More Backstory: I’m Told “I’d Better Have A Baby.”
Didn't see that one coming.
Okay, so in my last post about my backstory, we left off with me struggling to overcome the icy depression I’d fallen into when the creative life I’d planned for myself fell apart.
What happened next?
I was told I’d better have a baby.
I’d started eating green things by this point.
I certainly hadn’t given up sugar or crying, but since they were the prime suspects in the mystery of my vanishing periods I tried to dial them back.
I was still low and struggling to sleep but my family and Anthony got me through it. I remember him making us a strange dinner in which he mixed spaghetti into salad. He must’ve really wanted me to eat that lettuce.
I got a weekend job at a museum gift shop which, despite the manager’s habit of playing the same three punk songs on repeat, made me remember how much I loved working in shops.
Walking the couple of miles to work helped me feel stronger and calmer, and one time I found a confused, barefoot old man who’d wandered two miles away from his hospital in his pyjamas. When I went back with him, it wasn’t entirely clear whether anyone had noticed he was missing.
And I had acupuncture every couple of weeks in an attempt to kickstart my cycle. My therapist, who looked like he’d seen some things in the seventies, was called Satyavadita. In addition to sticking needles into me, he generously made time to listen to me moan.
One day, our conversation went something like this:
Me: I’m so pathetic. The thought of calling my agent makes me physically ill. I’ll never work again.
Satyavadita: Well, you can feel that way if you want, but you’re lying to yourself because your life force is strong.
Me: It really doesn’t feel like that. It completely feels like I’m a hopeless, pathetic disaster.
Satyavadita: How it feels and how it is are not the same thing. I think you should seriously consider having a baby in the near future.
Satyavadita: With your type of constitutional energy, I strongly recommend it. If you don’t, it may not be possible later.
Me, on the bus home: WTF?
Me, to Anthony: WT actual F?
Me, staring into the darkness at 3am: WTF!
That night, I experienced a moment of wild, magical rage. How dare he say I’d better have a baby! How dare he give me orders!
I was broke and kind of broken. Caring for an eggcupful of sea monkeys would’ve stretched my resources to the limit, let alone a child.
Plus, that was none of his business! Plus my periods had stopped!
Why did he think he could tell me what to do?
Then I came to an embarrassing realisation.
I was desperate for someone to tell me what to do.
Deep down, I wanted someone else, someone infinitely more qualified than me, to make my life unfold.
Someone who wouldn’t make mistakes or feel uncertain.
Someone who knew how to do practical things, like firing my agent.
Someone who wasn’t self-conscious and scared.
In the meantime I was just waiting, acting as though I wasn’t allowed, somehow, to even try.
I owe a lot to Satyavadita because he lit a fire under me.
Wobbily, in our cold kitchen, draped in a blanky covered in ducks, I swore that from now on no-one is more of an expert in my life than me.
I could learn from others and I could ask for help, but I’d be the one I was waiting for. I’d rescued that old chap in his pyjamas. Now I had to rescue myself.
I’d make money. I’d live the gorgeous, free-wheeling, creative life I wanted. And I’d help other artists do those things too.
So what happened next?
I got royally screwed over by a marketing professional. As she was enthusiastically bad-mouthing me on Twitter, I thought:
I’ll tell you all about it next time.
PS – Five days later, my periods came back.
Hello, I'm Clare Holliday. I'm a shopkeeper who's helped thousands of creative people sell their work to stores, galleries and regular customers all over the world. Now it's your turn.