The quote that LSB has chosen for week 40 of her #QuoteQuest meme is thought-provoking. “The day I changed was the day I quit trying to fit into a world that never really fit me” – JM Storm. I feel like I’ve always been different. Perhaps less inclined to bother what people think, because when I was growing up I moved overseas a lot. There was sometimes an inner little voice that said to me “who cares what they think? We’ll be moving again soon, anyway!”
This sense of non-permanence and instability has followed me into my adult life to some degree. In a way, my scientific career was curtailed before it really began. My first two jobs were lost to redundancy within a few years of graduating from university. Whilst I was not singled out, as they were due to site closures before and during the 2008 credit crunch, I did feel a bit like I was an ‘unlucky’ person to hire.
That was my mental health telling me that, I know now. I genuinely believe mental health issues have been with me most of my life. Anxiety and depression from losing connections with friends and places I called home during my formative years. Then the same trend seemed to be happening in my adult life.
It made me feel that I was a piece of drift-wood, to meander along, not setting up proper roots. Added to that, I haven’t ever felt particularly ambitious or competitive. I was not very good at sports, nor could I play a musical instrument except for the school-issued recorder. I sometimes imagine that I’m an ‘old soul’ who was born into an era that was too late and too fast for my way of thinking. That probably sounds a strange thing to say- then again I’m not one for being entirely conventional.
Now I am in a role that is less skilled than what I studied for, but until the pandemic hit, it was seeming more secure. The past 9-10 months have shook my sense of security heavily. Before last August, mine and my husband’s family were all relatively healthy. Now, his father is requiring care four times a day, and will have to move out of the home he’s lived in for over 40 years.
Whilst all this has been going on, my mental health has been subdued. The anxiety and despondency take it in turns to cycle through my mind. Motivation has slipped to probably its lowest in a long time, but I am trying to remind myself when I feel inadequate, that I have weathered lots of storms throughout my life. Some of the roughest storms have been in this past year. Being isolated from family when some of them have needed us more than ever has been incredibly tough.
Losing my Nan affected me too, as though I’d known her days were numbered, I had always seen her as a tough cookie; soft and sweet as a grandmother, but also reminding me when I felt low that I will get through the obstacles that life throws at me. I feel quite emotional writing about her now.
Life has irreversibly changed for me and those close to me during this past year. I know a lot of people will have had their lives changed either through bereavement or some other major life event. That makes me more determined to live my life in a way that is true to me and those close to me rather than fitting into a world that never really fit me.
As we continue with so many challenges ahead with the pandemic and climate change, I’m not sure I want this world as we currently know it to ‘fit’ me. I would rather be a solution to some of our issues than be a part of the problem.
In essence, I think the day I was born was the day I quit trying to fit into a world that never really fit me.
For my other #QuoteQuest posts, follow this link.