I actually had a different post scheduled for today, the second part of my short story Strangers, however I had something on my mind that I needed to get down. Part two of Strangers will be coming next week, so just bear with me in the meantime.
I went to Sheffield this weekend to see some friends put on some plays and short sketches in Thestival, a three-day theatre festival. Thesitval was the brainchild of my friends Vicky and Michael when we were all part of the drama society way back when, and it is so great to see it still living on all of these years later, with different people putting their own spin on it. I guess with a lot of drama societies at university, people tend to put on more widely known plays and musicals most of the time, so it’s great that Thesitval encourages people to put on lesser known plays and sketches, and even submit originally written stuff, to really show the potential from the future stars of tomorrow.
It made me think about my own potential.
This weekend was probably one of the best I’ve had in a while. It was so great to see such great shows put on by extraordinarily talented people, and to reconnect with people I haven’t had much of a chance to speak to since moving to London. I also met so many great new people who I’m sad I won’t be able to get to know better because of geography. And even though the after party on Saturday night was so much fun, and I felt the least anxious and most myself I had felt for a while, I still ended up feeling kind of sad.
All of these people, many of whom are still at university or newly graduated, are tapping into all of this potential and it is fantastic. They’re writing original material, taking creative risks, and they’re all so damn enthusiastic and excited about their lives and their art. I was a wreck throughout the majority of my time at university, as I’ve briefly touched upon before. I was too nervous to do a lot of things I wanted to do simply because I was too scared of what people thought. One of my biggest regrets from university was not joining the drama society from the get-go, because I’m sure it would have made my first year a lot more bearable.
I spend so much of my life being scared; of what people think, of not being good enough. It’s stopped me from achieving so many things, or even just adding new experiences under my belt.
All the times I’ve spent over the years locked up in my room, missing out on great things, yet I did nothing constructive with my time, not really. My school holidays were mainly spent playing The Sims and binge-watching various shows (and let me tell you, binge-watching shows you didn’t own on DVD was a lot harder back in 2007), and university wasn’t much different. All of that time I could have spent studying just a little bit harder to get better grades, or actually committing to projects instead of giving up halfway through, I can’t help but think I would be in a different position today. But I’m not, all because I’ve always been too scared of what people think, or not being good enough.
I know that saying ‘what if’ won’t change anything. And I know it’s not all my fault – anxiety and depression are illnesses that take over your mind in such a way that your perception on reality gets distorted, and you fail to see the good.
Because the truth is, if I hadn’t gone through half the things I have, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Life has taken me down this particular path for a reason. I was actually speaking to a friend a few weeks ago about how I regret not being more productive with my time when I was younger. She agreed with that sentiment, but put such a positive spin on it, “I guess we just have to make up for it our adult lives.”
And it’s true. I definitely think that after leaving university, I started to work a lot harder; in jobs, on my blog, and in my relationships. Almost to a fault, because I do believe I put the most pressure on myself, as well as being my own worst critic. But I guess after all those years of being ‘lazy’, and knowing what I’m capable of when I put my heart and soul into things, I need to be a little bit hard on myself at times to make sure I get to where I want to be. I’m not a workaholic by a long shot, but I definitely have more of a work ethic than I used to.
At the Thestival after party, I felt so old, and so… behind. All of these people around me were doing such great things that I can only dream of doing. Some of my friend have written actual plays, and put them on in front of paying audiences, yet I have trouble penning my future best-selling novel, or even keeping to a semi-regular blogging schedule. But, as they say, comparison is the thief of joy. I can’t carry on with the mentality of where others are, in relation to myself. Don’t compare your chapter one to someone’s chapter twenty, and all that.
Because the truth is, I have so much potential, and I’m certainly not putting it to waste. I’m just going down my own path.