COMMITMENT IS NOT SUBMIT-MENT

Commitment scares the shit out of me. The word detonates a balloon under my ribcage, an airbag that restrains me without keeping me safe. It inflates with the cackles of my best friend as, aged fourteen, I make her promise that on my fictional wedding day she will wait in a getaway car. The whispering of sweet nothings from a sweet no-one increases the pressure almost to bursting. However, dedicated as I am to those most enticing of paramours Whim and Impulse, no one can say I never committed to anything.

You have to rehearse in between piano lessons? No thanks, isn’t the lesson itself a rehearsal? You have to muck out the horse once you’ve ridden it? I soon figured out codes like ‘mucking out’ just get you membership to an exclusive club where you still have to pick up shit. I can buy Supreme without learning to skateboard? Sold. 

Until 21, my life map was plotted for me. I followed my cousins to a private elementary school then, as was expected, I skipped gratefully off to the nearest all-girls high school. At eighteen I struggled with what was next, choosing someone completely wrong for me (he was both a dick and into dick) and being told by my parents to either “get out or go to college”. Unable to envision a life without structure, I chose college. 

Choices that are obvious are no longer choices, they become actions. Post-college the only obvious choices to me were those I followed blindly. To others, these are becoming a vet, putting a percentage of earnings towards a house or getting pregnant on their honeymoon. Without thinking further than my next $100, I used my inheritance to make friends with as many people around the world as I could, then moved to London with no job in sight. I got every man I admired — too often physically, rarely intellectually — to say, “I love you”. I’d stay until the balloon, and myself, was at breaking point.

A commitment to not being cliché is still a commitment, and one that leaves you with far fewer choices. I judged my friend’s clothes — why would you spend that on Topshop when you could get Nasir Mazhar on eBay — and my parents’ house; my childhood home with its threadbare Persian rugs, mismatched antiques and hunting regalia. Bedrooms so cold you can see your breath. The house my schoolmates and I adored growing up. My friends became younger and younger as I excommunicated those I felt had settled.

Then You made me realize that commitment goes two ways. That it doesn’t mean claustrophobia or guilt, it is not submitment. Devoting myself to running away didn’t give me anything tangible, and I missed the point my friends all seemed to have understood. Sharing with one person — my bed, my tacky souvenirs, my impassioned rants about women’s rights — finally allowed the balloon to burst, freeing a breath of fresh air.