Not literally, it’s not that kind of story… but figuratively.
It was 2010, and I realised up to that point I’d never really done much. In fact, I’d done all I needed to do to get by.
School, college, work, life. All of it. The bare minimum. Never more, never less.
There was something missing and I wasn’t sure what it was, but all around me I saw people happy, excited, in love with life, and doing all sorts of things.
I didn’t have that. I didn’t feel that.
In fact, when I looked back, the only time I remembered feeling “lit up” in the way I saw other people, was one random day at college when I hung back during my break to chat to Simon, my English Lit tutor, discussing the themes of Othello and how they could be interpreted now and how they may have been interpreted when the play was first written #BookNerd
I don’t remember ever feeling the need to strive for excellence at school, even when teachers would encourage and tell me how much potential I had.
“Debbie has so much potential, if only she’d put in a little more effort” Every school report, by every teacher ever. I did what I needed to do to get by and move onto the next thing.
I didn’t suck at it, for the most part, I was a straight A student (except for PE, I hated PE), or at least I had the potential to be.
By the time I got to college I wasn’t bothered anymore. I questioned why I was even there… was it because it was good for me? Was it the best path for me? Was it how I would tap into all that “potential” everyone talked about? Or was it because it was expected of me, and formal education was all I knew?
I questioned it until I dropped out after the first year.
I took summer off, didn’t even tell my Mum I’d quit. Took on a few extra hours at my part-time job at the local supermarket, before finding another job.
I worked in a small showroom selling kitchens and bathrooms. It was OK, but it was quiet so I never had much to do except make cups of tea, answer the odd phone call, and browse industry magazines.
I lasted less than a year there because I was bored out of my mind, as much as my love for all things interiors & homes lit me up (long time Grand Designs and anything home related junkie here)
I got another job based on what I figured I’d be good at: admin.
That lasted a few years until I had my daughter.
Same shit, different day.
Go to work, talk to people, sign papers, fill in spreadsheets, email a few people, go home, repeat. It was boring, and I didn’t get much out of it, but I could do it, and I got paid.
What more does someone need in life?
That’s the plan, right? Born, grow, school, college etc, work, retire, die…
I left that job for a better paid one. I was still doing the same thing, but now I was travelling 60 miles a day instead of 3.
It’s what you do…
Get up, go to work, talk to people, sign paperwork, answer emails, take phone calls, go home, repeat. All for a paycheck.
Until you don’t. Until the day you nearly crash your (tiny) car into the side of a truck on the motorway because you zone out and don’t notice a huge truck at the side of you as the lanes merge. Until you take yourself to the doctors and he tells you you have stress-related insomnia and despite going to bed, you’re still not sleeping. Then for him to tell you you’re clinically depressed at an alarming level.
So you take the sick note to work, you have some time out to figure it out. You take the pills, try to keep up appearances that everything’s OK.
Then you take yourself to sit in the old quarry at the top of the hill.
This isn’t right.
I was doing everything I should, yeah I dropped out of college, but I went into full-time work. I got up, dropped my little one at nursery, went to work, did all the things I needed to, went home. Repeat.
But I had nothing, and I felt even less. In fact, I felt like shit.
All day, every day.
And now? Clinically depressed and needing to load up on pills to sleep and even more to get through the day? That shit’s not right.
Maybe everyone was wrong.
Maybe I’m not cut out for this.
Maybe that “potential” thing was just bullshit.
Maybe I’m not good for anything.
Maybe my baby deserves more.
Maybe I just need to go and not come back…
That thought crossed my mind, but where would I go? And would anything be any better? Maybe there’s only one way out from all of this.
It will be OK. My family will raise the little one, they’ll figure it out, she’ll have a great childhood like I did. She won’t miss me for too long, and she’ll be OK. She’ll realise it was for the best. They all will.
I can’t just move, maybe they’ll find me.
Maybe I’ll decide to come back one day and fuck up whatever good thing they’ve got going on.
Maybe I’ll just make things worse.
What if I go and this feeling follows me? This “nothingness” that I’ve got going on.
You can’t leave behind what’s inside you.
I laid back on a rock, closed my eyes and let my existence pale into nothing.
