I’ve been on a mermaid assignment this past couple of years to learn to stop being such a boring, self-flagellating fuddy duddy and embrace the playful, find-fun-everywhere spirit of the mermaids.
It started with a burn-out breakdown a year and a half ago. I was so anxious and stressed and unbearably hard on myself, I started crying every day, shaking when it was time to sit down at the computer and work, vomiting when I had to leave the house on gigs, and acting like a superdick to all my friends and colleagues.
It was awful. I had to take a month and a half off of work to recover.
I got there because my life was organised around my work, and my work was the sole source of my self esteem – and in my opinion, I never worked hard enough. I thought I was awful and lazy. As a self-employed person, I’d work well into the evening and when I stopped I’d be feeling so guilty about how I hadn’t worked hard enough that day I wouldn’t be able to relax.
I didn’t let myself have any hobbies, or waste money on things like socialising or enjoying myself because if it wasn’t directly related to work, if it wasn’t directly related to making more money, it was worthless.
Life sucked. And because I was always miserable, always stressed, always feeling like a failure and a disappointment, I burnt out. My body, my brain, had had enough. It was breakdown time.
When I got through that, commitment to never, ever end up there again. Never.
And that meant I had to stop punishing myself and start enjoying my life. I had to change the way I approached my life completely.
One of last year’s guiding words was FUN. My mission was to get out there and enjoy myself more. Give myself more time off. Go hang out at friends houses. Go to the cinema, to dance classes, to cabaret nights and parties.
My 2016 New Years Resolution was actually to Drink More Booze. I know, kind of the anti-new-years-resolution, right?
It worked. Pre 2016, super-uptight Demi averaged out at three guilty alcoholic drinks a year. This year I have had a LOT of fun and tried a lot of different kinds of booze with my friends. It’s been the only New-Year’s resolution that I have stuck to!
So that’s my haunting backstory. Onto this year’s guiding word. Pleasure.
Pleasure and Fun kind of mean the same thing.
While they are both about enjoying yourself, but the subtleties of flavour are different.
Fun is extroverted, carefree and wild: it’s trying new things and going on new adventures. Road trips. Twerking class with your bestie. Fun is collaborative, you do fun with other people. It’s about getting out of the house and doing stuff.
Pleasure is different.
Pleasure is a state of mind, rather than a wild one-off adventure to the Drag Queen Cabaret.
You can’t feel Pleasure unless you are Present.
That’s the most important thing about Pleasure.
Pleasure is noticing the scent of your shampoo as you massage it through your hair. It’s about savouring the taste of dark chocolate and salt. It’s about putting towels on the radiator and the wrapping yourself in delicious warmth when you step out of the tub. It’s spending a moment looking at how the shadow from your tea light lantern creates a beautiful pattern on the carpet.
Pleasure is about being awake to the beauty of the world.
Pleasure is about letting yourself be enchanted by everyday.
That’s what I want this year.
I want to be able to tune into how delicious my life is. I want to make space for the magic of being alive. I want to notice how beautiful the world is every day.
I want to live in a state of Pleasure. I want to make Pleasure a priority, so I spend more memorable moments watching the mist hover under the trees out of my bedroom window, and less time numbing out with Facebook and TV.
I want my life to be filled with rich jewels of presence, of pockets of Pleasure.
I want to be awake to see the touch of Venus in the world.
And, yep, I still want to go on road trips and drink homemade caipirinhas on the night buses and have movie nights with my friends. That fun is continuing for sure.
But I’m adding the subtle, heady perfume of Pleasure to my everyday experience this year.
I’m ready to be enchanted.