A few weeks ago, I wrote about the signs the universe gives you when you're doing the right thing.
And sometimes you can be completely drenched in fateful circumstance which some would call 'a streak of good luck'. But the thing about good luck is, it's exhilarating, invigorating... but completely disarming. It is a double-edged sword, blessing you with opportunity, whilst simultaneously stripping you of the belief that you’re in control.
Because what do you do when your entire life seems to be one long thread of chance good luck?
When you are the Good Luck Girl, how can you believe anything happens by accident?
I've always been a huge advocate that you make your own luck in this world.
When I look back on the timeline of my existence so far, there is one giant, unmistakeable power surge that begins circa 2013 and is still climbing now. That point of origin marks the decision I made when I woke up on New Years Day and decided I was never going to live another unextraordinary day in my life. And ever since that moment, the fabric of my everyday changed irrevocably.
It's like the greatest secret in the world.
On the first day I woke up in New York City, I stepped onto the street first thing in the morning and instantly bumped directly into the one celeb I dreamed of meeting, in a city of 8 million. One day I got on the underground in London but changed my mind about which carriage at the last minute, and stepped into one were a girl recognised me and told me she'd been reading my blog... from Australia. A week later I randomly bumped into her again at a networking event, and she confessed she'd seen me running for a train the previous evening, too - two strangers crossing paths 3 times in a week. I got invited along as a +1 to an industry event and was introduced to the founder, only to realise we went to school together. I attended an exhibition after seeing a tweet about it on twitter, and ended up in a deep conversation with a stranger, only to then discover that it was she who had composed the tweet that I'd seen that had got me there. One day I was in Brighton trying to decide wether to move to London or there, when suddenly I was caught in a huge thunderstorm and had to take shelter, trapped by pelting rain beneath the awning of a clothes shop, to which I then turned to and found a poster in the window declaring 'Room available for rent above this shop, see inside for details'.
It sometimes feels like life is full of these bizarre 'signs' every single day. I'm known as the good luck girl, the one all the crazy shit happens to. And I've always embraced it, because it was all happening on purpose. This wasn't coincidence. Had I truly mastered fate?
But for all my good luck, I’ve had some unbelievable bad luck to balance it out too.
A while back my house was broken in to and my laptop - containing years of photos, documents, stories and books I'd started writing - was heartbreakingly stolen from me.
But the very next day, I walked past a free seminar on women in industry and decided to attend. Each attendee had to write their name on a piece of paper at the door. After the seminar, they announced that the pieces of paper were actually put into a prize draw to win a new iPad. I screamed before they even draw my name because I just knew. Amazing luck, yes, but I still had to lose something invaluable to earn it.
Even as recently as last week, I got a Macbook Pro and ringworm in the same day.
So my understanding of this luck game has always been that whatever you make for yourself will be balanced out by Lady Luck with something else. You’ll get the good, the bad and the ugly. And I could live with that. A life at both ends of the spectrum. All or nothing.
And that was all well and good until everything started going really well. Too well. A series of joyful events had built up and culminated with me getting the job of my dreams. But I wasn't happy. I couldn’t be, knowing the contract I’d entered in with luck.
"You must be over the moon!" Someone said to me, but I just shook my head, because I hadn’t made this happen, but it had. If luck was something you made, then what the hell was this?
"I hope you're making the most of this!" Another said, but I just shook my head, because I hadn't deserved it. I didn't earn this. I didn't understand why this had happened, and I feared what it meant in return.
"How do you get so lucky?" I was asked, but I no longer knew the answer.
This can't last. My luck is running out. Something bad is coming, I can feel it. I replied ominously, imagining Lady Luck hovering above with a wry smile on her face, hesitating with her cloak of justice, wanting me to squirm a little longer before she dropped a bombshell.
I realised my life had become dependant too on ‘signs’, and I’d become certain that even the tiniest little thing I saw or heard was a 'sign' that I should or shouldn't do something. I'd wanted a tattoo on my forearm for a while, so in Thailand I bought a temporary tattoo with a very similar design and tried to apply it, but I completely screwed it up and had to throw it away. Was that a sign that I shouldn't get the tattoo? What would happen if I ignored that warning???
