Talent Develops In Solitude
I don’t remember every day being an effort, a Sisyphean struggle up the hill that might only promise more climbing.
I long for a peaceful plateau where I can rest and gather strength for the next climb, or reach the peak to enjoy watching the rock roll down the hill as it snowballs into good fortune, hoping, praying, the hard work pays off.
In 2011, I climbed an actual mountain, not the metaphorical ones that highlight the highs and lows of life, with the view at the top being worth it blah blah blah… a literal one; Mount Kenya.
I’m only writing this because I want to safeguard these picturesque photos on this Internet tombstone. A place I can visit when I want to remember fond memories of when life seemed easier, like the comforting basecamp before the mighty trek to the peak.
My thirties (so far) may be remembered as my years of solitude. I have been alone for a long time, but perhaps in my twenties, surrounded by people, I felt this way but was distracted with the proximity of people. It may not be a coincidence that I was the only one at University who, studying Theatre Arts, chose the branch of Solo Performance. Was I designed to live a lonely life?
I no longer feel alone in the vast cosmic emptiness, even if that’s just a change in mentality, there is some poetic relief in knowing you are the universe experiencing itself, and therefore, can find strange and wonderful kinship with the entirety of existence. It would explain why I love trees and occasionally stand with one as if I was having a silent conversation. The company of an animal, even if it’s a distant bird flying across the sky can bring a smile to my face.
I am grateful to feel comfortable in my loneliness, but it’s evident I long for the external to communicate with me. Although a nice life for the romantic in me to get sustenance in companionship with the formation of clouds or the expression of nature seeping in the cracks, like the line of ants creeping out in to my kitchen to feed on the crumbs I leave behind, there is nothing that compares to admiring the eyes of a human and exploring each other together.
The caress of another’s hand on my skin rather than my own pretending it compares, like methadone to heroin. Feeling their lips place themselves just behind my ear, as I discover them. Cooking a meal for someone other than me. Learning the intricacies of another in order to give them pleasure. Building a life that aligns with theirs so that we may be a trunk in each other’s lives, so that we may each branch out to explore the universe, together and separately.
I long to be needed.
Currently, I wake up, to a dormant career, in a World where nobody needs me.
There’s a freedom to that.
I get to do what I want.
I am grateful for it, but it feels selfish, even if sometimes, one’s life requires a little self-centeredness.
I know that given the opportunity to help, to be of service, I could do so, but I also acknowledge that I want to do so using the skills I have been trained to do; actor, comedian, an entertainer who knows that the power of stories can move you, change someone in a fundamental way so that the observer suddenly takes a step in a different direction.
Storytellers have that power.
But at the moment, I suppose I still don’t quite know what value I bring to others, and so I wander around the house like a ghost, dipping my fingers in as many self-baked pies as possible in the hope the aroma of one brings people to me.
I spend the majority of my time finessing my character so that when I gain traction and success, I will be able to handle the weight of responsibility.
That’s the dream, that all this time in quarantine isn’t wasted, but for the betterment of something in the future that I cannot yet see.
I’ve certainly seen improvement in who I am. After all, it’s only four years ago I woke up with no memories, a shell, and that point in space and time seems to now always be a good place of comparison. I was nothing and now I’m something.
There has been progress, but “talent develops in solitude, character develops in the stream of life”, and it’s difficult to know wether “I” is any good if it festers in the quietness of an empty cube.
As for the memories of who I was before the amnesia, it’s hard to tell what I remember. I have fragments, but it doesn’t mean these recollections are collated correctly.
But one thing that is perhaps undeniable is, although some friends disagree, I was selfish. I could bulldoze my way froward without worry for others in order to get to my destination, and everyone was disposable because that’s what I’d learned in the early formation of my person.
I had a nomadic childhood, constantly moving, unable to ever truly make friends as I knew I’d be away again soon, so there was no point getting hurt by making any real connection.
It was Me versus the World.
