Buckle up kids it’s story time
This is the first blog I’ve written since the jailbreak. This is the first time I’m able to write completely for myself. You see… I quit my job. To pursue more writing, travel, creativity and happiness.
If you read this blog for lols about food and travel you may want to skip ahead. However, this chapter needs to be told. It lays fresh foundations for tales to come. Even if it’s more arty-farty than you’re used to.
This story comes after an arduous process of breaking an expectation-filled mould. The glass slipper I’d forced my unnaturally large “ugly stepsister” feet into has finally slipped off. I’ve managed to smash my previous life like Miley Cyrus astride a wrecking ball and “insert any other metaphor that is symbolic of breaking free”.
It’s also possible this is a midlife crisis…
The awkward turtle
You need to know that I’ve always been a bit weird. It wasn’t just growing up as a left-handed, ginger who took more than 30 years to grow into her eyeballs.
This story starts around the theme of “love” (or at least lust).
I was always “one of the boys”. A boyish, pale, freckle-faced, knobbly-kneed, gangly child and teen who played video games excelled at the flute and most definitely sucked at sport.
My mantra “boys don’t like me”, lasted well into my mid to late 20s.
I can’t lie and say I wasn’t conventionally pretty. But I attracted the awkward band geeks, backstage goths and maths nerds. People I know now to be some of the most interesting, kind and beautiful ones. Unfortunately, they weren’t the ones I was interested in.
This kid has always, held a candle for the pretty ones. You know the ones… the jocks, the confident, charisma oozing ones. Also the dark and brooding possibly narcissistic ones (but that came later, definitely after the movie “Empire Records”).
Like so many that have come before me, and will certainly come after, who have been foolishly groomed to covet the inane, to become noticed I became the funny girl. I learned if you can make them laugh, you get attention.
Enter the clowns
Obviously, that’s not why I continue my humorous and definitely tongue in cheek writing today (at least I hope it’s obvious). I am certain that the origin story of my gift for locating the funny bone isn’t unique. Just ask any “funny girl” you know.
I am grateful for the misplaced attention seeking years, even if the intent most certainly led to torturous situations. I’ve managed to forgive myself for all the dating advice I gave my friends about other girls, whilst secretly wishing they were looking at me.
If I hadn’t forged down the path of the comic relief, I wouldn’t have the confidence to put myself into the situations I do now.
Let me entertain you
Being the constant butt of my own jokes, and steeling myself against ridicule (often from my own hand) has led to a certain strength and determination. I have developed an ability to be seen, heard and listened to. Funny girls are excellent storytellers, commanding and capturing the attention of their target, whether it be a mating target or a room full of strangers.
I now know why I’m here. I am here to tell stories. To encourage a smile. I want you to giggle. I am so thrilled when someone tells me they snorted a drink through their nose watching one of my videos.
The day someone told me they wet themselves watching “The Chubby Bunny Challenge” I almost retired on the spot.
Why has it taken me 35 years to realise my value and step out on my own? To try and do this “storytelling and travel thing” for real?
It has definitely been a mixture of fear. A splash of uncertainty. But mostly it’s because “success doesn’t look like that.”
Remember back to when you were 12? You knew that by the age of 25 you’d have it all figured out right? You’d probably be married with a dog, a cat, a couple of kids and a castle with a moat around it? Unrealistic fairy-tale property goals aside, a lot of us have been informed by a young age that “this is what success looks like”.
I’m not just talking about food on the table and a warm place to sleep, the measure of success beyond Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for a lot of families like mine were whether or not your husband drives a BMW or a Mitsubishi. Success was living in transport zone 1 of a cosmopolitan city. It was whether or not you holidayed in the Gold Coast or the south of France.
Middle class and white bullshit.
Like an uncomfortable bra that I paid far too much money for, the past decade or so I’ve been in pursuit of this kind of success. I’ve settled down with the wrong humans… twice. The pretty boy who’s most certainly wrong for me phase never really ended. I’ve harboured unrealistic expectations of my life that don’t match my character.
Perhaps it’s a mixture of expectation or a sense of duty and it’s meant a life lived inauthentically.
Finding my value
I was already perched high up in the tree of disengagement with my work, living situation and personal connections when I met a pretty sensational human who, through a series of enriching conversations spoke about finding my “IKIGAI”.
IKIGAI is a Japanese concept that defines your reason for living. It is the centre of what you value. Your reason for existing and being. According to Wikipedia: The word IKIGAI roughly translates to the “thing that you live for” but it also has the nuance of “the reason for which you wake up in the morning” similar to a daily purpose.
