A Havoc Life
I suffer from chronically high expectations of life; I long for everything to be noteworthy and significant. Throughout my teenage years and into my early twenties I had dangerously long to-do lists and really thought I could build Rome in a day. Turns out you can’t. Things got to much and everything crashed into chaos. At the root of it all was this feeling that I wasn’t enough.
Now, I’ve always had an alter-ego: a better version of myself. She lives in my head, wears perfectly tailored red trousers, is thin, gorgeous, clever, gentle, holy, desired by men, loved by women, successful in her job, owns a beautiful apartment and has a subscription to improving magazines. Being myself, as I am right now (messy, slightly squidgy, over-excitable, occasionally needy, terrible PMT) has never been enough.
As an overweight teenager, with glasses and terrible hair, who loved to read, question and talk, I was often made to feel ridiculous. I felt my ugliest at church meetings. I stressed about clothes far more during christian conferences than I did going to auditions. I felt ‘on show’ to all the men at these places. I felt desperate because I was made to feel desperate by a church culture that is not really doing enough for young women. I believed that if no one wanted to marry me, I had failed at being a christian woman. I still kinda believe this now. It’s a lie. When my long term relationship broke down, when I didn’t get married when everyone expected me to, I felt so much shame. I stood as Maid of Honour at my best friend’s wedding and I felt like a fat, invisible blob. It didn’t matter that I was smart, that I had been accepted into drama school, that I was slowly overcoming mental illness, that I was still clinging onto my faith in spite of all the obstacles. What mattered was my body and my marital status. I started to despise christian environments. I hated it. I hated feeling like I wasn’t attractive enough, that I was too passionate, too ambitious, too squidgy for any of these christian men to take an interest in me.
The thing is, I was missing the point. Being a christian isn’t about getting married, having children and living in a lovely house in the suburbs with savings (though I hear it’s great) It’s about taking up your cross and following Christ. It means venturing into the darkness holding a light. When I finally dismantled the cultural expectations of Christianity, I found true faith, I found a friend, a guide, a constant companion. Jesus is the most extraordinary feminist and the most loving radical. Deep down that’s who I want to be: someone who brings radical, life-giving love and joy to those who need it. All those expectations I heaped onto my poor little skeleton were ultimately meaningless. I still don’t have red trousers but I do have a more manageable to-do list, some pretty fabulous friendships and the opportunity to make money doing the thing I love.
I believe that God has called me into this industry to bring joy and real joy needs a context. The beauty of a painting is found in the contours, the excitement of a play comes from it’s drama, we dance to music because the bass line compels us. In the same way, our chaos is what fuels us in our praise and our joy. I hope to make work and live a life that will help people realise that they carry the image of God and that their chaos is precious and not something to be ashamed of.