It's been a funny old week. I started it off in a heightened state of excitement and anxiety in the build up to the play, peaked when things went so well — beyond my expectations, in fact — only to find myself in a strange conflicted place of optimism mingled with doubt, fear and questioning this weekend.
Let me explain a bit.
I feel excited: excited that this crazy old journey I'm on actually feels like it is going somewhere. Excited because things feel like they're actually working out and going well. Excited that I'm receiving positive feedback, that I'm not just acting out some crazy whim to satisfy a bout of vanity. I'm optimistic that with the right support and lots of hard work I can continue on this path and strive for success. But I still doubt whether I can actually make a career of the work I'm doing because of my troubled past relationship with money and my subsequent dependence on having a day job and earning a good living; I'm attempting to sustain a level of income that is perhaps unrealistic for an artist like me should I attempt to live off my art full time.
It's no coincidence that I'm feeling all this during abundance week. The course has forced me to question my relationship with money and has re-stoked the fires of my financial self-worth.
The big question I've been struggling with the past few days (one I've struggled with for years) is: do I need more or less? I'm not just talking money here. I've come to realise that while my life was dramatically changing in direction over the past 3 years, I failed to keep pace. Without going into too much detail, the life I was leading was whipped away from me when I least expected it; but I'm still attempting to lead part of that life alongside the new artistic life I've succeeded in creating for myself. These are two very full lives I'm leading. That's why I have no free time to myself, that's why I'm always exhausted, that's why despite my successes I still feel unfulfilled and unsatisfied in certain areas. It's because I have no space left, no room in my life to enjoy myself.
While my finances could potentially be solved with more money, I realise that that is an unrealistic expectation. So in fact I don't need or want more in my life:
I need less.
I need to reduce my dependency on money. I need to free myself from the shackles of my debts, break away from the responsibility of owning a property with a low investment value which has consistently held me back from making important decisions, I need to wipe the slate clean and make room in my life and in my head that is free from the clutter and chaos of money worries. I can do this. I've done it before — twice, in fact — and I came out the other end both times a happier person. The only thing that didn't change was my naïvety; blind faith often guiding me down paths I could otherwise could have avoided.
I led a very simple life at age 21. I was in Australia, living rent-free thanks to the caring hospitality of my aunt. I performed with a local theatre company and volunteered a lot of my time to community projects, with no real dependence on money. I had enough to feed and clothe myself and enough left to do a bit of travel. My life was basic; at one point I lived in a cubby hut and walked everywhere barefoot — I was positively feral! And I was at my happiest then. Free from the trappings of society, existing in a bubble of creativity and spirituality.
That bubble burst, of course, when my stockpile of cash ran out. When the savings account was empty it was time for me to come home and start earning again. I've worked for the same company ever since. I've lived in the flat I originally bought for me and my ex for 7 years now; the past 3 of those on my own following the breakdown of our relationship, time spent wishing I lived anywhere but there but feeling unable to sell due to negative equity following the collapse of the property market. I've clung and clung in desperate belief that the market would bounce back and the problem would resolve itself, determined to make back my money and pay everything off once and for all.
The thing is, I'll never know what the situation is as I haven't even tried. I've never so much as asked an estate agent for an opinion or valuation.
I finally made that call yesterday. The time feels right. In order to allow more into my life I first must have less to make that room. I've been heading this way for weeks without fully acknowledging it; the hints in my morning pages, selling off my books, shedding old clothes — it's not going to happen over night, but the wheels feel like they are in motion.
I have a clearer vision of the life I hope to lead. I can visualise what my inner artist does, where they might live, what they might need to get by. The outline is sketched and it's time to colour him in.
I am terrified. I might be letting go of my security, I might be losing my home, losing the privacy I value in favour of house sharing again, losing my foothold on the property ladder. The truth is, I'm also excited about it. I visualise myself and feel the sun on my face as I walk tall, debt-free and unburdened of these huge responsibilities. Yes, I will acquire new ones, but they will be within the means of this new life of Kris the playwright and performer.
I've shared this on my blog, dear friends, as I suspect I will need a hell of a lot of support in the next few months to make some painful decisions and transitions. I feel like my mind might finally be made up.
Well — more or less!