January has come and gone in the blink of an eye. I’ve started my new job at the Walker and I’m really enjoying it. It is much slower paced than any job I’ve worked in before but it is still fascinating. Being constantly surrounded by incredible works of art by some of the worlds best known artists is very humbling. It still doesn’t feel real some days. It feels like I’m looking at my life from the outside and watching this girl and wondering what she is going to do next. Some days I feel quite disconnected from her fate.
It is taking me longer than I thought it would to transition into life here. I was born here and I have family here, I studied here for a semester and I’ve been on holidays here. I know Liverpool well and I can navigate the public transport system and the currency. I have favourite places to eat and drink, I have favourite shops and places to visit and I know where not to go… How do I explain then how incredibly foreign I feel? My family history stretches back hundreds of years here. I quite literally walk the same streets my ancestors did and yet I feel like a total fish out of water. Every system is unfamiliar – tax, pensions, driving rules, school systems, recruiting etc. It feels very overwhelming sometimes. I know, I know. Some people have real problems. Some days I just feel so utterly out of my depth.
One of the things that I need to learn to let go of is the very naïve notion that moving to another country is going to solve all of my problems. I can try and fool myself that all of my problems were because of lack of opportunity among a myriad of other things but the truth is that you can build a life anywhere. You’ve got to want it. You’ve got to try. I gave up trying in Perth. Liz Gilbert, the illustrious author of ‘Big Magic’, recently wrote that one of the things that frustrates her most is watching people who have agency over their lives pretending they don’t and instead argue in defence of their own helplessness. I read that and it was like a bolt of lightning. To be perfectly honest, it’s all I’ve been doing for years. I decided that because Perth wasn’t serving the things I wanted up to me on a silver platter that I should move somewhere else and see if things would be easier for me there. Guess what. It wasn’t Perth that was the problem. It was me.
I’m very good at telling myself stories. Building a narrative of my life to pretend that I’m living more than I actually am. Perhaps thats why I feel disengaged, because I’m not actually living a full life, I just keep telling myself I am. I have always lived my life cautiously, following the path of the least risk of failure. I might have moved across the planet but rather than feeling empowered, I feel like I’ve run away. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been very lucky in my work here and I’ve got no intention of leaving for the moment. I think I am just beginning to understand what the character Raymond Dufayel was talking about in Amelie when he told her “…your bones aren’t made of glass. You can take life’s knocks…”. I’ve always thought that my two core values were to be brave and be kind, but I’m beginning to think I haven’t been so brave lately. I think it could be time to take some real risks.
Until next time,