To those who know me well, it won’t exactly be news to read this. They’ve heard it all before. They even love me for it. However, for those who don’t, here it is.
I, Clare, don’t fit in. Anywhere. Never have done; never will. The only place where I feel remotely at home is with other people equally as estranged as myself. Even then as some kind of group gradually forms, I never fully feel part of it.
Welcome to the human race, I hear you cry.
I’ve tried on various identities throughout my life (as though they were ill-fitting raincoats or top hats). And I spent the first twenty years of my life feeling lost as to what my identity might even be. It was only when I became Buddhist that I began ‘exploring’ different sides of myself. I ditched my long black skirts for sky-blue dresses stitched with swirls (gazing at them helped me slip into blissful, meditative states). I went on the road with like-minded people. I experimented with ‘open relationships’ (placing values of ‘freedom’ and ‘letting go’ above the humiliation of having to smile at parties like someone had just stuck a fork up my arse as my beloved seduced some hippy dippy chick with perfect tits.) I saw Buddha nature in everyone. Made 'spiritual' friends. 'Found’ myself. Lost myself. Found myself again. Then I realised - I still don’t sodding fit in.
So I left and became ‘an artist’ - a writer. Maker of music. Poetry scribe. I kept going with the fucked up relationships but moved into a flat on my own where I no longer had to put up with people’s rows about veggie sausages or Tantra or why one person had 'inadvertently’ shagged the other's boyfriend. I shut my door - the world and Enlightenment could fuck right off.
It’s a shame about loneliness. And it’s a shame that being ‘an artist’ brings with it all the same bullshit everything else does. I replaced a genuinely deluded idea that I could escape the pain of being alive by getting Enlightened with a genuinely deluded idea that I could transform that pain into great stories and poems that would bring me a purpose in life (and an income). That I’d fit in somewhere – into the world of books and writers. Hey, I’d make songs and maybe I’d become some kind of pop diva (even if my songs were about sticking ex-friends in freezers, burning down cities ,and ‘deep-throating’ large mulberries). I’d find my place – not in renouncing the world, but in reclaiming it for my very, freaky own.
Oh dear. I spent five years filing my poems away, writing a blog read by approximately 3.5 people and performing, ooh, at least twice. So then I decided on something else. This time I wasn’t going to shy away from the very thing I’d kept at least half-shoved in the closet most of my life.