My life as an over-achiever seemed much the simplest route to me. Compliance makes life so easy. None of these annoying distracting thoughts, like why? or too much trouble, or I'd rather be doing something else. Put books in front of me, and I was easily susceptible to the escapes they offered. Put numbers - and it is fascinating how even the longest number might be reduced to one of nine digits. Playing with numbers in your head - I mean who but a nerd does that? Expectations of such a child always look too good.
What was the first event that showed a different path? Was it the wedding party when I slapped a full plate of food out of my aunt's hands because she was insisting that I must be hungry and should eat? Is that what defiance feels like - a guilty satisfaction? How far down the slippery slope had I gone when - middle of my first year in college - I abandoned studies in mathematics for the unruly and seductive world of the arts, theatre, film and humanities. Nothing that would provide dependable work or predictable income! More than wanting - even believing that I could - to write, I just wanted to be, and to be spectacularly so.
The life of the "I" can be so exhausting. Self-importance stayed with me for a very long time - a sense of destiny, purpose and power that makes life difficult for other people, but never more than for the special one.
And in truth, if you stand too tall, life loves to take the mickey out of you. In this last decade, my challenge is to accept frailty, failure, inadequacy, a universe - even an immediate environment - in which I am completely irrelevant. And to find the joy in being ordinary.