Do you remember that song by Alisha’s Attic? The Incidentals? That song’s about love and the things that come of it.
Incidentals are things that come as a result of something else.
I have many incidental things in my life. Like the fact that weight gain is incidental to eating mashed potato too much. Or that butterflies are incidental of holding the hand of that brilliant person in my life. Or that breathlessness is incidental to laughing at my son’s use of the word “okay” to a level of mastermind persuasion.
But, truthfully, the incidentals of my life are my insecurities.
My insecurities and my new-found anxiety.
The past few months have played havoc with my mind. It’s almost made me jumpy with emotion. I started experiencing genuine anxiety. Just because I couldn’t deal with that amount of change, while recovering from what had been and gone.
I’m one of those individuals who has held the ‘confident’ title for as long as I can remember. I don’t tend to suffer from shyness unless I’m particularly nervous (like I was when l met Mark’s family for the first time, because I was so very desperate for them to like me). And I can just about talk in front of large groups of people. I’ll bend over backwards to absorb someone else’s nerves and discomfort. And I’ll always try and save an awkward moment with a smile and a silly quip or comment.
But it’s not true confidence.
It’s just an eagerness to please.
It’s so easy to play that role. You learn the part. You carefully smooth your costume around your body. And then you perfect the stage makeup you wear. And you play that role until the last member of the audience leaves, and then you remove it all, you curl up in floral pyjama bottoms and a baggy t-shirt and you think: “Thank God.”
And I think, for the most part, we all play a role when it comes to our public lives. I think it’s easier to hide the skeletons in the closet and paint a pretty picture of life, with daubs of yellow and gold, and tales of nights out, excursions, domestic bliss and self-satisfaction.
It used to be that making people happy made me happy. So it was a role I didn’t need to rehearse for. But recently I’ve found things a little tougher.
I worry every day that I’m not good enough for my son. Particularly when I parent alone now. Every decision spirals away from me. So much so that I wonder if this cake I let him have as a treat will be the cake that pushes him to the chubby side like me. So sometimes I know I don’t parent confidently at all. I know I dither. And I know I make mistakes.
I find myself doubting friendships, because I’ve been let down recently, and I feel as though I’m too tired to let many more people in.
And I probably ask my poor boyfriend almost every day if he’s still happy. Because I’m convinced that I’m not good enough because I have a son by someone else. And it’s not fair. Because he does everything for me. And he’s the best friend I’ve ever had. But my insecurities and anxiety manifest themselves in the strangest of ways and words like ‘trust’ become foreign and hard to understand.
I’m one of those people who like messages to be replied to straight away, because otherwise I worry that the person has been hit by a bus or hates me because I spelt a world wrong by accident. It’s ridiculous!
And what’s funny is that I’m always myself. I’m not false at all. I just magnify my positive points and hope that my negatives don’t show. It’s almost like I’ve taken the greatest of concealers and applied it all over myself and my life.
As a result I have the vanity that comes with the insecure. I’m a selfie-taker, reflection-scrutiniser, and I have a magpie-like tendency to become absorbed by any reflective surface.
I can twist a compliment into something entirely opposite like you would not believe. It’s almost a laughable skill.
But I’m tired. I’m tired of worrying. And putting a dress back on a hanger, at the very back of my wardrobe, because I’m too scared to wear it. I’m tired of losing my home if my mortgage lenders won’t approve me as the sole owner of our home after my six month ‘prove you can afford it’ period. And I’m sick of worrying who’s got my back or who’s ready to stab me in it.
This post is just one of those things I want to remember. Because I will look back on it as something I overcame. Eventually. It’s just honesty. It doesn’t deserve sympathy. Or even understanding.
I suppose that I want to point out that no one is immune to the incidentals.
Especially not me.