I could sit and wallow in the little disappointments, random plot
twists, brain farts, derailed expectations, or jealousies – and that does feel quite tempting. Alternatively I could do something about it. We’re back to that basic underpinning of what makes for an awesome life, and it seems as ever to be tied to a willingness to take a hard look at what’s causing that slow drag on life and then refusing to be ruled by it.
These hiccups can come from many sources: it can be those conversations where someone says “I love you, but not in that way”, or where the only dialogue you have when you get home is an unspooling of the other person’s day and a demand to be fed. It might be the jealousy of seeing someone taking a holiday in the sun when all your holiday leave has been spent caring for people or burying them. It can come from unanswered texts, or people not thanking you for the simple kindnesses. It can come from being in constant pain, or the worry of money or exam results. In truth, it doesn’t really matter.
Hand on heart, we can all point to things right now in our lives that upset, or make us at least quietly thoughtful. There’s nothing wrong with that. That is, as the saying goes, just life. The biggest danger sometimes to my mental equilibrium is trying to chase after everyone in search of affirmation. The problem is that it isn’t practical to try and be all things to all people. You’re on a hiding to nothing even trying.
So, what am I going to do, or am already doing, to refocus on what’s important? Nothing earthshaking; we’ve already established I’m a stubborn sod after all. I’m going to carry on reminding myself to just do my thing – whatever that thing may be – and those who are interested will engage, while those who aren’t will carry on in theirs – and you know what, that’s okay too. I’m going to carry on with the exercise, supporting Lady M, writing, drawing, and running the mostly weekly D&D games. I’ll spend time with my frankly awesome daughter, and if anyone wants to dip in and say hi for a while then I’ll see you when I see you.
These are all random thoughts I’ve had over the last week or so. Each of them at the time sparked a moment of “I could write about that” before getting buried in the medium and rush of the day:
- In what parallel universe does Autocorrect live where anyone ever says I Live You as a common sequence of words?
- Why is it that whenever I see an Addison Lee vehicle, it is cutting me up, cutting someone else up, performing a dangerous manoeuvre or on at least three occasions all three at once?
- Is it actually possible for someone to resist going “do do do-do-do” when the sound “mnah mnah” is made by anyone
- What will my brain beat me up about next when it comes to my relationships?
- Why do I have such an instinctive revulsion when it comes to selling myself in an interview and yet I can wax lyrical about myself in conversation with people I’ve never even met before?
Ugh. The beatings will continue until morale improves…
My motivation to blog continues to be all over the place, but I’m largely blaming that on being a busy little bee, and in usually being in the middle of something when a blog idea occurs. Alternatively I write something and then donate it to someone else – like the blog article I wrote about a week ago and gave to Lady M for her TWITT blog.
That means that I’ve been thinking of updates and commentary on a blog post that will be posted next month some time. It started as a random observation along the lines of ‘Things Lady M says’ and turned into a slightly rambling rant about unconscious bias and our inability to spot our own blind spots. I may have been a bit tipsy and in a weird mood at the time. I’ll link to it when it goes live and then we can all laugh about it together.
That, and a chat with Lady G about writing, led me to have a long discussion in my most recent counselling session about not wanting to rely on drinking to cue writing sessions when inspiration is in sparse supply. The stereotype of the alcoholic writer exists largely because of the disinhibition that comes with even a small amount; and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit there were occasions where a looming deadline had been met with the aid of a glass of scotch or two.
On those occasions I found I was winding myself up as a perfectionist and paralysing myself with a fear of even starting. A bit of alcohol helped me not care enough so that I could just make a start. Tidying it up afterwards was simple enough once I had something to edit.
My concern was that this not become a habit or to be under any illusion that it was necessary. I’m all too familiar with how what seems to be an effective tool can become a crippling necessity from my experience with self harm. There were parts of that nightmare that at times felt as much like addiction as a horrendously flawed survival mechanism. I have no desire to revisit them.
It’s not even as if I need alcohol to come up with ideas, as anyone who’s seen my brainstorming notes on Twitter can testify. The surreal and eye-catching tends to come easily (yay me!), and as one of my oldest friends once remarked: my humour is insidious in how it tends to creep up behind you, tap you on the shoulder, and then summon dread Cthulhu to tapdance in your cerebellum. I have no idea quite what they meant, but it sounds hilariously squamous.
Incidentally, my counsellor agreed I don’t have a drinking problem, problematic drinking, or even a difficult relationship with alcohol. We will no doubt be spending more time on why I feel the need to worry about the possibility and what it says about my self-confidence in continuing to recover. Either that or I’ll engage in sarcastic diversion tactics while she skewers me with painfully direct observations that send me spinning after my own tail. Well, as I said to someone recently: I do appear to be the human incarnation of a labrador at times…
I’ll be glad, as my grandfather used to say, when I’ve had enough. Of what? I hear you ask. You could probably take your pick of a number of things ranging from a non-stop day at work; the effort taken to not resort to blatant sarcasm with stubborn customers; or of seeing people I care for having a rough time. As of the time of writing, let’s just go with 2016 as an arbitrary measurement of sidereal time. It was with no small amount of amusement that I noted today’s date and thought: “Yay! We’re over halfway through until this year’s done and dusted!”
Surely, you say, this would have been a better post to write on June 28th (the 179th day of the year), rather than the 222nd? Well, I’ve been a bit busy, and don’t call me Shirley. I’ve just had to explain that reference to Lady M, but to be fair she has just taken some very strong painkillers. I’m just letting off steam; I figure I’ve earned it and seeing as I have my own soapbox I might as well use it. Lady M has also graciously volunteered me another in the form of contributor rights on her TWITT blog, and so you can expect some rather more pithily targeted observations over there from time to time as well.
What’s the worst that could happen, right?
It’s late and I have to be up to open up a library in the morning so I’ll keep this reasonably brief as an update. Life has continued to be pretty full-on recently (oh who am I kidding, it’s not been a year for giving us much of a chance to get a breather), and I’ve really been struggling to find the inspiration to write. That includes this blog, and pretty much any of my other projects. I wish I could say it was as simple as just being writer’s block.
Without going into too many details, Lady M has finally got an answer to a number of health concerns that have been niggling away at her. While it’s not anything with a fatal outcome, she does have a debilitating chronic condition that she will have to manage for the foreseeable future. As a result I’ve been worried for her and trying to support her as best I can. The writing has taken a back seat to that the last couple of weeks.
There are all sorts of fears and worries that I hold on to right now. The best adjustments that I’m trying to do are those that allow me to balance being there for her while also making sure that I’m able to function too.
So bear with me if I’m a bit flaky or selfish from time to time at the moment. It’s me trying to do the self-care thing, and I’ve never been too hot at that.