Yet we all do it even if we don’t realise it. There are some people who are more pleasant to be around because they don’t trigger those fears and insecurities in us. I’ve fallen in love with people whose presence is, like my writing, soothing. Or those who make me laugh. Or those–like my boyfriend–who are ideologically similar when it comes to vigilance over my children. It’s less about the dopamine high and more about the euphoria of finally feeling confident and capable. Trusting that my children are safe.
There’s a train. It’s a superb high speed train. It’s admired, a feat of engineering. The train is chugging easily along until, let’s say, a weakened valve breaks under pressure and suddenly the train goes faster and faster. Knuckles clench around the armrests. Panic ensues. People scream. Bolts loosen.
Did I choose to suffer when I was beaten by a man who said he loved me? I would have told you no. Never. And anyone who told me otherwise I would have deemed cruel. Privileged. But now it seems I am a person who embraces that truth. And admitting that maybe, just maybe, I am both cruel and privileged (the latter is certainly true).
Addiction might be called a curse, but that’s only one way to look at it. Alcohol addiction used to be a way of tapping into a power I didn’t have, a release of pain I had trapped inside me.
The hard part is when those people who’ve been your loyal supporters, even friends over many years come across a showstopper in your thinking. Something which they decide personally offends them. Many of my articles are controversial and have been notable both in a number of new followers and in those who abruptly stopped following.
Because luck is being in the right place, at the right time, which means that you have to be present in all the places, at all the times as far as you are able.
We’re back in a familiar land. In the company of my old friend anxiety. Ah those demons. You think you’ve beaten them. But they’re crafty. Ready to seize on the slightest insecurity.
So if there is anything I can say about wisdom at all, it is that wisdom involves having a truly open mind to recognize that we are wrong at every turn (and that this is a good thing). That our past experience might mean more knowledge, but if anything this detracts from remembering that we know very little.
They say if you can’t imagine going to a party on a Friday night without alcohol to socially lubricate your interactions then you have a dependency on alcohol. But if I am to give myself any label at all nowadays, I would say I am a mild alcoholic. But ‘mild alcoholism’ is still alcoholism.
We are all vulnerable with our own individual life circumstances. And with the increased accessibility of information we are also more likely to seek out the quick fix solution because quite simply it is in our nature.
It’s not like I haven’t embraced uncertainty in so many areas of my life. But this experience shows me that no matter how much I think I’ve cracked one particular nut, the learning is never over.
Anne is enduringly popular not only because these books recount the beautifully scripted highs and lows of a life well lived, they also present a definitive guide to life contained in the voice of just one fictional character (and very occasionally her friends).