Ever since I can remember, I have been somebody innately driven to “live in the moment”. Not in some super-positive, inspirational instagram-quote sense, but as a result of accute, persistant, but a level sense of prolonged continuous anxiety. I am somebody who’s accomplishments have been mainly driven by a morbid sense of time running out, despite my so-far short lifespan. This idea has, rightly or wrongly, made me someone who would not think it dramatic to chase someone down a train platform or breathe into a telephone at 4am because i loved them and had to tell them right now, for better or for worse.
For example, one of my earliest tangible memories of such impending doom was being stood outside on my primary school’s drizzly playground with my best friend foreva Fiona, aged probably about seven or eight (my second best friend foreva, my first was solely based on the fact we had the exact same sleeping-bag bhs coats and not much else). Her parents having the foresight to stick her on the waiting list early in her school life, Fiona had just enrolled in the Brownies and had swiftly worked her way up to the top, much like Drake, in a typical fashion. She was a born leader, even at the age of seven/eight, and her insider knowledge of resuscitation badges and in-group names (the elusive Brown Owl) excited me beyond belief. All I had to rival were stories like accidentally destroying a neighbor’s prized hedge when I rode straight through it, Benny Hill style, on one of many occasions my older brothers were forced to hang out with me. There, right below my chest bone, I felt an ache, not dissimilar to the modern ‘fear of missing out’ phenomena and there was no way on earth that I was waiting on some god damned waiting list – I had to join now. For a seven year old my networking skills were precociously impressive and somehow I swindled myself in within weeks via Fiona and the fact that I was pretty much her playground muscle. Enevitably, I was prematurely kicked out not long after for being caught sending oddly sordid text messages off my friends phone (the only in possession of a Nokia brick) to the groups leader, pretending to be a sensual secret admirer from (and I quote) “the big apple ;)” and since there was no knife-throwing badge to be attained, Brownies was probably not the right place to showcase my particular myriad of interests. However, the point stands that my weird impatience, was perhaps in fact a virtue, despite how the saying goes.
Further, It has given me a narrowed capacity for bullshit. I have experienced functional romance on the basis that, early on, I bluntly have called them out in an almost bullet-point fashion that I have noticed some form of ‘playing the game’ and frankly explained there is no need for such if we are on the same level. It has given me the courage to declare my affections for my last boyfriend, semi-intoxicated, stood in the rain on the steps to The Skiving Scholar and it has given me the ability(?) to end similar relationships with as much honesty and grace as I could muster.
It must be said, however, that at times this feeling has been completely irrational. I remember vividly being prepubescent and my dad leaving to drive to London for work. Having overheard a news broadcast about car break-ins in the capital, I assumed my father was almost certainly going to be robbed and murdered at knife-point (apparently aged seven I believed just as much as The Daily Mail’s current impressionable audience still do), or if not probably killed, perhaps instantly, in a brutal car pileup, not unlike ones I had seen in educational-films such as Final Destination. This caused me to always wave goodbye from the window until the very last moment his car faded from view, just so I knew I said any goodbye I could have. I have always known I am not somebody who sits well with regrets. This of course is mental and morbid but true. One Christmas I also locked myself in my room with my new illegally-copied Britney album and cried to ‘girl in the mirror’ because I felt like it could be my last Christmas on this earth (I was perfectly healthy) just because the song made me feel. My parents probably assumed me over-dramatic, if not manic-depressive.
It has, perhaps selfishly, helped me with my ‘work’. I sometimes worry it too ruthless, but my natural response to hearing about somebody’s latest project, no matter what field of work it is, is to see how I could help or cooperate. Friend doing a music course? Let’s make a music video! I do have a desire to help, it must be said, but I have always had a way of gaining things, experiences. I am constantly, anxiously hungry. For more, before the sun goes down, in case I don’t wake up again tomorrow. One day, aged ten, I convinced my headmistress to let me read out my poem about a maneating-witch to an entire assembly. Another, I organised and directed a bake sale for Gables Cats & Dogs Home, only to give myself and baking-buddy acute food poisoning. I used to write letters to Blue Peter, pretending to be my own imaginary manager, encouraging them to invite “my band” onto the show, as we rocked – the band was Fiona, I and two others that rotated more frequently than the Sugababes depending on who was away at Butlins or not. We did have three songs in our repertoire, ‘Come And Get Me’ (which I can still sing word for word and makes me shiver with its underlying sexual connotations which I innocently did not understand), ‘Bombay Darlings’ (again, creepily seedy but this time with the extra addition of racial ignorance toward the Bollywood community) and ‘Sweet Sixteen’ (which literally made no sense, since we were half a decade younger than said-age and had never actually touched a gross boy in our lives, let alone kissed one).
However, it has also caused a myriad of problems. I am incredibly impulsive. I gambled away my savings during a weird 2012 Genting Casino phase in which I am sure I single-handedly put Mr Genting’s children through university, debt-free. I have taken laxatives when I have eaten too much bread (is that a thing?) before a night out and subsequently ended up with the Delhi-Belly experience right here, at home, in the UK. I got the ultimate cliche of a worst-first tattoo aged fourteen because I felt like it (my parents still convinced this monstrosity of a hip-etching is still the thing of legend). It made me, worryingly recently, find it reasonable to contemplate marrying a socially-acceptable-drug-addict in a foreign country. I took a few dodgy pills aged eighteen at a festival and was so convinced I was having a (eight hour-long) heart attack that I text my parents telling them I loved them and may have been spiked (not to worry them, obviously.) I have experienced drunken sloppy kisses with people I shouldn’t have and I have woken up in places that have terrified me. Even now, as I write this I am 80% swayed toward calling somebody I know I shouldn’t to over-share the 3000+ thoughts and confusions running through my head about how I feel about them, despite my short emotional attention span. However, I am slowly learning as an ‘adult’ to recognize when my sense of impending doom is a blessing or a curse.
I have learnt that, being perpetually anxious means that If I wish to sleep at night, I must do all I can. This has become the driving atheistic force behind me wanting to leave behind some form of ‘artistic legacy’. If life has any point at all, I have reasoned it must be to live a life that you’re proud of, through truth or hedonistic desire and doing exactly what you wanted and felt. I am now somebody who rarely feels embarrassment about anything for long, if at all, having trained myself to do what I want (as long as that doesn’t hurt someone else), which in terms of risk-taking is a skill that is boundless, innate or trained.
Tell them you love them, tell them you hate them. Book the flight. Drink the beer. Grab their hand. Quit The job, take the job. Call them at 4am if you have to. After all, I’ll probably do the same.