Something silly

Last week I was talking to my friend Rosie. Under the guise of telling me something “really silly” Rosie confessed that she’d recently had a crisis, convinced she’d never achieve anything if she hasn’t “made it” at 27. I told her that wasn’t silly, that the year we moved to Melbourne (when I was 22), I’d had more than one panic attack because I was convinced I’d peaked at sixteen and it was all downhill from here.
Rosie and I know each other because, years ago, we were the NSW Ambassadors for National Young Writers Month. When we got the job, we decided it would be a good idea to organise and run a day-long program of events at the NSW Writers Centre. We thought that a reasonable and sane timeframe in which to do this was one month. With almost no money. As you do. This is clearly crazy talk. I cannot over emphasis the total insanity that drove us while putting together that program. But do you know what? We did it. We organised this ridiculously overambitious day of events. We paid speakers in wine. It was wonderful and crazy and great. And, at the time, we didn’t stop for a moment to think about the reasons it was impossible.
We were so fearless. Rosie and I recognised in each other this naïve confidence, this blind ambition. Anything was possible because, when you’re at the bottom you don’t have very far to fall.
I miss that.
I miss sending emails to people I admire, out of the blue, without apologising for bothering them. I miss doing things I have no idea how to do, because I want to learn. I miss having so much confidence in my right to occupy space in the world, that I would fight for that space, tooth and nail.
All of this, actually, is pretty silly. Rosie is one of the most talented, impressive people that I know. Between us, we have a list of achievements that would make most under 30s weep. There’s no truth to our fears. They’re born from the horrible brain stuff that takes good things and turns them bad. 
I realised there’s no reason I can’t claim back some of that confidence. Especially because I didn’t actually have it back then. I just pretended I did, and people believed me. After a while I started to believe myself. Brave never came naturally. Brave was something I fought for. I can do that again.
So here’s to stabs in the dark, to pushing yourself a bit too far, to applying for things you’re barely qualified for. Here’s to brazen chances, intoxicating enthusiasm, blind ambition and naïve confidence. Here’s to doing the things that scare you. 

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year