Prior to my career break I had someone I trust a great deal tell me something I genuinely didn’t want to hear. I’ve been told all my life about my gifts/talents/abilities/calling or whatever you’d like to call it. I knew they were there and I knew how much I enjoyed them, writing being one of them. I also knew there was more to come. She told me that I was to inherit a very strong mantle from a family member. (For those unfamiliar with a mantle, it can be either a set of skills/abilities or a particular task or role that is needed. When someone passes on, it’s almost like a baton they pass on to the next generation.) It was my grandmother’s mantle. I didn’t want it. Don’t get me wrong, my grandmother wanted for nothing and was loved by enough people to almost fill St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was beautiful at her funeral. But her mantle was a heavy one that she bore ALONE. I don’t know that I have her strength and I’m tearing up even as I type. I didn’t want it. It was suggested to me years before this and I told God then I didn’t want it. My brother wants it and I suggested that God just shift it and let me be normal. Apparently I was ignored.

As I mentioned, prior to my career break there was some thought that returning to church, moreover returning to God, was the answer to this restlessness and dissatisfaction I was feeling. I finally figured out, I was no longer living as me. I had spent so much time fitting in that I had lost sight of the person I was. I don’t fit in and I’d always been okay with that because I was always led to those people who would take me as I am totally and completely. But I’d let that go in favour of fitting into a different culture. The result, I’d attracted the wrong kind of people.

I dated and it was wholly unsatisfying. They were attracted to the outgoing side of my personality, which is only one facet of my personality, and when I needed to be vulnerable or to rely on them it seemed to freak them out. So I just decided it was better to just let it happen organically than being out there “seeking”. “Friends” weren’t fun and I was constantly compromising with myself to keep them. I had one “friend” who would openly scoff when I talked about my love of poetry (something I’d been doing since I was 10) and neo soul. When I say openly scoff I mean the sound, the hand gestures, the dramatic rolling of the eyes, the neck movements a full bodied display of distaste. Why? Because at some point during her teens or early twenties it was really popular and everyone was into it and it disgusted her. It may sound strange to you but it felt horrible not to be able to talk about my passion but I told myself I needed to accept her as she was if we were going to be friends and just not to bring it up anymore. There were other things in that “friendship” that felt off but I ignored it all the way.

During my career break that “friendship” ended. It probably didn’t have to but when I found that I just couldn’t be bothered to care about being admonished for not turning up to a club night or gig I knew I had already checked out. There was no reason to force it and it didn’t feel like something I wanted to put my energy into doing. I was breaking down. Well, my walls were being broken down. I was constantly tired. I was feeling more and more like being around people was a chore. Everything was too loud and noisy. My senses were on overload.