I’m not Goth. I’m not hipster. I’m not Christian or Muslim or Buddhist, and I suppose most people would call me Atheist or Agnostic, but I don’t particularly like those labels, either. I’m not preppy. I’m not beachy. I’m not country. I’m not a musician or a painter or a photographer or a scientist or an engineer. I’m not vegan or vegetarian or pescetarian. I’m not athletic. I’m not indie or alternative. I’m not punk. I’m not fashionable.
Apart from ‘mother’, I don’t know how to define myself. And I guess it’s not a huge or unusual issue, but often I just feel lost. I go drifting through life, dipping my toes half-heartedly into lots of different pools before deciding that I don’t want to swim in them.
Generally, I feel more offbeat than the majority, and if there is one thing that I’ve kept coming back to for as long as I can remember, it’s my tendency to lean into hippy-ish territory. Those tendencies are often little more than ideas, though, because above anything is my very unfortunate tendency to favour anything that is easy. Doing things the way you have always done them is easy. But it’s boring. And don’t make me pull out that overused Einstein quote about insanity.
For the sake of a lot of things, I need to get the hell over the mountain of apathy that has been building up in me for years and years. I didn’t realise at the time, but I was depressed in high school. And under-stimulated. Disillusioned. I started to notice huge flaws in the education system I was going through. I was frustrated with my teachers and peers, my subject curriculum, my subject choices. Add to that the fact that I was supposed to be deciding what to do with my life, without actually knowing anything about life. I knew about ancient mathematics formulas, I knew Antony and Cleopatra, I knew the atomic structure of elements, I knew the movie Clueless backwards and forwards, for the love of anything out there, but I didn’t know how to get insurance, file a tax return, rent a house, buy a house, buy a car, find a good doctor, fix a broken hinge, make a vegetable garden… for example. I was unavoidably aware of all of that, and it made me angry. And freaking terrified. I had more appointments in the career advisors’ office than anyone I knew, and it eventually got to a point where they just opened up the universities guide and read out random careers for me to consider.
I knew I wouldn’t get a very good University Admissions Index, because I had long given up. Teachers and advisors told me that they knew I was quite intelligent and could see I wasn’t suited to a school environment (maybe the school environment is the problem, huh?), that I would do better at university, and that I would be guaranteed a place at any of the universities that offered early acceptance/principal’s recommendation. I had three choices within the state – two required essays about why I wanted to go there, one didn’t. Guess which one I chose.
I chose communications/media/writing/philosophy units at university – the best option I had of using my ability to write well without actually heading towards a career in writing, because, oh goody, I don’t enjoy doing the one thing I’m actually good at. I did extremely well in my first year. On a scale of Fail, Pass, Credit, Distinction and High Distinction, I got some Cs, even more Ds, and one HD. I was invited to do an honours year, though I didn’t respond. I started to feel aimless again. The degree wouldn’t get me a career. I didn’t even know what career I wanted. I was putting a lot of effort into subjects I found boring and pointless, and I was miserable.
I think everyone assumes I dropped out because I couldn’t study and take care of Devin at the same time. That’s fair enough, but it’s not the case. I had to look at my situation realistically – I had failed (incomplete) more units than I had finished, I was racking up an unnecessarily high HECS debt, I didn’t like the courses the university offered, and I did not care enough about the units to actually make the effort to balance study and parenthood.
What I’m lacking is a passion for anything.
I can feel a few sparks. When I’m looking at innovation and design in children’s products. When I’m reading about how to be more environmentally friendly. When I find emotive and creative photography of pregnancy, birth and families. When I’m going through the archives of someone’s craft/sewing/knitting blog. But I need something to ignite the sparks and push me into action, because I just don’t know what do do with myself.