I Think I Might Be A Background Character In My Own Life…

When I was younger, I used to have a very vivid imagination and spent a lot of time immersing myself in fictional worlds.

When I watched films like Lord of the Rings, I always identified with the main protagonists – I thought I’d be brave and courageous like Arogorn or Legolas or loyal and determined like Sam.

I guess I assumed that when a great crisis came along that threatened the entire world, I would grow up to be one of the heroes at the centre of the action, facing the threat head on.

However, as I’ve progressed into adulthood, I’ve come to realise that the person that I perceive myself to be doesn’t always match up with the person who I actually am in reality.

For a while now, I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that I might actually be one of life’s generic background characters and, if anything, the coronavirus pandemic has served to confirm this.

Nowadays, I’ve drastically lowered my expectations.

If I were a character in Lord of the Rings, I wouldn’t be Frodo or SamWise Gamgee – I reckon I’d be one of the bog-standard Hobbits that sat on my arse in the Shire whilst shit went down, progressively making my way through multiple meals a day with no real idea of what was going on.

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This is a more accurate representation of how I’ve spent my days in this time of national crisis.

Sitting at home with my thoughts is challenging in its own way.

Whilst I may be feeling powerless to change external circumstances, at the beginning of April I decided I could still adopt the mindset of a hero and work on myself so that I would exit lockdown feeling more physically and mentally robust than when I entered it.

My childhood protagonist complex kicked in again and I had visions of myself effortlessly holding my body in strenuous yoga positions like Luke Skywalker in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’.

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However, if you’ve read my previous blog post, you will know that my attempts transform myself into a zen yogic goddess weren’t particularly successful…

As the days and weeks have melded into one long strange expanse of time, my self-disapline has run off with my sanity, leaving me with a physical and mental state that more closely resemble Jabba the Hutt and that weird crazed rat creature that hangs out with him.

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‘But I Was A Sheep Last Year…’ – The Plight of Every Curly-Haired Child During Nativity Season

When I was in Year 1, I wanted to play the baby Jesus in the school nativity.

However, there were several fundamental problems that impeded this desire.

There was, for example, the slight issue that I looked nothing like a newborn baby boy.

This was due to the fact that I was a five year old girl.

Nevertheless, when the cast list was put up in the assembly hall, I crowded around it along with my fellow classmates, wholeheartedly expecting to see the following words imprinted before me:

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As a result, I was somewhat taken aback when I was greeted with:

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It was hard not to feel dejected, especially when it was consequentially revealed that a plastic doll from Toys R Us had been cast in the role of Jesus instead.

Nevertheless, I knew that the majority of successful actresses had to play some undesirable parts before they hit the big time and so accepted the decision with reasonable levels of grace and dignity.

However, I was a curly-haired and somewhat introverted child and, over the course of several years, a trend started to emerge with regards to the roles I was given in the nativity each year:

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After my fourth consecutive outing as a sheep, my mum tried to console me in an attempt to reinstate my damaged sense of self-worth.

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Despite her efforts, I became increasingly bitter and began making subtle attempts to sabotage the play.

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My subversive actions evidently had an impact.

In 2003, I was finally cast in a different role:

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At the time, the opportunity to play the backside of a donkey seemed momentous.

The fact that I had been upgraded to a slightly larger barnyard animal seemed like a significant step in my acting career.

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However, like most humans under the age of ten, I was not particularly patient as a child.

This lack of patience was particularly evident during the Christmas period.

When my mum first decided to have children, I imagine that some deluded part of her envisioned the family Christmas as a refined and civilised affair, like it was in Downton Abbey times.

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However, the building excitement of the festive season severely compromised my ability to do things at the appropriate time.

This tendency began to manifest itself right at the beginning of December when my mum would hand me an advent calender.

The proper use of an advent calendar relies heavily upon the idea of self-control, a notion which my 8-year-old mind struggled to apprehend at most times of the year.

During the Christmas period, it was a concept that no longer existed on my personal cognitive spectrum.

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Halfway through December, my mum would buy a Christmas tree and me and my brother were allowed to decorate it.

The process would start off relatively placidly with each of us placing decorations carefully on the branches.

However, it was not long before it became apparent that there was a significant discrepancy in each of our individual creative visions.

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The situation rapidly began to deteriorate.

What had started off as a nice sibling bonding session soon became a savage competition as to who could place the most decorations on the tree in the shortest period of time.

It was not long before we exhausted our mum’s supply of relevant, Christmas-based decorations.

In desperation, we began throwing any item in the immediate vicinity onto the tree in what I can only guess was a crazed attempt to claim it as our territory.

In the end, our tree had a slightly different aesthetic than that which is usually adopted in most other households.

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