Here is a conversation I have with myself quite regularly:
ME 1: You are too immature. Writing children’s books and collecting children’s illustrations and cards and prints. Really! It’s time you grew up.
ME 2: But David Walliams hasn’t grown up. And he’s written several bestselling children’s books.
ME 1: It’s OK for David Walliams. It’s not OK for you.
ME 2: You’re right; who do I think I am? Mind you, there’s also Enid Blyton and Dr Seuss and Roald Dahl. They didn’t seem to have any problem with not growing up totally.
ME 1: I’ve told you before. It’s not a problem for other people, especially if they are rich and successful. It’s not OK for you though. You are skint and not very successful. You need to grow up, get a job, get married, buy a house, and stop dreaming about doing silly things.
ME 2: BUT WHY ARE OTHER PEOPLE ALLOWED AND NOT ME?
ME 1: Those are The Rules. End of conversation.
ME 2: Oh [slumps off feeling dejected].
Why it is that I have one rule for other people and one rule for myself? Where have these rules come from? Do other people have them?
Looking around me right now there are quirky illustrations and colourful cards and prints everywhere; Blu-tacked to my walls, sitting on bookshelves, and propped up next to my computer. To my left, my bookshelf is full of children’s picture books and novels.
This is who I am.
So, without getting too deep and meaningful here, why the hell am I beating myself up for being me?
I can’t really answer that one expect to say that I think a lot of us don’t embrace who we really are; we conform and mould ourselves into being someone else.
But it never really works, does it? Because deep down we know we’re betraying ourselves.
My literary heroes never did this. Dr Seuss. Roald Dahl. They were who they were. And that’s that. ‘Deal with it’ was their attitude.
So time for a rethink:
I am an adult. I live in an adult house. I wear adult clothes. I have adult friends… it’s just that I happen to be a very playful adult. I haven’t lost that childhood sense of the absurd, the irreverent, and the silly.
And that’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned.
So I’m not ‘immature’. I’m not ‘childish’. I’m playful.
The next time I have a conversation with myself, I am going to remind myself of this in no uncertain terms.