This goes from general chit chat to ‘what am I even talking about’ in the space of two lines, about two thirds of the way down, just to warn you all. And it's jam packed full of clichés. Enjoy that, won't you.
I made the point the other day that every single one of my friends is ridiculously talented in one way or another. Basically everyone I went to school with is stupidly good at something, or just generally really good at everything, which might be more annoying.
Several of my best friends at school were near enough straight A* students, two of them have both just graduated with 1st class degrees. Of the people who I 'did school' with, one of them pretty much won a dance competition every week (I might be exaggerating but not much), one of them is about to go drama school in London, one of them just got a law degree, several of them will get really good degrees from really good universities, two of them are at medical school, blah blah blah you get the drift.
Basically I have been surrounded forever by people who are either academically brilliant, artistically talented, or more often than not, both. And I’m just not that great at any of it.
I don’t mean that in a self pitying way at all. I mean yeah, I’d probably say the exact same sentence if I’d had a glass of wine (that’s honestly all it takes) and it was after 10pm, and I would completely mean it in a self pitying ‘tell me I’m not that bad please’ way, but right now, I’m being logical. Rational Emma?! Watch out, world.
BACK TO THE POINT.
I’m that person who has her finger in way too many pies.
One of those who at 10 years old wanted to do EVERYTHING. Like, everything. So I did. I rode horses a bit and danced a bit and swam a bit (a lot) and several other things, and honestly I could probably have been half decent at any of them had I just stuck with it and made my mind up. But I didn’t. Then when I got to secondary school and realised that for everything I’d ever been a little bit good at, I was friends with someone who was about 400 times better at it, I didn’t want to know any more. So I went with the ‘I’m at a great school that must mean I’m super intelligent’ mindset for a while, aced year 7 (as far as year 7 can be aced), then realised that I wasn’t anywhere even close to the most intelligent any more either, and it kind of went down hill from there.
To 11 year old me, it looked like everyone had their ‘thing’ and I didn’t know what my ‘thing’ was, how to work that out, or, most importantly, that it didn’t matter.
Turns out I never really let that mindset go. Not properly, anyway.
Hence I was making this point literally two days ago. So I had a think...
Now, I might just be telling myself this to make myself feel better, but I’m going to go with it anyway.
Those things aren’t what makes us, us. They’re not our identity. They’re just things.
I talk about my friends all the time. To other friends, to my parents, my grandparents, my boss, everyone. They’re basically either better versions of me or just generally more interesting so it makes sense. What I realised was that I don’t ever talk about what people study, so, what their ’thing’ is. I get that people probably wouldn’t remember if I told them, but that’s not why I don’t bother. I don’t bother because it doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter that Morven is a nursing student because I’m probably talking about the ridiculous amount of food we just ate or the ridiculous situation we both just found ourselves in. It doesn’t matter that Hannah does English and Drama because I’m probably talking about the most recent ridiculous ‘this happened to me at work today’ story. I could go on forever.
We aren’t defined by what we do with our every day lives. We’re just not. Maybe we can learn things from them. Maybe we can learn what interests people, what people enjoy doing, what makes them tick. But we can’t learn who they are.
Assuming people should have a ‘thing’ leaves us in dangerous territory. It leaves us in a situation where, when our ‘thing’ is threatened, our identity is threatened, and we can’t stand secure enough in who we are to be ok with that. So in the worst case, we panic, and we change tack, and in a desperate attempt at having an identity, we find success in things which can’t actually bring any good at all.
We are our minds and our hearts, which should determine our actions, but which are far greater than that. And far more important.
We’re the songs we listen to, the books (blogs) we read, the people we spend our time around and who we allow to influence us. We’re the way we react to things, and the way in which we love people. We’re our sense of humour, our sensitivity, the things we can talk about for hours. I've lost count of the number of times I've said to someone 'Ok, they might be really great at that, but they're not as good at being YOU as you are, and nobody will ever be', and then hated myself because it's so cliché.
('It's cliché, which means it's true.' What musical is that even from?)
We are all of those things and infinitely more, in a measure which nobody else will ever have. Nobody else will ever love the same things as you and do the same thing as you and react the same way to the same things as you, or care about the same things in the same way, or have the same priorities, in equal proportion to you. We’re just not made like that, and that’s a really beautiful thing. Let's just do us.