I have been told it is simply a standard of the human condition to feel inadequate, or as if we are all somehow lacking. I would definitely agree that most people experience jealousy, envy, self-doubt, self-hatred and fear in their lives (in fact it’s probably a rare person who doesn’t experience at least one of those on a daily basis) and yet we still feel so isolated from the rest of the world when we do. It is easy to imagine everyone else’s life as being perfect, and everyone else’s mind to be free from despair. We like to glamorize the lives we cannot really see, or the things we haven’t got, because that feeds our own pain, our own ‘lack’. It keeps us constantly thinking and acting like wounded people, who can never really accept love or praise, because some part of us believes that we do not deserve it - that love, at best, is a mistake, and if people could see who we really are, how boring/ugly/talentless/stupid/ordinary, then they would think differently. We like happiness best when it is just out of reach.
When I started blogging I was scared about the kind of things people would say. I had premonitions of hate mail filling up my inbox, and nasty comments about my looks, or my artwork, or my writing. I expected very little from myself, and from the world. But the response I have gotten for just being me has been beautiful, and humbling. I have had nothing but kind words and generosity from all of you, and I can’t even begin to describe how grateful I am for that. And yet, despite this amazing, welcoming response, there is a part of me that feels detached from it, the way I do when someone gives me a compliment in person. It feels surreal. When I read comments, sometimes it is like you’re all talking about somebody else. When I started I would have believed that having as many followers as I do now would make me feel confident, satisfied, validated. But of course it hasn’t. It doesn’t really work that way. We are always looking ahead towards a time that never arrives. The truth is that when we do arrive at such-and-such a place – when we have 1000 followers, or graduate, or get skinnier, or find the perfect lover who will make us feel perfect too – it feels exactly the same. Because we are exactly the same. And deep down, we still believe that who we are is nothing special.
Too many times in my life have I been with my friends, or at a party, or laying on the grass in the sun, and felt a terrible wave of melancholy come over me because of someone, anyone, who happened not to be there. The one thing that I do not have becomes the centre of my universe, until it is all I can focus on, all I can see. A part of me knows it is an illusion, but sometimes it is too strong for me to break, and I lose myself in imagined suffering, that can never be healed because it is not real. This constant yearning for something unobtainable is a paralysing emotion. It eats up your whole life.
Lately I have been trying to keep busy, and use all my energy. But I have reached a point where I’m not really sure what to do next, both with my blog and with my life in general. I feel in a bit of a rut. I have ideas about printing a zine, compiled of past posts, artwork, and photos. Or maybe writing a photo-book, or printing my collages. I am very drawn to studying Art Foundation, although the logistics of that might be complicated. I know that if I do any of these things, I’m still going to feel like me. I’ll still have the same problems, the same doubts, the same fears. But the more we try to understand how there is nothing we could do that will make us feel like a success, the easier it is to let the whole idea of success just disappear, and start wondering what it is we really want. Not because it will make us happy – but because we are happy, and need not search any more.