I don’t know whether I can blame a habit of listening to Christina Milian’s ode to self love ‘Say I’ too many times or if I am actually just one of those people who can be categorised as ambitious, but I have always assumed I would be successful. In what field or career this success would play out has always been irrelevant. I have never imagined the activity I will be doing to such triumph that people throw money and awards at me. It is like the blurred face of my future husband in wedding dreams; present and correct but not fully formed.
Actually, I would like to take a moment to state that I do not have any wedding dreams. I never have had and hopefully never will, even when I am really planning a future wedding that I may or may not be involved in. I find it difficult to bestow my personal respect for ‘normal women’ who fantasise about their dream day, crying when they walk by the Oxfam wedding dress sale and somehow knowing a shitload about diamonds without having ever entered a jewellers. I firmly believe that people who care that much about their wedding day have very little else in life, such as a personality or self esteem.
I really wish the media would stop telling me that I, placed in the category of ‘all women’, care about my future wedding day more than any other day, and have been caring about it since I was a young child. I would just like to clarify that I have not once put my pillow case on my head pretending it was a veil, I have never visited an old castle, looked around breathlessly and whispered “This is where I want to get married!” and have never or will never cry when in the vicinity of a women wearing a big white dress. No one should care about weddings anymore; there are much more important things in life, like Children’s Hospital on Adult Swim, Eddie Rockets home delivery and Rob Delaney’s twitter.
So I decided from a young age that I was not going to be a failure, which isn’t that unusual. No parent has ever asked their child: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” to receive the answer: “One of those overweight people you see on documentaries about extreme hoarders.” Everyone wants to be something good, especially when we are young and have years of opportunity ahead of us. But what happens when we aren’t that young any more? Most of my friends and I are facing mid-twenties and it suddenly feels to me like I am running out of time.
Lots of the people I know are now in their careers, or just at the beginnings of their path to their lifetime job, and this seemed to happen overnight. One minute I was living in Greece working in bars, my only worry being the unnerving shaking I was getting in my hands from drinking alcohol every day, and the next I am visiting my friend in London who has an office job that she hopes to move up in, a long term boyfriend and an unrecognisable sensibleness coming off her like perfume. I feel like her teenage niece with a backpack full of books, blisters on my feet from bad shoes and an unnerving sense of confusion about when all this growing up happened.
I have been quite delusional my whole life. I now accept it as one of my personality traits.
Although for years I ignored it, as any proper delusionist would. For instance, a few years ago I put on a bit of weight due to drinking my way through working summers abroad and so went to a Weight Watchers meeting. At the time I had no idea that I had actually put on weight, I was going to the meeting to accompany my friend because she always had funny stories about the leaders and I wanted to join in. While in the queue to be weighed I convinced myself that they were going to turn me down for being too light. I was deluded enough to think that I was too thin for Weight Watchers. That I was going to stand on the scale and instantly be dragged into a ambulance, which would take me to the nearest eating disorder clinic where they would beg me to put on weight as I was ‘wasting away’. So when I proudly stood on the scale and the disappointingly unamusing leader told me I was “a few pounds away from overweight” I was flabbergasted, emphasis on flab.
The main thing I have been delusional about in my life though is that I am going to ‘make it’ one day. What I am going to make hasn’t become apparent, which might be the main reason that it hasn’t been made yet, but by god I am going to succeed. The main way I would like to succeed would be the easy way. I have never imagined any really hard work being involved when paving the way to my riches. I read in a magazine on a plane to England when I was 12 that lots of model scouts hang around train stations in London to find potential stars. So of course I decided that even though I was short and not photogenic at all that I was definitely going to be spotted, and spent the family holiday striding around train stations, putting on the free lipgloss I had got in the magazine and trying to make fierce eye contact with everyone who passed by.
That’s why when I sent a radio script into a BBC competition for the first time before Christmas I was positive that this was it. My successful life was about to come true, and I just had to wait until the end of January. I spent Christmas living a sort of half life. In reality I was working ridiculous hours selling over priced clothes to ungrateful, stressed shoppers, but in my head I was going to meetings in the BBC, I was picking up awards for my latest sitcom on BBC4, I was marrying Bo Burnham (I don’t know how I met him, maybe he was hanging around at BBC studios one day, for a talkshow maybe, and then BAM).
I got punched in the gut with reality when I received an email a few days ago telling me that my script had not won. In a few sentences all my dreams were blown to pieces like an atomic bomb filled with human faeces. Maybe it is time for me to face reality and stop thinking that everything is going to be handed to me on a silver platter, Ferrero Rocher style. Maybe it is time for me to finally stop being delusional. No, I think I just haven’t been spending enough time in London train stations.
I would like to clarify for the record that I wasn’t imagining me and Bo Burnham’s wedding, like the cake or the flowers or Shania Twain singing ‘You’re Still The One’ as I walk down the aisle. In my dreams he was just automatically my husband. No wedding dreaming occurred or will ever occur. Thank you.