The weather has changed today. It’s much cooler than it was, less sunny. It has made me think about change: how we embrace or resist it. How sometimes it can be so good for you and at other times it’s exactly what is not needed.
In the past I’ve needed to stay still, to root in one place in order to grow and change slowly, like a tree. I needed those times so that I could be around the same people and work in the same communities, so that I could better understand my reflection in them.
These days the need is to be immersed in rapid change so that I can explore different sides of myself, learn new skills and not become calcified in thought or process. Whenever I’ve been unhappy in life I’ve realised that the only thing I can honestly change is myself. This is difficult as often I’m unhappy because I want other people to change. But that’s never going to happen. And I remember a quote that has stayed with me: ‘never expect different results from the same behaviour’.
I want to grow as an artist, as a person; Andy and I want our relationship to develop and evolve; how does that happen when everything is the same? On the other hand, it’s important not to kid yourself that by changing your surroundings you’re making anything different – you take yourself everywhere you go. I think the trick is being honest about the differences between what I would call ‘stationary-change’ and ‘mobile-change’, what they can offer at any specific time, and what it is a person genuinely needs (not wants).
I’m also getting better at recognising what sparks the anxiety, and am beginning to wonder if the anxiety is just a negative form of intuition. Perhaps it’s time to listen to her more instead of blocking her out. For example when I’ve been brutally honest with myself and had a good rummage around the mind as to why I felt low-level anxiety chewing at the mind, I’ve found that there’s a task I’d been putting off, or the gnawing feeling that I didn’t deal with someone as well as I perhaps could have, or that I’d taken on too much work and didn’t know how to say ‘no’.
Sometimes though the anxiety kicks in because I’m working with people who approach things in a very different way to me: I prefer a straight talking exchange, but I realise that for some people they aren’t able to do that and will instead flow around me like water so that I can’t a grip on what they’re doing or wanting which leaves me feeling stressed out and confused. This used to cause me so much upset but now, removed from it, I can see that it’s just different people, each with our own unique set of fucked up approaches, trying to get through the day without losing our minds (or our jobs).
Since living in the van my anxiety has cut in half, if not more. Some of that might be because I’m working (and earning) less, and am around less new people all of the time. But I also know that this is my soul telling me to keep moving in this direction, even if letting go of old ways of working and being is scary, even if I can’t see a safety net. This is the hard bit: not just not being afraid to embrace the change, but to actively walk towards it, arms outstretched, eyes open.