On the weekend I had the worst surf. I paddled out weighed down with shame about my life: I’d been in talks with my ex, my business wasn’t running well and my colon was spastic. Usually during a surf I feel lighter. But it just wasn’t happening. Graham sensed it, ‘Shit dude if a surf can’t clear your mind you’re fucked’. Two weeks ago I got face but this weekend I wasn’t even paddling hard enough to catch the wave in the first place. I felt too self conscious. Like everyone was judging me. A familiar feeling.
Last week in a moment of weakness or strength I outed myself as a blogger to some surfers I used to go to highschool with. I find it paralysing that I still give a shit what some guy I blew in highschool thinks of my life now but I do. I considered not writing this blog because on paper it appears that I fucked up. I am the A grade student who is now past thirty and washes dishes two days a week. Last night I watched the Breakfast Club and felt like I’m what the principal is talking about when he is hanging shit on Judd Nelson’s character and predicting that five years out of highschool he will be nothing but a bum. Admittedly I’m going through a break up and I think that it is normal during a break up to question EVERYTHING and to have a skewed perspective where nothing you have achieved amounts to shit. Yes I have been a bit of an underachiever but I have also done some rad things.
I think I put the people I went to school with into the category of ‘good people’ and myself into ‘bad people’. In my version everyone in WA is laying on the couch watching the Eagles game with their perfect family units eating toasted sandwiches. It rarely occurs to me that these people are three dimensional and that they might have their share of troubles. I rarely think about how every family has skeletons in the closet, xanax in the bathroom cabinet and a black dog dragging its ass along the carpet. And meanwhile I’m on the couch watching the St Kilda game with my friends who are my family eating toasted sandwiches!
I feel profoundly ashamed of how I’ve been at times in my life. After highschool when it seemed like everyone else was getting their shit together and getting jobs for Blue Sky Mining I went through a few years of fucking everything up. Choosing the wrong guy. Waking up with fingerprint ink on my hands. Losing my license for drink driving. Telling lies to my friends. Stealing. Dropping out of uni to work in cafes for sociopaths with a penchant for the colour peach. Diagnosed with manic depression. A few years of anti depressants. I half found my feet living with two painters in Fremantle because I began to be a writer but I still fucked up and lost friendships and didn’t have the courage to publish. I felt hemmed in by the conservative place that I’d come from and so I moved to Melbourne to study writing.
Last week drunk on cider I joined my highschool facebook page and posted a photo of Ben Cousins flipping the bird on the wall. A few hours later I looked at the wall and read other people’s posts and they seemed so different to my life. I felt like everyone I went to school with is married with kids with good jobs and excellent dental hygiene. And here I am. Anaemic. Building a business but feeling like a phony. Financially fucked. Brutally in love with my ex. And writing a blog about surfing when I couldn’t even catch a wave on Saturday.
Who am I? What have I learned in life? To never under any circumstances eat the complimentary peanuts at the bar!
Last week after I fessed up to class of 95 about the existence of my surfing blog I looked at it at 4am and felt shame run cold down my spine like the epidural all of their well adjusted wifey’s are getting as they give birth to the dream. But now more than ever, sitting here with my good fortune cat I must write to train myself to not care what other people think. I surf better when I don’t care who is watching.