If you think that you have just one life, think again. There's the life you think you have, the life others think you have and the life you really have- three lives!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

My Three Lives

Tonight I want to write about my three lives- the life everyone thinks I have, the life I think I have and the life I really have.- three lives.

Life 1- The life everyone thinks I have
This is my public life. A life where I am competent, diligent, professional, passionate, intolerant of incompetence and stupidity, prone to outbursts if work is not done properly, happy go lucky, committed to a cause. The life that people see at work, at University, at public functions.

Someone once told me that people find me intimidating because I seem to do everything so well- so perfectly. And yet- I don't feel like I do everything so well- so perfectly at all. I pond skim- that's what I do.

Life 2- The life I think I have
This is my private life. The life beyond the public gaze. Loving mother, devoted wife, dutiful daughter, caring friend, reliable sister.

It's the life of my waking day. My conscious life. My 'eyes wide shut' life. My driftwood life.

Life 3- The life I really have
This is my struggle. The life that creeps up on me in those minutes, hours, that I lie in bed at night before drifting off to sleep. The life of a thousand words, thoughts, ideas that live in the back of my head and that are screaming to get out. The life that hides in the shadows.

This life is full of self doubt, of questions I cannot answer, of memories that just won't go away and of secrets- big secrets- secrets too big for such a small life.

On my 25th birthday I cried. Not just shed a tear, I mean I really really cried. I cried because I realised that I had reached 25 and hadn't done any of the things I had hoped I would do in the heedy days of being a teenager, when I thought anything was possible. I hadn't written a book, I hadn't travelled the world, I hadn't forged a career in the literary world, I hadn't made my mark on anything. Instead I was in an abusive marraige, struggling with two young babies and emptiness.

Life happens. I know that now. And sometimes it gets in the way of all the plans you made when you didn't fully understand what life really was and how it could just happen right there in front of you and you'd never know. You'd never know until you woke up one day and thought to yourself 'how did I get here'.

I've embraced the tide of life since then and I've let the tide take me where it wants but I still struggle with a sense of urgency.

And I've started that book. The book about the life I really have.

Better late than never.


Anonymous said...

Hi, really enjoy your blog, just visited it from sandmonkey...had the same experience it seems as you, or thereabouts, from what I have read from this post, the slow waking up to reality from those 'heedy dreams', bad marriage and yes, realising your just ordinary after all.
keep on blogging:))

The Usual Suspect said...

Thanks anonymous
Have just watched a DVD called The Secret about the law of attraction and the power of positive thinking. Get a hold of it if you can. I think you'll like it.

Dom_inNZ said...

Thanks I'll check it out.

The Raccoon said...

G'luck :)

The Raccoon said...


Travel the world anyway. It's worth whatever you'll have to do for this. Take at least a year, preferrably 5 or more.

The Usual Suspect said...

Love the being there. Hate the getting there. Am waiting for someone to invent 'beam me up Scotty' technology so that I don't have to do long haul flights from Australia to the rest of the world!

The Raccoon said...


Been there, done that. The jetlag is well worth the experience :)

And it's a short hop to Indonesia from Oz. And from there it's a few short hops to Asia. And from Asia you can go by land to all of Europe. And from Europe you can, through a quick hop, get to North America. From which it's a simple drive down to Central America, and then South America... this is a very small dirtball, sis :)


Getting there is at least half the fun, especially if you're hitchhiking or using local public transport :)

The Usual Suspect said...

you're making it harder for me to keep putting it off. Bless your little furry butt!!!

Anonymous said...

@ The Usual Suspect

Nice post.
Look on the bright side, at least you had your big cry at age 25, many do not see these same conditions until ages 55 or 65 or maybe never.
Did you ever ask yourself how that fragmentation happened and does it need to go on like this?
Is it you or the society or the teacher or the parents that have said this is how life should be?
In fact a lot of this is due to residual effect of attitudes that we have picked up in our childhood and adolescence.
Once you become aware of it then you have the key to change it.
In order to integrate all three lives, you will have to drop the ideal view from your own thoughts and learn to shrug off the expectation of the rest of society.

The Usual Suspect said...

Nice questions- made me think.
Fragmentation? Definitely a result of straddling three cultures- many "hybrids" like me know how you have to transfer between worlds- between the culture of your parents, your own culture and then the culture of the society you live in.
I wish I could shrug off the expectations of the world but I've convinced myself that they are my expectations of myself as well.
I've got some ways to go before I can live my three lives as one!

Raouf said...

(no longer anonymous)

Straddling different cultures gives you wider perspectives. Then you can the limitation and the strength of each one.
Each side wants you to conform in order to be "one of us".
It may be hybrid but if done with care it can represent the best of each.

The Usual Suspect said...

Hi Raouf
Yes, straddling cultures is a great opportunity to get the best from each world. But it has taken me a bloody long time to negotiate each culture and to find my place. I never really felt Australian, and even if I tried to fit in- I don't look Australian (dark curls, cappucino skin and big brown eyes kind of gives me away). When I was growing up in the burbs in Sydney this really shaped my perception of myself. I went to a posh private girls school- I was the only Muslim girl there and my parents were working class ethnic- not rich white people. Was I different? You bet- there was no way I could fit into the rich white girls world no matter how hard I tried.
At 18 I went back to Egypt thinking I might be able to find a place for myself there. I looked Egyptian and was expected to behave like one- but I had absolutely no idea what that meant. So I floundered for my first couple of years trying hard to be something that I didn't know how to be.
I guess that's where all the drifting through life comes from. I don't feel connected to either culture- I mean really really connected- so i float through each of them almost as if I'm pretending- just doing what is expected of me. I'm conscious of this and sometimes it's like watching someone else go through the motions- neither culture is me-really really me- who I am- but each is parts of me. ME is something completely different- my third life.
Does any of that magnoona like rambling make sense????