“Life is a script of your own writing”
I have this tattooed on my shoulder. I had it done back in 2010 when I was going through a really rough time. I’d been suffering from depression, and a friend said it during a conversation about life.
On a particularly bad day, I ended up going for a drive.
I was trying to run away from my life but didn’t know where I was going. I ended up sat at an old quarry to clear my head when those words started circling through my mind. It was the wake-up call that I needed. It’s true… my life is a script of my own writing.
Then I saw a local tattooist had a cancellation, so, without too much thought, I walked in and had that quote tattooed on my shoulder where I see it every day.
I had a choice to make
My life wasn’t how I’d planned it.
I was a single mum, I’d just lost my job (with a little help from stress-related insomnia and depression) and my life was quickly spiralling downwards. I felt more and more helpless every day.
Nothing I did was good enough. Even good moments in my life made me miserable because I always thought ahead to when that moment would be over, or what I wasn’t doing, what I ‘should’ be doing.
How I wasn’t providing for my little one and all the things I couldn’t do now because of x, y or z.
How I’d managed to royally fuck up my life, one move at a time. But I hadn’t. I hadn’t chosen to fuck up my life. It was purely my lack of decision making that had led me to be in the situation I was in.
I’d let external situations control my life
“Can you do me a favour…”
“While you’re not busy…”
“When you’ve got a minute, could you just…”
These are all simple phrases that don’t mean any harm, but if you oblige too often, they put other people’s lives ahead of your own. Because I wasn’t at work, I was seen as not being busy. Do you know how dangerous that was to my life? I was still a mum, I had my mental health to look after, a job to find, a decision to make about where my future was heading, a home to look after, a hundred other things, but instead I was putting everyone else’s needs and wants before my own more and more often.
It was easier to ignore what I needed for myself.
Having these distractions are all well and good, they helped me bury my head and ignore what I needed to do, but that didn’t help. It just made things worse. Before I knew it I’d been unemployed 6 months, all of the job applications I’d sent had come back as rejections. I was even more miserable, feeling worse about myself every day.
The tattoo acted as a reminder. I stopped doing what was expected and made a list of all the things I really wanted to do for myself. I decided to revisit things I loved. Things I’d been ignoring for too long because I’d been told they weren’t ‘sensible’ and wouldn’t get me anywhere as an adult.
I stopped looking for permission.
If I were going to make my life one that I truly loved I needed to follow my instincts. Stop looking for permission to do what I wanted and to get on with it.
Things started to change.
As soon as I started following my own path, not the ones laid out by others, my life started improving. My depression lifted. I felt less stressed, I was sleeping better… bye insomnia!
I told my GP I wanted to stop taking the antidepressants, and the sleeping pills. He agreed to let me do it the way I wanted to.
I went back to college and university, started the degree I’d wanted to do for 10 years, but always put off because ‘it wasn’t the right time.’
I cut up the credit cards that had been acting as a crutch and safety net and started spending money I actually had on the things that I really wanted in a way that made sense to me.
Slowly, it started to work, until it didn’t…
Now it seems crazy that after living that way for the time I did that I’d fall back into old habits of letting other peoples needs take precedence over my own, but that’s what I did.
The better I felt within myself, and the more control I felt I had over my life, the more I started doing for others, the more favours I did “when I had a minute” the better I got at managing my time, the more I gave away to others… adding the pressure back onto myself.
I relapsed from the progress I’d made. Life started to crumble.
But this time I had a ‘toolkit’ to turn to
I’d learned that doing the ‘prescribed’ didn’t work for me, so I went back to doing things my own way I started a business instead of getting a job I take advice, then run with it in my own way… it works for me.
I learned to take advice, but trust my instincts.
Better than that, I learned how to find other people who think like I do instead of trying to change the way I think to match how other people do. It makes all the difference when you’re trying to live your own life, not the life of other people.
We’re all incredible human beings who are here to leave our own mark on the world in our own distinct ways. If we all waited for permission, there would never have been a Sir Richard Branson or Steve Jobs. Elon Musk wouldn’t be delving into space exploration… so many wonderful things in this world happened because someone went against the grain, didn’t listen to everyone else around them, and STOPPED waiting for permission to do something that they wanted to do.
Rules are meant to be bent and broken… especially when those ‘rules’ are ones that hold you deep inside an enclosed box, dampening your drive, enthusiasm and curiosity. Trust your instincts. Use them wisely.
Is there something you’ve been holding off doing because people wouldn’t understand? What is it?
How can you take the first step towards doing it? GO!