It always confuses me when I realize someone is envious. Why would anyone envy this? I wake up and I work and I feel the crushing weight of not being able to stop and it’s lonely and it’s relentless and just as I think I might be getting the boulder to the top of the mountain, I find myself once again right back at the beginning. And I think, how did I get here? How do I escape? And I realize that the only way I know to to get away from runaway trains is to close my eyes and jump, that I haven’t ever, even once, been able to stop the train, to slow it down, to get it to change tracks. And yet when I jump, I land on a train going even faster and even more out of control.
So, I think, how could someone envy me, who mixes metaphors with boulders and trains and mountains but it’s only because I get no sleep. I sit here. And I look at this screen. And I watch the demands roll in and I know I can’t satisfy them all. But I keep trying. I keep trying.
But my life is full of wonderful things too. And I know that. And I know that’s what people are seeing. Because it not only gets tedious for others when I recount my woes, my trains, my boulders. It gets tedious for me. Sometimes it’s easier to downplay that part.
So when someone both tells me that they feel they should be as famous as me (as though I am famous at all) because they have just as much skill and talent and whatever it is that this supposed fame is from, but then in the same breath tell me that they could never travel like I do and when I invite them to speak at an event I’m organizing, they turn it down. Too much travel. When I hear both of these things, said at once, I don’t know whether to smile or cry. Because I’m tired.
I say that if you don’t like to travel, then choosing not to is the right choice. Even if it means less “fame”. Because it will mean that. The crowds can’t know you if they don’t see you. But what difference does it make? How does a few hundred, a few thousand people having heard your name before change anything about your life? Make you happier? Give you more time?
I was having a drink with a friend a few days ago, which I was able to justify (oh the time having drinks takes away from sitting here and looking at this screen) only because he was also interviewing me for a book he’s writing. He told me that a few weeks ago, his wife’s 24-year old brother died in a motorcycle accident. One day here was there, and then he wasn’t. And you know, that could happen to anyone. Anytime.
A bit later, as part of the book interview, he asked me about being a role model for women. Every time someone tells me I’m a role model, I panic. I’m flooded with dread. Because to build your career like I have, you sit here. You look at this screen. And it’s 3am and it’s 7am and it’s 11pm. It’s Sunday. It’s your birthday. It’s Christmas. And you sit here. And your friends text you and invite you to a party. And you sit here. And you’re trapped.
And then you board a plane and another plane and another plane. And you’re tired.
I can’t even fathom how someone who wants more than this — a husband, a family, a dog — could even attempt it.
That’s not the answer I gave him though. I’ve had a lot of media training. I’m good at spin. But not here.