This week marks a special one in the life of one of my closest friends, this weekend marked a year of blogging and I was privileged enough to be asked to write something for her. In fact it was what inspired me to start my own, she asked me to write with the prompt of ‘perspective’. Below is my excerpt, something I’m proud of and I can only hope I did her justice.
You can find the original here: https://staybliss.blog/2017/02/25/perspectives-on-a-birthday/
And her blog: https://staybliss.blog
Some say one mans trash is another mans treasure. That trash, however, may look like treasure at any given moment to any given person. The life you hold so adamantly as trash is someone else’s pure gold, the situation you find yourself in that appears to be a dump on the outside could very well be your idea of heaven. As always it’s about the vantage point you look down on it from.
For example, the city of London for some is a dream and for others it’s a living nightmare.
Every morning is the same. A collection of measured time, from the moment the abusive and irritating alarm sounds, measured time that seems to get shorter with each passing day. What used to be a 6.30am start turns into a 7.45am rush for the train, what used to be 25 minutes for breakfast and a shower turns into a biscuit and a spray of the nearest available perfume. To everyone on the outside I am one of them now, I am just another commuter that has to push and force myself on to the train before I end up an hour late for the job I don’t actually enjoy. This is of course amplified by the fact that I will undoubtedly end up with a canary wharf wannabe’s armpit in my face for the majority of the journey and apparently they never have time for a shower either. I can always feel myself holding a chesty cough in the back of my throat but it forces its way from my body and I feel like now more than ever people’s eyes are on me.
Regardless of how invisible I am on the morning commute I can’t help but feel an unwarranted pressure to carry myself with confidence. It’s almost as if every other person in the world is looking at me and if I don’t have every inch of confidence on my face then its game over. Life is a game of retail. We are constantly selling ourselves, consciously or not. When you start telling the story of how your weekend went to a relative, when you put your make up on in the morning, when you crawl out of bed at three in the afternoon and wonder into the streets with not a care in the world you are selling yourself to everyone else. You want people to believe the stories and invest their time in you and give you the satisfaction of being noticed. As we’ve all experience the sales pitch isn’t necessarily the product you are getting. Wether you care to admit it or not, that’s what’s happening every moment of every day. We all do it and we are all guilty of doing it to other people.
I like to play a game on the daily commute. I call it; guess the sales pitch, where by I take a look at the general public and see what they’re portraying versus what they are, for example:
Tall guy, dark hair, well dressed and carrying a brown leather suitcase. That usually translates as a confident business man.
1A) in actual fact he’s a middle aged prick with a long list of ex-lovers and probably has a fetish for dominatrix’s
A blonde, muscular ripped jean wearing beard with his hand grabbing at every arse it sees
2A) translates as closet homosexual
2B) probably also has a fetish for dominatrix’s
And well, you get the picture. I can’t help but wonder how many people have done the same with me as I push my way through the mass of workers. How many people notice me at all? The underground becomes such a beautiful place in the morning; it turns into a clockwork beehive. Every individual face blurs into one rushing mass all as eager to jump on the train that will have another one arrive in less than a minute. This mass has no concept of time other than the fact that they’ll be late if they don’t squeeze themselves on to the train that’s about to close its doors potentially losing an arm or every shred of dignity for that morning.
So with that in mind, the world seems so much smaller.
In such a small world it’s surprisingly easy to get lost and in a large crowd of people it’s surprisingly easy to feel alone and with all of these large crowds in such a small world it’s so very easy to find that something is missing. There’s a large gap inside of every one of the worker bees in the clockwork hive. These gaps then form their own large spaces that need to be filled; everybody knows that. But what if these gaps can’t be filled? What if these busy worker bees in the large crowds of the small worlds can’t fill those large gaps? Do they wonder empty? Do they live with it? Of course the two aren’t mutually exclusive, it’s perfectly possible to wonder empty and live always having something missing. The real question is; how long can this go on? Suddenly it all makes sense, every irrational argument you’ve had with a lover or every time you’ve had more to drink than you should have or every time you’ve ran for that train that you know you can’t make; it’s all to fill the gap. To distract ourselves and to keep it at bay, just for a little while.
Sometimes all you need to do is to take a step back and look at the situation with a fresh sense of perspective. Be brave enough to be honest and be honest enough to admit the reality of the situation. I shall preface this by saying that in the last two years I have been forced to change my outlook on life. From the outside (and in) it looked like I had a pretty sweet existence but that’s the thing, when you look at something through rose tinted glasses, all the red flags just look like flags. I have removed the rose tinted glasses and faced up to multiple truths, looking back only just now seeing the parade of flags that were waving more than I care to admit.
The hive is always buzzing. Mounded into a mass that never seems to stop, but it does. It always stops, catering to people who are wearing clothes to get them noticed, people that are too cool to care. They wander through the tunnels pretending not to care whilst secretly thinking about every single person that is looking at them, wether that’s in awe or disdain. They give there life’s to this persona that only strangers see. And then there are those who don’t seem to care, the individuals that don a tracksuit from the runways of Jeremy Kyle, the ones who seem not to notice you looking. They notice. They know you’re looking towards them, wether it’s with judgement or pity, I smile.
In the noise I would find a moment of silence, a moment of clarity. For that short, sweet moment everything would be quiet and I would feel like everything was going to be okay. I was living for those moments, day after day hoping for that feeling of okay.
There comes a moment, a short second, where everything you once saw or believed is shaken. Your attention is pulled into focus and forced to stare life directly in the face with a whole new perspective. It may be a small change, it might be the kick in the crotch that you need to stop holding yourself back. Whatever it is, it’s important that it happens. You will find clarity in the strangest of places. You won’t be looking for it but it will come to you when you’re travelling alone on a train at midnight or walking through a crowded street on a Saturday. It’ll hit you, the same way the noise does. As easily as the confusion cascaded upon you, it will subside and everything will be quiet.
You might be nervous to apply for a job or an apartment for yourself, it might be that a jacket you’re stopping yourself from buying because you don’t think it’ll suit you. You could well be in a relationship that isn’t going anywhere or feel like you’re wasting your time in a career that isn’t really for you. It’s not until you take that much needed, very large, step back and look at it from every angle. Your friends will have told you their opinion, your parents will give you the classic ‘do whatever’s best for you’ and it’s all true. Sooner or later however, you realise that no view point matters apart from your own. Give yourself a break, hold your own life as treasure regardless of where you find yourself. Take that moment and run with it. As always, it’s a matter of perspective.