I make it no secret that I am nowhere near where I’d like to be just now. This is true for every aspect of my life: Career wise I’m in a job that pays my bills but also rapidly depletes both my soul and energy; romantically, the longest relationship I’ve been in is with my anxiety and financially, well, every time I take a look at my back balance I’m on the edge of my seat – I genuinely don’t know where my money goes; I’m haemorrhaging financially. The fact is I don’t feel like an adult. To me proper adults are superheroes as far as I’m concerned. I’m more like the Aquaman of adulthood. I leave every situation I undertake in life confident in only one thing: That people think I’m weird.
I’ve been waiting on things getting better for so long that I’ve mentally detached from pretty much every aspect of my life. I zone out in work with people speaking to me. If I’m having coffee with a friend I sit and ponder if I could drown myself in this comedy-sized mug of tea (my fifth today.) If I’m on a date my inability to make small talk tends to stone cold murder any chance of a romance blossoming. Seriously, the other day I was trying to flirt with someone and I wound up shaking their hand and walking away – let’s make that awkwardness shine a little brighter. Until I get a handle on my anxiety and actually work out what, or rather who, I want to spend my life with, my love life is out of my control for the time being.
The issue that’s currently hogging up most of my worry is my career. I am one of the few, the thankless; the over-worked and majorly-underpaid. I am a retail worker. The one that is part of a team that sold you the shirt you vomited on last week. The one that witnesses first-hand how little common sense the general public have. You don’t appreciate us, you may not even see us, but we see you. Every day is another test of patience; wondering if I can get through this day without losing faith in people’s intelligence. Whenever I wear my lanyard I feel possessed; I smile at everybody, speak politely. The moment I take it off though I immediately stop smiling. Working for this company for the last few years is the one thing I have done with the most consistency in my tiny, pathetic life. It’s reached the point now though that I need out; it’s gnawing away at my sanity. I’m not giving it my all because really it’s a job to me now, not my career. I am not paid enough to care. God, it felt good saying that allowed. Almost like confession. The first step is addressing the problem (if only the second step was punching the problem in the face.)
All I want to do is write and create. I know it’s very hard to make a substantial living from that – hence selling myself into the tyrannical jaws of retail slavery – but knowing that doesn’t make me want to do it any less. The novelty of retail has worn off. Trying to figure out the pieces of my future adult life whilst working a full-time job is tiring, but necessary. Over the last year this urge to write, to create, has since came back. It went away for a while, which was probably why I was content doing mediocre tasks for minimum wage. Now that it has returned though I feel that retail will no longer ‘just do for now.’ How do I get a career as a writer? Sure, I have this blog, and my book ‘Toothbrush’ which will be out soon(ish.) Who am I to write though? Or even say that I am a writer? My experience so far consists of excessive bursts of oversharing being hurled onto the Internet: Tweets, blog posts, the occasional short articles for publications. I rushed my last book and threw it out there, only to realise there was a plethora of mistakes in it. Thankfully in order to get this new one published I had to withdraw it and it’s since sold out, so lesson learned. I am as a writer very prone to honesty and that may hurt someone. Most of my family stopped speaking to me after writing that last book, a couple of friends too. You’d think that would put me off, but all it’s done is made me think that if people want you to write fondly or warmly about them then they should have treated you better. Besides I didn’t even say anything that bad.
I’m in the stages of proof reading my new book ‘Toothbrush’ but I’m terrified at what I am being greeted with page after page. I don’t want to release the literary equivalent of a selfie. I want to put something out there that does share my story but in a way that is helpful to others. I don’t want to splatter more narcissistic dribble onto the internet. When people ask what my book is about, it’s hard not to sound like a completely self-indulgent prick when I say ‘my life.’ They look at me like I’ve just told them I’m the second coming of Christ or pregnant with Madonna’s baby. I didn’t even create the book in a cool way like other authors. J.K Rowling apparently scribbled most of the first Harry Potter book down on the back of napkins in various coffee shops. I’ve just sat in my flat, drinking a lot of tea and peeing an alarming amount. I don’t even like calling myself a writer or an ‘author’ as I don’t feel I’ve earned it. Calling yourself a writer is, for me, synonymous with being that guy that brings a guitar to a party. You’re so confident in your preconceived ability, but chances are there will be someone there that is better than you. I’m terrified that I will write this book and it’ll be bad and boring and wind up being left in a waiting room. I do get compliments and praise for stuff I’ve written, and a lot of people ask me for advice on starting a blog or ask me to go over stuff they’ve written. I guess that speaks volumes; but me being me, it’s still not loud enough.
I love writing, I do, but sometimes it’s so awkward. Especially since I draw inspiration from such an honest place. Many people find bald, unvarnished truths uncomfortable. I’ll put something out there, about heartbreak or being assaulted or feeling suicidal, and then I’ll go about my daily business all the time wondering ‘who here has read that?’ or ‘what are they saying about me because of that?’ I’m nervous about every topic I write about. Is it relatable enough? Sellable enough? Likeable enough? Sometimes I just write thoughts down (kind of like what I am doing now actually.) My greatest fear in life is being alone, having nothing to my name, and nobody to share my bed with at night. Right now, that fear is very much a reality. I don’t feel I have achieved anything and I don’t think I embody many grown-up attributes at all. How can I possibly meet someone to start an adult life with if I don’t feel like an adult? I feel like the e-cigarette version of adult: not real and kind of annoying. Trying to find who I am and get to where I want to be feels like wrestling with a giant, greased-up beach ball that I can’t quite get a grip of it. I don’t want to be that guy with the acoustic guitar that introverts avoid at parties. I see people my age with proper adult jobs and babies and mortgages and with the ability to cook a roast dinner. All the while I’m teetering about in the darkest corner in this hall of adulthood, telling folk I’ve swapped crisps for fruit this week cause I’m trying to be healthy – that’s an adult thing to do, right?
Anyway, buy my book when it’s out. I do think it will relate to and help people; also it’ll make me hate myself a lil’ bit less.