A Little Bit About Me
When I was about 15 years old, I had a very vivid picture of who I would be ten years down the line. In my mind, I smugly envisioned living in a ten-bedroom mansion with servants, butlers and cooks at my command due to being an extremely rich and successful author; I indulged in regular fantasies about attending book signings with queues five miles long, fans including old playground bullies that I could now gloat in the faces of (they, according to me, would be flipping burgers for the rest of their lives, much to my pleasure.) I imagined sailing on yachts, taking long, lazy holidays in the Carribean and beyond, feasting on the finest delicacies and, all in all, having my every whim catered to.
Of course, this desirable fantasy soon came crashing down when I discovered that the reality of life was absolutely nothing like I had imagined. Ten years down the line, at the age of 25, I am hardly sipping champagne and eating strawberries and cream served to me by a faithful servant, nor am I basking in the joys of being a successful author. Instead, I am the servant, earning per week the equivalent of what that fancy bottle of champagne would cost. The only joys I have experienced have been the numerous rejection letters/emails I have received from agents and publishers, who have politely informed me that my work is not what they are looking for. One miserable rejection after another, the only thing that keeps me going is the faith that one day this dream shall be achieved (plus several instances using Google to inform me of the amount of times published writers were rejected in the past; I have found this is a wonderful remedy to sooth a wounded ego.)
For the past seven years, I have found myself in a multitude of jobs, very few of which have provided me with any sense of worth as a human being. I am quite sure that a well constructed computer would be able to deal with the incredibly mind-numbing, soul-destroying roles that I have found myself in. For example, working in customer service for a well-known cinema chain and dealing on a daily basis with people who actually took the time out of their clearly dreary existences to write 700 word emails on how their hot dogs were inches shorter than they had expected or how there was nattering from customers in the background, (why don’t you simply tell them to be quiet at the time, rather than whine about it afterwards when it is too late?) is enough to crush even the most resilient of souls. Day in, day out it was the same routine, having to display the same ‘sympathy’ for people who wanted to have a gripe and moan about trivialities that mean absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. I started to question my very existence. Surely this isn’t what life is all about? Being a slave to the system, a Samaritan to complaining nobodies and putting on a fake grin everyday, as though it was the greatest pleasure and ambition to be yelled at by a customer who was shortchanged 50p by a staff member at the cinema who cannot speak English. But yes, unfortunately that is exactly what it is all about. Because each soul-wrecking role has revolved around money, the heart of survival, whether I like it or not. Another position that swirled in darkness was working in a busy law firm. With all due respect to solicitors, who do indeed work extremely hard, they are some of the most stressed, high-strung people I have ever encountered; I’m sure that most of them will end up suffering with high blood pressure at some point. On one occasion, I informed one of the solicitors that the client file he had asked me to search for was currently in the hands of a sister branch. The transformation that occurred was petrifying; he swelled to the size of a helium balloon, his face enraged, red and bloated, and then screamed a load of incomprehensible words as he released his steam. And all it would have taken was a simple phone call.
I am sure that those much older and wiser than me reading this will chuckle at my seemingly defeated attitude and advise me that the time will come where it all pays off. And I do not doubt them. For now, though, I will have to grin and bear it, for that is all that can be done – oh, and persevere.