The last few weeks have been incredibly turbulent. Between a mountain of chaos with school visits gone wrong, being knocked back for science communication work in Australia at the same time as incredible offers for work overseas, leading me to question whether I should keep trying to make a difference in my home country… I’ve also had someone who I honestly never thought I’d see again come back into my life. And just as quickly as she reappeared, it now looks like she’ll disappear from it again.
The most vital aspect of keeping journals for me isn’t keeping track of what I’m doing, but on reflecting on my mindset at different points in the past and seeing parallels in my thinking now. Publishing these journal entries also gives me a second chance to be incredibly tough with myself and question that thinking with greater distance and perspective.
I’m not prone to quoting Cat Stevens lyrics, but there’s a lot of truth in “The First Cut Is The Deepest”. The first time it all goes horribly wrong is far and away the worst, mostly because it’s so strong and so unexpected when it flips. But after that first cut you start to sense the warning signs, you learn a little more about what’s important to you, and get a little smarter in the emotional intelligence department.
You will almost certainly make very similar mistakes again, but every time you throw yourself into anything wholeheartedly you learn a little more about yourself in the process. I’ve had to learn through the years to be as gentle as possible while still being radically vulnerable and fearlessly honest with people – even at the expense of their respect, friendship or love.
In the moment the rejection hurts, and can easily eat you alive if you let it. But if you take a broader “orbital” perspective then it becomes that much easier to say “This is a thing that has happened, but in the grand scheme of the universe it doesn’t matter much”. Knowing that you are worthwhile no matter what, that setbacks are temporary, that change is the only constant, and that if we serve the highest and best interests of all then things will ultimately always get better… so press on .
The greatest setbacks are almost always the greatest catalysts for rapid personal growth though. The end of the 2009-2010 relationship I mention in the journal entry was responsible for my leap into professional stand-up comedy with my first solo show “Apocalypse Meow” – a show literally about how having your “world end” is an opportunity to start a fresh, and how the Greek word “Apokalypse” actually means “Revelation” or “a greater truth is unveiled”.
Likewise the end of the other relationship 5 years later was the catalyst for embracing life as a creative nomad, and for writing and then touring “Cosmic Nomad” for 10 months around the world. But above all else the end of the 2014-2015 relationship was a clear sign that I’m on the right path with Mars One – that while I loved comedy, I’m now involved in something far bigger than myself, far bigger than my relationships, far bigger than anything else I could ever experience as an individual.
You love. You crash. You pick yourself back up and work out what you’d do different next time. You love again. You crash again, but not quite as hard. You pick yourself back up and refine your lessons from before.
Learn, rinse & repeat. Never close your heart off . Never give up.
Day 10,996 Friday 25/9/2015
There’s a strange discomfort that you still don’t belong, that a restlessness remains. It’s not a case of physical activity, because if anything your energy has been flagging too. This is a sense of being bogged down.
It’s weird knowing, or at least realising, that I still love [English Ex Girlfriend]. To feel so much just at the thought of her, or writing her name… strange to feel so strongly after so long. In [Comedian Ex Girlfriend] I’ve found someone who holds the same sway over my heart, and it still scares me. They’re both extraordinarily powerful, but over their respective years they have evolved – [English Ex Girlfriend] in 2009-2010 and [Comedian Ex Girlfriend] 2014-2015. Funny to think I would have met them around the same time of the year, in October. Remarkable to see how much happier I am on average. Sure you experience highs & lows, but compared to where you were when you first joined the marines it’s infinitely better. You have so much to be grateful for.
Hearing Noah and the Whale again has definitely brought those past good times back – good memories I’d buried under a sense of hurt and self-ity. There were plenty of good times, and you loved [English Ex Girlfriend] unconditionally. You still do – you still love [English Ex Girlfriend] unconditionally. There’s no way you could have stayed with her, and leaving will always be one of your defining moments. You had to leave – had to be strong enough to walk away from someone who hated you as strongly as she loved you. Who hated herself more than she loved you.
It’s easy to reminisce – put on a favourite old album, look at some old photos, think back to how it felt. But that’s the past. It happened, and now other stuff is happening. You were hurt by circumstances, hurt by the actions of another. Hurt by [English Ex Girlfriend]. But you have a choice on how you grow from that. You were so busy trying to distance yourself from her after giving her so many chances, giving her so much power over you, you forgot how much you’d loved each other. How much she’d loved you too. Don’t forget you hurt each other only because you loved so strongly. She’s coloured every relationship since – for better and for worse. You owe her not just for teaching you to walk away from someone you love, but for loving more strongly & with more vulnerability than ever before.