited world are not going to take it well. If I’m focused on moving outside this fortress then my attention needs to be on what’s outside and it’s inevitable that I won’t be able to maintain all those walls with the same degree of care, and that some of them will crumble. (Luckily, though, I’m also blessed with being fairly organised and reasonably sensitive, so hopefully the damage can be minimal!) Second is a matter of the ingenuity, imagination and brainstorming it’s going to take to identify and activate opportunities for me to move beyond where I am.
My two greatest assets, in response, are my nascent (and often inactive but soon to be more activated!) courage and confidence – things I am working to expose and develop – and that I have a pretty wild imagination and a mind that is quick to adjust to moving frontiers. I have got to constantly think beyond the environment and lifestyle I am currently in. Often the answer lies in doing the opposite to what I currently do, or pushing what I currently do to new limits and identifying boundaries that hold me back. If I can imagine doing something, it might take me a while to get around to actually doing it, but once done I usually feel comfortable with doing it on an ongoing basis – I’m pretty binary in the done/not done aspect of adaptive experience and if I do something once on a whim or as a leap of faith, it gets to feel normal pretty quickly.
Another thing I’ve been taught recently is that it’s in your actions that you demonstrate your freedom. I can spend forever theorising about my capabilities and planning to be free – but how long will I wait to actually act? And by the same token, once you can conceive of an action you are free to implement it and once it’s done, in reality, you never go back to the position of being in fear of what might happen once you do it. You really ARE free.
With that in mind, I have made a wishlist of ways I wish my life was different, as of right now. Some of these things I have solutions or ideas for that I need to allocate time and courage resources to try out, other things are of the pie-in-the-sky variety.
- I want a place where I can play the piano, casually, where others might hear but without it being a “performance”. Just for fun. Preferably somewhere I can go regularly/whenever I like.
- I want a band or a jam session close to home where I can sing, play, improvise, and write songs with other musicians. Again, not so much of an open mic night feel where it’s all about the performance.
- I want to find ways to sing and share my own music with people without needing commercial attention, needing to make money off it, or begging for gigs that leave me feeling empty. I want to expand my musical presence in an organic way.
- At the same time, I also want to learn to love the limelight and be able to let my guard down completely in front of strangers and make an emotional connection.
- I want to step outside the various hoops of my eating disorder, be aware and in control of my thoughts and behaviour.
- I want to have a body that feels much more like how I look in my head. Long term goal, lots of work, but we’re on the path.
- I need to be more active (I have so much more energy now that my depression has lifted!) and recognise that there will be days I need to wear myself out physically. Looking for more varied and interesting ways to do this!
- I want to be working on my own material and doing studio recordings and for that work to take up a greater proportion of my time.
- I want to be in the thrall of my creative process as much as possible – this is a surprisingly tough nut to crack as the creative mania is quite livid when it takes over, I get agitated, can’t sleep, feel quite crazy; at times it’s uncomfortable and lonely and tiring. I need to be able to deal with that.
- I want to be able to tend to my own emotional and spiritual needs in ways that make sense to me, even if my practices seem completely bonkers to everyone else!