I realised I’d become caught in a slipstream, paralysed by my dependency on something totally intangible to dictate my life. I wasn't making my own decisions any more, I was always relying on a sign from fate to provide me with encouragement or a warning - all under the guise that by ‘making luck’ I was actually more in control of my life than ever.
Not long ago, I went to a literary talk at the Southbank Centre, but I was 12 minutes late and I was refused entry. My immediate thought was - oh god, what does this mean? Very suddenly and unexpectedly I began to cry, because I realised just how much I really wanted to hear my favourite author speak and felt like I was meant to hear it. I think I scared them a bit, because they then decided to let me in.
I walked through those double doors, but ended up pretty much directly in the spotlight beam of the stage, all eyes on me. Knowing my seat was right in the middle of the crowd somewhere, mortified with embarrassment I hopped up the stairs as quickly as possible and sunk into the nearest vacant seat.
After a beat, I looked around. There was no other available seats in the entire auditorium, except the ones I'd found. Good luck? No, I began to panic. Bad luck, I wasn’t meant to be in here, I’d defied the sign that I shouldn’t come in. These seats were now bound to have been ticketed, and the rightful owners were to walk through that door any moment, and we'd have to partake in this humiliating silent charade which would unavoidably result in me having to leave. I scrunched my fingers into crosses in the balls of my palms, silently pleading, please, please let that door not open.
I was desperately hot after running up the stairs in a thick coat and scarf, but I couldn't relax. The moment I feel safe enough to take off my coat and breathe a sigh of relief, that's when they'll walk through that door I kept telling myself, inventing a late-coming family whose butts belonged here. The moment I feel like I've got away with it, is the moment I'll tempt fate.
That was the first time I ever caught myself in the act. Letting my bizarrely strong belief that I’m a lucky/unlucky person dictate even the most minor actions of my everyday life, so that I'm constantly living in fear that I'm going to pay for my good luck at any given moment.
I wouldn’t even take off my coat.
Right there in that auditorium I realised the damage I’d done to myself by believing I was the Good Luck Girl.
In reality ‘good luck’ is when it just completely randomly goes right for a bit - your iPod putting some rate bangers on shuffle. A gambler on a jackpot winning streak. It’s not something which can be fabricated or manipulated. Just like the kingpin at the blackjack table feels like he’s completely in control, you can be as tactical as you want, but the game itself is still completely random by nature.
And what had happened by feeling like I was just lucky was that I’d started to look for signs in absolutely anything and everything to reinforce the belief that I’m gonna roll a six again, or believe I’ll find a warning if I’m gonna roll a two and lose the game. Because I believed my luck was self-created, when good things started happening beyond my control, I believed I was going to have to pay for them in some way, and couldn’t just enjoy the fact that something had actually gone right.
So I took a deep breath, un-crunched my fingers and slowly removed my coat and scarf, finally reclining into the seat I'd been sat in for about 20 minutes on edge. And guess what? Nobody came through that door. No person came to claim those seats, and I wasn't kicked out. I saw the talk right through to the end, relaxed as hell, not lucky or unlucky.
I’d always believed in luck because I knew there was something more that happens when you start to live deliberately, I could just never really get my head around what it actually was. And it kinda felt a lot like good luck to me.
The truth I understand now is that there is something very real here which is beyond the fathom of us mere humans, something we often misname luck for want of a better term, but it’s a lot more simpler than that.
You can’t make luck because luck is just a facet of coincidence. And if it’s done on purpose, it ain’t coincidence. What it really comes down to, is that you can choose to create positivity, do good things and harness good vibes your life, and when you make your own good energy, it attracts other good energy from all kinds of sources, like a kind of universal positivity, which is not random and unpredictable, its real, magnetic and bigger than us all.
Putting good into the world and receiving it back again, is nothing to do with luck. And believing that it is will just fuck you up into believing that nothing is real.
That’s why I’m no longer the Good Luck Girl.