I can’t tell you what mine is, that’s personal but if you’re struggling with finding your value or purpose in life. Take a stab at figuring it out.
IKIGAI cannot take full credit. Sensing something was amiss, I had started immersing myself in “The Artists Way” a 12-week course by Julia Cameron (recommended by another sensational human), which was re-awakening old talents and creative desires.
I was restless.
Like a meerkat searching the horizon for a stampede of inspiration that seemingly never came, through a combination of soul searching, endless reading, long conversations with sensational humans and a tonne of writing I made the decision to quit my job.
I quit my 12-year long career, 6 figure salary, cushy, secure and totally predictable job.
Oh my god, what have I done?
It’s been 3 weeks. The elation of leaving work to embark out on my own has definitely dulled. The excitement of “wow I get to travel whenever I like” has shifted to “so how will I afford to do this?”
I’m lucky. I don’t have a mortgage (any more), a partner (right now), kids (other than my 2 cats) or a family that expects me home at Christmas. Wouldn’t it be foolish to always wonder “what if?”
It’s important to note that I don’t think anyone should make life-changing decisions because of some course they read, or because some Japanese ideology told them to. I’ve taken this leap because I can’t be my authentic self and offer true value to the world working Monday to Friday with 4 weeks leave.
So here I am. Sitting in a villa in Ubud, Bali – Indonesia on the hunt for culinary stories and adventures to tell. I don’t 100% know what you can expect… how exciting.
Just don’t come near me if you’re a dark, brooding, charismatic and pretty one. We don’t have time for that right now ;P
This is so true for so many. You gotta pull that trigger. Take that leap and trust the net will appear. This ain’t no dress rehearsal gurlfrand!
Go get it!! Whatever it is – the feeling!
You’re amazing! Thank you x
I don’t know what your personal “IKAJI” is but this is a very selfish and self centred blog post. For most people the reason to live is for their families and relationships and children’s, we work hard and sometimes in things we do not love to put ourselves in a position to repay our elders with security, comfort and love into their old age and our children with safety and stability to succeed and grow in whatever their hearts desire. This selfish outlook on life being about nothing but your own happiness will never fulfill and bring the joy gained from bringing comfort and opportunity to the ones you love before yourself.
Thank you for sharing your opinion. I respectfully disagree with you, but that’s ok as wouldn’t the world be a boring place if we all agreed? The reason I disagree is that you’ve made many assumptions on my lifestyle that aren’t true. Simply because I have decided not to accept the status quo does not make me a selfish person who does not care for my family. If anything, me being a happier person is more beneficial to my family we are now able to spend more quality time together. I am planning overseas trips with my mother that will be joyous and fulfilling… two qualities you mention being desirable. You also assume incorrectly that I have, or want children. I don’t have dependents and at this point may never have them. Not that this should matter, I know plenty of parents who have also decided to pursue their dreams, and you know what? They have wonderful, happy and enriched lives with their kids. Your final assumption being that my outlook is only on my happiness alone, well you’ve just missed the point of why I’m doing this at all. I’m telling stories for others to smile, to challenge what they think of food and hopefully inspire them just a little.
Well fucking done. It takes courage and confidence to step aware from security and the familiar. I know you will have hard times ahead but the great moments will more than make up for those. Thanks for sharing your story it gives this other awkward duckling hope that my own chosen paths are alright. If you ever need a place to rest that’s not far from home base and zone rural send up a message. X you totally got this.
Thank you for reading and resonating with this. It was difficult to publish something personal so these comments are so appreciated. I would LOVE to come and see your little slice of paradise soon x
Hey Chanie, you nailed it right here: “I’ve taken this leap because I can’t be my authentic self and offer true value to the world working Monday to Friday with 4 weeks leave.” Not being your authentic self pinches, right? Like a pair of ill-fitting shoes, you just can’t ignore it. Oh, you try to find interim solutions, and tell yourself that if you could just change this one little thing about yourself or your expectations, maybe those ill-fitting shoes will feel okay, until every cell in your body is screaming for release.
Thanks for writing this. I need to read it today.
I always knew there was a touch of the kindred-spirit about you!
You’re so right. I couldn’t ignore or push aside that nagging feeling that I could or should be following what makes me actually come alive. You’ve put it so well. I’m so glad you got value out of this. Kindred spirits helping each other find the right path! x