Even though I’ve lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for almost a decade, I still sometimes go to Fisherman’s Wharf and pretend to be a tourist. I take pictures of sea lions at Pier 39 and try on funky hats from that one crazy hat store. I’ll even buy a pretzel from the hot dog stand I used to work at. When you’re a tourist, it’s okay to be out of place, to be lost, to be in a place that’s not home. Every now and then, I need to remind myself that.
I don’t get to travel as much as I’d like to these days, and sometimes I worry that the older I get, the more comfortable I become. The best parts of my life happen when I’m in an uncertain place. Like I’m trying to find my balance on an edge as sharp as a knife, except it’s not about balance, it’s about picking which side to fall off from.
I found this tidbit on Neil Gaiman’s blog this morning:
“I loved how comfortable I’m starting to feel on stages in universities and such. I no longer feel, when I’m out on the stage, like I’m faking it, or that I’m there under false pretenses.”
So even someone like him feels this way every now and then.
There is an enormous amount of pressure to be successful. Some of it comes from society, some from family, mostly it’s me trying to prove something to myself. Like someone with an eating disorder, I can’t stop myself from thinking that happiness comes from hitting a magic number on the scale except this particular scale only measures the unmeasurable: career, family, faith.
I tell myself that with each word that I write, I feel a little less fake like I’m a real writer instead of someone pretending to be one. But then I think about this website, and how I’m only comfortable writing bits of my truth under a pseudonym, and I can’t seem to tell what’s real and what’s fake anymore.