When climbing Mount Kenya, the group split to accommodate for the various speeds of travel, each pocket with a sherpa to shepherd the group. I was with the faster group at the front, with my long legs, and loving each stride of this adventure.
At one moment, the group became a little agitated as our guide seemed unsure of where to go next. He asked us to stay in the middle of nowhere on this vast mountain, so he could scout where to go next. I either didn’t hear him or chose not to, perhaps because of the high altitude thinning the air and disturbing our decisions or because of my huge ego, and as he galloped ahead, I attempted to follow him.
Down the hill, with horizons occasionally dropping, and surrounded by ravines, with a huge climb behind me, I continued forward until I was alone.
It didn’t take long before I started to cry, as I imagined a lion finding me and devouring this ridiculous blubbering prey.
I had my Where’s Waldo (Wally) outfit in my bag to wear when we reached the peak of the mountain, so I was tempted to put the red and white stripy top with bright blue bottoms, so that I could stand out in the green forage.
Thankfully, it wasn’t long till I saw blurry human shapes in the distance, and all I had to do was gather up the strength to get up and head in that direction, avoid the hidden drops that the cliff, and wipe any signs of crying.
I returned to the group, embarrassed.
I once heard something about a pack of wolves, and I don’t know if it’s true, but the imagery offered by the story has value. A pack will travel together, but one of the strongest members will travel ahead, in the darkness, alone, to assess threats as well as valuable direction for the safety of the whole, while the alpha remains at the back with the weakest, protecting and encouraging them.
I don’t know who I am in this comparison, but living alone after amnesia, and reassembling myself from a fragmented sense of self, I have felt like all those roles, and the one leading the way in the obsidian, has felt like both its own Alpha and Omega.
Who am I in a society when I have lived in so many different places that my community is the whole planet? I’m thirty six years old and I’ve yet to live in a country which I’m legally allowed to vote in, just so you get an idea of why I am struggling to find my community.
At least, it’s good to know that lone wolves are solitary momentarily, as they find a mate, their own territory, and eventually form their own pack.
For now, we return to the present moment. I am in California, about to set off on a road trip around the United States on my motorbike and then…. Well I don’t know….
Is it the shame of returning to Europe without Hollywood success that’s kept me in Los Angeles longer than comfortable? Or was there truly a reason, perhaps one that is larger than me, for being here in some sort of exile?
On occasion, I am in someone’s company and find the right words to help someone, and for that to have happened, the struggle behind me had to happen too. How can I share a lesson if I’ve not learned it myself?
These moments make the pain worth it.
I literally couldn’t have met you if all these things happened, and me meeting you helped your journey.
It’s a gift to be able to help.
My time in California may very well be drawing to an end.
I say ‘may be’, because who knows what lurks around the corner.
As the Cranberries say in Dreams, “all my life is changing everyday, every possible way.”
I am in no situation to turn down opportunities, so I go with the flow and move like water.
To soften the blow, I tell myself that there is a reason I’ve been set aside, decommissioned, while I see all my friend succeed and grow families. That perhaps, this is a ritual of sorts dealing with the temporal, and I am training, climbing, to eventually reach a platform where I will be needed.
I have often compared my time in the City of Angels like a storytelling soldier that was deployed, training and grinding, fortifying in preparation for a much bigger battle.
A curse that simultaneously became a gift.
The last few years have certainly moulded me into a being capable of quick transformation, which is ideal for an actor who wants to play multiple complex roles.
I am ready for my next big climb, or maybe I’ve made the climb, and I’m eager to see the ball roll down the hill, appreciate the view, and graciously accept the opportunities come my way.
This is my way of saying, please Universe, give me a fucking break, lol.
One thing I’ve learned, even if (when…) I gain the success I once dreamed of, I would want to share it with people I care about. There is nobody here that compares to family and long term friends from a home I once wanted to escape, and I am ready to make new connections.
Enough of doing this trip around the World solo.