It all started as a single thought. Doesn’t it always start that way?
I’d been feeling pretty good for quite a long time, but after the horrific bombing in Manchester, other world events and the way the media gobbled it all up excitedly, it was easy to let negative thoughts seep in. It’s life, it happens. But instead of greeting these emotions and moving them along, I invited them in for a cuppa.
I found myself saying things like, “Gee I hate humans,” and joking about becoming a hermit. Like some sort of dark magnet, I found more things to hate, more things to be angry about. And it didn’t take much to get more momentum.
I read a hypocritical article where the writer listed out everything that’s wrong with the world and how we all need to adopt her particular world-view, and instead of fobbing it off and moving on, I took it as a personal attack.
Humans are IDIOTS.
An offhanded comment by a friend fuelled already raging fire and made me feel irrelevant. Unimportant. Invisible.
Then, I remembered all the other times I’d felt this way over the course of my life, the people who were involved, how awful they are, and how they could possibly think such behaviour was ever OK?
The single thought I’d invited in for a cuppa had become a full-on pity party.
By this stage I realised what I was doing, but I didn’t even want to stop. I wanted to consider what made me “special”. A question which is always only ever going to have a disappointing answer, because it’s such a ridiculous question (but the perfect pity-party guest).
Was there anything?
I laid it all out in my mind: I am smart, but I’m no Einstein. In the looks department, I can “scrub up” alright when I want to, but I’m no Kate Moss. In the skills department, I can write in a way resonates with some people. Then again, I’m no Elizabeth Gilbert. I’m funny, too. But heaps of people are funny.
I had taken this self-indulgent road to the only possible place it could end: I am not “extraordinary” in any regard. How can I continue my life being so terribly ordinary? How can I carry this burden? What is the point of anything?
I went to work and sat down at my desk and could feel my heart rate rise. Faster and faster, and if I didn’t get out of there quickly, I was going to pass out. I went outside and had a cry with a very patient colleague (bless his cotton socks). The best thing he said was, “You know that things get better, right?”
Yes, I do know that. And none of this shit I was upset about even made sense. Why had I forgotten that?
I realised that it all started with me seeing myself as separate from the rest of the world, which led me to a place of needing to be more than ordinary. It was way of thinking I’d let go of a long time ago.
When I got home that afternoon, I went outside and took a picture of a tree in the paddock behind my house, with the sun shining through it. I put in on Instagram, with the words “beauty in the ordinary”, and I remembered what I already knew: That’s it.
That’s all it ever has to be.
I am just another tree, like everyone else. I don’t need to be more than that. In fact, to me it’s comforting to be reminded we are all that. We are all battling the ordinary (even the celebrities – I’d say especially them).
The simple act of enjoying a walk with a friend, a sunset, a joke… that’s what it’s about. 7.4 billion souls are not here to each be extraordinary!
As I see it, we’re here for the experience: to play and create our own little universes, which we are in the process of recreating every day – whether consciously or not.
I am my own awesome shade of ordinary.
And sometimes, just like that tree… in the right light… well, there are moments of extraordinary within the ordinariness. I don’t need to “be” anything.