This was my day: Get up at 8.30 am, do my morning routine, collect two sets of clothes to change that I ironed last night, get in the car and drive to the set of the filming crew to do my little part as an extra, this time with one line of text and playing right opposite the main actors of a docu soap TV series that has been running for … I don’t even know. Most of the time, I don’t know the productions that I get cast for, but try to get an idea when I receive the briefing.
So I get there well on time, I meet the crew and the main actors (everyone is really nice!), we do a little rehearsal, we wait some more, we rehearse in front of the camera, we shoot the scene – and I blow it. We do it again after receiving another briefing – and I blow it. The main actors and the entire crew remain nice and calm, I keep apologizing, we do it again. This time the director seems more pleased, he talks to the main actors this time. Back to square 1, cameras roll, we shoot a.s.o. a.s.f. After about four or five takes it’s a wrap and you can’t imagine the amount of relief I’m feeling! I mean, the thing that stands out for me was the kindness and professionalism that the entire crew displayed – not just with me, but everyone on set. That in itsself was worth the experience, not to mention making a small amount of spending money.
So we’re done early (about three hours earlier than what the briefing said), I have some spare time, I call a friend who lives nearby, we get together over coffee and music and a chat, I buy a bottle of champagne for another friend who kindly invited me to her birthday bash later that day. Some time later I get there, say Happy Birthday, give her the champagne and a small something which stands in for another small gift that I sent her later and people come flocking in. She’s actually the same friend I’ve spent that beautiful spring day with a week ago and just like on that day, all her friends that I meet or see again are real nice people, warm-hearted with good spirits, most of them being artists or working a job in social care. I chat here, I chat there, I help myself to the absolutely crazy-delicious food that she and her room mates and family cooked, I afford myself a few shots of prosecco, the party keeps rolling and I feel like a human being again. It’s near perfect. And then…
In the midst of all the hoopla and casual conversations it hits me: This is the life everyone’s been living! Forever. Bonding. Feeling and being connected. Friendships. Family. Knowing what’s going on in the lives of others. Sharing, caring, communicating. Being human. This is what life is all about! There is nothing else! (or nothing more important, I’d say) And what have I been doing all that time? I stood on the sidelines for the most part, if not right out being all isolated for long periods of time. The outcast, the odd ball. Then I found a band in my teen years until High School graduation. So I was that: The musician (which I’m actually not, not by nature anyway. I think, I’m rather an introvert and a bit of a nerd whose nerdiness happens to settle on music or something like that. The talent some people see in me is a mere coincidence – or so it feels today. I remember times that I used to be religious about music, practicing at least an hour every day, most of the times more than that, learning the instrumental parts of songs I’d probably never get to perform live, memorizing the lyrics, the liner notes including all the musicians who had performed on any given track, the producers, composers, the label… – but those days seem so far gone, I can’t even seem to access that feeling anymore. Anyway. Things change, people change, priorities change, passion comes and – maybe goes, too. Who knows. Whatever. I did my best with what I got. Always. This I can safely vouch and stand for at any moment of any day!).
There were times I’d be jealous. Crazy mad with jealousy and from infinite amounts of pain getting triggered at the sight of all that innocent, casual banter. Why the fuck can’t I have what seems so readily available to everyone else? What the hell have I ever done to anyone to be pushed to the outer rims – and beyond those – of everything that makes life worthwhile to begin with (i.e. human connection)? What atrocity have I committed to be cursed like this? And: WHY CAN’T I EVER FEEL WHAT EVERYONE ELSE SEEMS TO FEEL? In other words: Why can’t I just … really resonate with all that? (On a side note: When cueing up at the cash register in a nearby supermarket after the filming, a young mother with two kids waits behind me. Her sweet kids keep putting items on the conveyor belt with such sobriety you can’t help but smile, while “mommy bear” comments on their actions with reassuring remarks like “well done!”, “good job!” I wanted to cry for pain… Shit like this still stabs me right in the heart)
Today, of course I know why that is (I have had single as well as multiple and then also extended trauma happen to me from early infancy right into adulthood and beyond). But before I knew, I sort of extrapolated from watching other people and somehow extracting from their behaviors and interactions, what is “normal” and socially acceptable and what is not. And so I figured out how to function in such a way that I thought I wouldn’t stand out too far (today I also know that I was deceiving myself with that assumption, but I think I can say with confidence that I’ve always done my best with what I got, but that “best” unfortunately still missed the mark of that place, where everyone else lives. That “place” might be summed up by terms like e.g. “serenity” or “safety” as opposed to “scanning the environment for threats”, being apprehensive or overactive, hyperaroused etc. etc.).
So, there’s that: I’m sort of enjoying myself the best way I know (and I’m really, really grateful and honored that I got invited to that B-day bash), probably – and with no intention of bragging or flattering myself – even coming close to that “social butterfly” phenomenon here and there and then still landing flat on my tummy in the midst of it all…. I’m here but at the same time I’m still lightyears away from everyone else – or so it feels. And the experiences that knocked me wayyyyy out of “their” ballpark, none of which were of my own doing or choosing, apparently were too extreme to ever let me “come back” or rather: come to that place that others never had to question or second-guess.
So I still crave …. their life, their joys, their excitements, their triumphs, their failures, even their mundane things, their normalcy, their – “bubble” for lack of a better word. I still crave all that as the “sensations” of my own life seem to be so far out of bounds of everything that most other people care about that I wonder whether there ever was such a thing for me as – healing. Or “coming back”, coming – home, actually.