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Monday, 19 August 2013


It isn't, but the title might hook you in enough to see what on earth I could possibly mention alongside those wonderful things. HINT: death.


My American chum Christina is brilliant and writes about brilliant things, such as the science behind love, which is something we've chatted about. Basically, your body produces oxytocin to make you feel nice. This could be thanks to a kiss, a cuddle, a kind word...etc. But do you need to be in love with someone to feel it? I don't think so. Although a boy/girlfriend may produce such feelings on a more consistent basis, you're quite likely to feel lovely if you're around your BFF or maybe even simply thinking about someone you like. Or, quite possibly (and here's the crux of the matter) by doing something you like. Sex is the obvious 'thing', but if you get your mind out of my pants for a moment I'd like to proposition your brain with this startling revelation: I'm talking about true, unadulterated passion here. Pure enjoyment. Think about what it is YOU enjoy most, that doesn't involve physical contact with another human. Gardening? Walks in the country? There's no right or wrong answer. Mine, to no one's surprise, is WRITING. Writing stories, writing music...as long as I'm creating, I'm happy as a pig in poop.

Now, here's the thing. I'm sure pretty much everyone on the face of the planet is enamored with the idea of success. I like people saying nice things about my stories, and at the moment I'm pushing my music, and getting some nice things said about this, too. Praise is ace. Praise might as well be the street name for oxytocin. But I've been giving a lot of thought to what I love, lately. A LOT of thought, and the upshot is that I can do what I love, what gives me pleasure and the warm fuzzies, anywhere. Literally anywhere. I could write on the moon if I had a spacesuit. And a rocket. Or very tightly-coiled trampoline to bounce on. This has proven to be an extremely liberating thought.

I was in a serious relationship a few years ago, back when I was, frankly, directionless. I had my love of music, was in a few bands, had started writing stories, but had a severe lack of focus. I was with an attractive lass, so was getting my fix of oxytocin, but there was something missing. I'm still reluctant to qualify it as 'happiness' as a) I'm always happy - there's no point wasting energy being grumpy, and b) I'm sure I was happy, since I was doing the things I loved. But there was no success. I wasn't successful at anything I was doing. The bands were enjoyable but we were hardly selling out gigs. I'd lost my job and was being forced (sorry, but I was) into taking some godawful office job (I cannot think of anything more soul-destroying for a creative than to be stuck behind a desk). Turns out I wasn't actually that good at being a boyfriend, either (I didn't do anything shady, just took certain things for granted, I think). Anyway, it all fell apart and I came back home (as mentioned in my previous post).

This is the scene that greeted me upon my return to Scunthorpe.
I'd said, many many many times, to my girlfriend that coming back to Scunthorpe would be a "career kiss of death" as there's nothing here for someone like me. I was, of course, hilariously wrong. I now work in an art gallery, and on a daily basis engage with kids to make things. It is excellent. I also run an arts event/workshop business with my BFF. Which brings me back to the start, and the idea that you don't necessarily have to be sleeping with a person to get that sweet, sweet taste of oxytocin. We've (my bestie and I) often talked about how it's deeply ironic we both came back to Scunthorpe under similar circumstances, and with the firm belief that there's nothing here for us. She's like a little sister to me, and has been a defining presence in my recent past, basically as an extremely strong force of support, about a great many things. I could easily, and happily, write a million words about why she's ace, about why many of my friends are top people, but that's implied by the fact they're my friends, so I'll comfortably move on ;)

So I have now found success. Success is liberating. Success tells you that, now you've achieved something, you can achieve anything. If there's a will, there's a way. If you have a clear intention to accomplish something, then by god you'll do it. The biggest barrier to success is your own mind, if you'll forgive me for sounding like a life coach. My parents have taught me many things, but the best advice they've ever given me is "Give anything a go". Don't be scared of failure; embrace it and learn from it.

What's so liberating about realising, truly realising, that I can do what I love anywhere? The answer's in the question. I can go anywhere. I'm no longer tied to one location. If I can start my own business out of thin air then I can feasibly do the same thing again and again, anywhere there's a potential niche. Or find a niche and exploit it, like any good business haha I no longer feel the need to stay still. I'm partly inspired by my younger brother moving back to Australia and getting the life he's always deserved, partly by meeting awesome people like Christina who travel loads, or consciously make plans they fully intend to follow through on, partly by the cold hard fact that things have to change. I do not like change, and don't always handle it very well, but I accept it's a part of life. What we can do is shape that change to suit our needs, and in this respect I'd like to shape change to get more delicious oxytocin. I'm just not sure yet how...The future is yet unwritten. It is what we say it is. With any luck :)

And so you know I wasn't lying about this blog post also involving death:

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