Stress.. I have been invited to a party. My heartbeat is up. I feel excited and terrified at the same time. Who will be there? What should I wear? I don’t own fancy clothes any more after three years on an isolated mountain. Do I have to go? Do I want to go? Why do I feel so horrible over a freaking party?
I have been to parties. I have been to a lot of parties. I seem to have been to all the ‘right’ parties for a very long time. I seem to have been going to clubs and openings and been photographed in pretty dresses, drinking champagne, talking to artists, musicians and CEO’s. I seem to have gotten my name in the media rather a lot. I seem to have been ‘the director’, ‘the editor’ or ‘the president’ more than often. I seem to have been rewarded with prizes, recognition and very probably the envy and admiration of at least certain of my peers.
I believed that I would always go to parties. (wrote the great Joan Didion)
Curiously I remember failing, failures and refusals. I remember panic attacks in off set allies. I remember sleepless nights and a heart galloping out of my chest. I remember gasping for air and longing for my mother to come and hold me like a baby. I remember despair.
So what is success? For a long time I seem to have thought it is all of the above. The party on the outside and the stress on the inside. I never really enjoyed the parties and shine and success, I believed they were a promise of something better to come. Just another step on the stairway to heaven, the stairway to more success, freedom, happiness. And the sleepless nights of panic were the price I had to pay.
Now I spend my days writing in my garden. Feeding the chickens, pulling out weeds, listening to the wind and to myself.
So do you want to go to this party? I ask myself. Is this keeping it simple? Is this serving me in any way? I do not know, like I do not know many things I used to know before. It will depend on the reason I tell myself I will go or I will not go. And it better not be depending on the right dress.
Like all things, I have to learn it is not what you do, but why you do it.