It occurred to me today how many people we encounter on a day to day basis and yet how lonely you can feel in a crowded city surrounded by people. I take a break every morning when I’m at work and stand outside my office building that stands right opposite a bar where my last boyfriend frequents, and yet we will never bump into one another in spite of the close proximity of our two separate existences.
I not through choice but necessity awake during the day to go to work and carry out my various responsibilities before eventually hitting the hay for a few hours to repeat the next day. He is awake during the night because the business he chooses to run is predominantly carried out after office hours with people trying to make it to leave the 9-5 drag or people like him who have no real routine or perhaps even responsibilities in life other than perhaps feeding themselves and keeping a roof over their heads.
I used to feel envious of the freedoms they held but actually now I no longer am, the apparent freedom for many is a trap, they drag themselves down and each other with the notion of the struggling artist and the idea that one must have no ties to stop their creativity from happening.
Why can’t it be both? For me the romanticism of the struggling artist is just that, actually it doesn’t have to be that way at all. Why must success always be so painful? Do I really have to cut off my own ear and die poor for my art to be sold for millions hundreds of years after my death? My answer is no. Because what would be the point?
So here are my two sides of the city, the one’s who are working to achieve success and the one’s who are working to well… for what? Pain and suffering I guess. Is taking a good wage really selling out? Or is it actually accepting the value of your worth for the work that you do?
We all have to do the things we dislike sometimes in order to do the things we enjoy. Getting up for work in the morning is a daily struggle but I do it for the things that I can achieve by doing it. The joys of seeing my daughter smile, the joy of knowing the roof over my head is mine, the joy of simple things like planting flowers, reading books, seeing friends to go to a gig. All of which I would not be able to do were it not for the 35 hours a week I sacrifice. But then, is it really such a sacrifice when there are things I gain? The interactions with people I would never have met, the chance to learn something new and be part of something great.
When I told myself aged 18 I would never be able to work in an office I had a dismal view of the world of work, the idea of being free to be who I wanted to be, outside of the norm, but then I have never been a part of the norm.
So the two sides to the city, whilst I rest he works, whilst I work he rests but I gain from my day things that he could never understand. And no longer wish for the life of suffering, no longer see my choice as a sacrifice, more an enabler to do what I want, to become great in my fairy tail and rule my own kingdom. The only limits are those that I put in myself, I’m not tied, I can run if I wish, but for now I’ll stay. Running away doesn’t solve the problems you are running from. But staying and dealing and overcoming them makes your life that much richer.
The life I have I did not necessarily choose but then again perhaps I did, because I chose to succeed where others told me I couldn’t, I chose to work hard when others told me not to. At a young age I had two choices, suck it up and make your daughter proud or lie down and let others deal, I chose the former and have no regrets because everything I have I worked for, nothing was handed to me in a plate. My university fees I mostly paid myself, my house deposit provided by me, my car paid for by my own hard work. My future will be built by me. When I could not afford bread, I worked harder, when my flat was cold, I worked harder. Today I stand on my own two feet and I’m strong because of the lessons I leant, you can have whatever you want when you put your mind to it and work hard. Yes some get the help of inheritance or parental support to give them a start, that is great as long as they use that help to make themselves a success and show that a wise investment was made. This is why I have no guilty feelings when I invest in myself. You cannot be strong for others if you haven’t. My life was not created for me to suffer for some art that may never be discovered, and nor was anyone else’s. Find something each day that makes you love what you do. And never wish for the life of another without fully understanding the implications of that. There is no honour in martyrdom, but there is honour in gratitude for what you have and the talents you have gained in getting there. Enjoy your life and everything it brings, the challenges are just that, don’t give up on your dreams or limit yourself to the views of others, it’s your story to write make it a good one.