I switched off my thoughts, allowed silence. I switched off the emotions to feel nothing. In that moment I decided that the only answer was to stay in that state.
Just let go of all the potential, all the expectation, all the hopes and dreams that I’d built up in the 23 years to that point.
That house? Not gonna happen
That career? Not likely.
That life? It’s a lie.
This is you, this is where you are, and this is what you’ve got.
Take it or leave it.
I wanted so badly to leave it, but didn’t know how. So I gave up.
It was the rain (that kind that drenches you through in 3 seconds flat) that got me off that rock.
It was a voicemail from my then 2 year old “Mummy, where are you? Come home for dinner. Why aren’t you talking to me?! Oh, Mummy…” that got my ass home.
On the 5 minute drive from where I was to where she was that I decided that enough was enough, I was going to work with what I had.
I didn’t have a job right now, they’d just terminated my contract… OK.
That’s a chance to start again.
I had time to figure out this “Mum” thing, cos that’s all alien.
I had time to figure out what I could do to keep going.
I could find out what made me happy where I was.
I left the hopes and dreams with the rain, at the bottom of that quarry.
I let that Debbie die.
The one with promises of “potential”
The one who wanted the lot apartment in the city, and the fancy car, had an amazing career and everything she could ever dream of…
She died that day in the quarry.
I didn’t feel like I deserved her anymore and she needed to be let free.
But now, 10 years later she haunts me.
In honesty, she always has.
But now she’s back as some kind of vengeful spirit from my past ready to kick my ass into gear for ever thinking I would ever get anywhere, or thinking for one minute (never mind nearly 10 years) that I would be OK without her.
She’s pissed that I took her for granted, and while she’s been gone, she’s learned a few things;
That “potential” means nothing if you don’t apply yourself. The teachers were right, but they were pointing in the wrong direction.
That “letting go” has nothing to do with giving up, it’s about releasing things that don’t align with where you want to go.
That “making do” is never going to bring any level of fulfilment or enjoyment to your life. It’s boring as all hell and depressing as fuck. Let’s not do that.
Oh, and that loft apartment? It’s not big enough. Not now there’s a family, that shit needs upgrading to a beautiful home, and maybe the loft can be a getaway.
And while we’re on that subject… cars are good for convenience, but why the hell would you not want to sit your ass in anything less than a beautiful ride? Even convenience deserves to be comfortable.
So, that day back in 2010 when I died in the quarry?
That was a no good, very bad day, and now it’s time for a resurrection.
It’s time to bring back the hopes and dreams.
But the idea that hoping and settling was ever a good option? That shit can die. It can go take its place in the quarry.
Hoping and settling never works out well.
Or at least not as well as it could if you were to hold onto those hopes and dreams, then figure out the way to make them a reality.
And that’s sure as shit not gonna happen by following someone else’s way, or “settling” for what you’ve got. What you’ve always known.
Oh, and as for all those school reports? They were right… potential does require effort, jut not in the way I believed they meant. And not in the way they taught.
It requires effort to stand up for what you want, to get what you want how you want.
It’s not easy, but it will sure as hell be worth it in the end.
Now it’s time to put my teachers words into practice… You coming?
I get it. We’ve all been there, so let’s sort this shit out
It sucks, right?
That shitty low feeling where you just feel down, deflated, pissed off with the world for no reason, and you’ve just had enough.
You’re not particularly angry, or sad, or maybe you are, maybe you’re just feeling “ugh!” (yes, that’s a real feeling) that kinda nothingness where you know something’s up, but you’re not quite sure what.
Well, how about we get right in there and sort that shit out?
This is my personal 5-Step Reset that I go through to get me from Feelin’ Like Shit to Rockin’ It!
I’m not saying it’ll be fun n easy, there’s no magic cure, but this works, every time.
I come back to this all the time, and I’ve shared it with my closest friends when they’re having a shitty day (or a week, or month, or however long) and it works for them too…
So how about it, are you done feelin’ like shit? Are you ready? Let’s go
Drop your details into the form, and I’m gonna send you over a quick audio that talks you through the 5 steps I take, that are going to help you go from
Feelin’ Like Shit to Rockin’ It!