Blogging about Japan, food, parenthood, music and life!
Yesterday was my 52nd blog post.
This means that, had I been sane and sensible and planned to write once a week for a year instead of daily, I’d be done by now. Ha.
Only 312 more to write...
I don’t know why I deemed it so necessary to write every day, but I knew it was necessary. The decision to start writing a blog, encouraged by Hubby, was one of those strange instinctive actions that I take when the universe wants me to move on.
I didn’t know what would happen, but I knew SOMETHING would. And it has.
The change has been subtle, but there IS change. It’s as if a pathway is slowly clearing in front of me, and I can see where I’m going. The view is more alluring than I imagined when it was shrouded in fog, and I have renewed motivation to keep a steady pace on this journey.
I have always had a ridiculously overactive brain. The thoughts whirling about in there would probably, after a brief unhappy period of madness, kill most normal people. I deal with this by keeping a diary – something I’ve done since I was about 8 years old – that’s a LOT of books full of scribbled angst.
I thought writing a blog would be the same as keeping a diary, but it really isn’t. For a start, I have to make SOME attempt at writing coherent sentences, and think carefully about what is interesting, and what is oversharing.
Having thoughts knocking about haphazardly in my mind is really not the same as writing them down. As soon as they take form in print, then thoughts, memories and opinions become properly clarified.
The interesting thing is that sometimes, these thoughts and opinions are a surprise – even to me.
It is not only astonishing that I'm discovering more about ME by writing, but also that I find it so liberating to write about memories that are very personal and sometimes painful. It's almost as if I can rob these memories of their ability to hurt me, by pulling them out of the dark place, and leaving in the sun to shrivel.
I looked inwards the other day, to set eyes on that familiar East/West rift – the one that opened up when I realised I looked different to everyone else and that I didn’t belong anywhere – and I couldn’t find it. That rift had been a part of me for such a long time, but at some point over the last few months, it slowly began to heal.
Writing about the difficulties I experienced as a child has taught me a very profound lesson: There was always a reason for the way I struggled or behaved. Writing AS AN ADULT I can see that now, and I absolve my young self of the guilt and burden of being me.
As a grown-up, there was always a little shadow following me around – a small, grey, silent girl who stared at me with big, pained eyes. She never said anything out loud, but I could hear her voice in my head. She was the one who disliked walking into a crowded room or speaking to strangers. She was the one who immediately assumed that any problem was MY fault, and that I should shrink away, protect myself in a darkened room and never take any risks. She remembered every slight – every hurtful comment, every cold shoulder, every rejection – and would show me a slideshow of these snapshots ALL the time. She’d pull on my hand if I wanted to go and do something different. She’d curl up in a corner and cry if tried to move on to the next natural level, causing a widening tear of guilt and exasperation inside me.
It was like having an insecure, high-maintenance, immature child to look after.
And of course, that’s exactly what she was.
She was me and I was her. I was stuck in a nightmare loop, wanting things to change, but thoroughly infected by her fear. I was frozen in time – an unhappy time, at that. My body and intellect grew as I became older, but the ESSENCE of me was stunted and underdeveloped.
But instead of shouting and reacting until I got the help I needed, I adapted and regrouped. I probably appeared to cope quite well with life, generally, until the extra time I bought myself with the ‘adapting and regrouping’ ran out.
I have learned that papering over the cracks simply will not do. Think about it. How can it possibly be a solution?? The cracks are there, probably widening by the day until the structure is irreversibly compromised. And, more relevantly, you know that the crack is there. Papering over it doesn’t give you amnesia. All the problems you’ve ever had are just lurking, biding their time, and probably increasing in strength and potency.
When I started off writing this blog, I was horribly self-conscious – hyper aware of an audience (even though I didn’t have one!) I tried to entertain, and it just came out awkwardly. I spent hours locked away in my studio, fiddling with my computer, writing about family values, reviling digital devices and encouraging people to have proper conversations, while my kids had to amuse themselves.
But, amazingly, I have found that there are people out there who listen, who relate to my rambly thoughts and who have even taken some form of action as a result of reading. You cannot know how happy that makes me feel. It's fantastic to know that not ALL of my sentences are crashing about pointlessly in cyberspace, but are connecting with real human beings.
If you have found my blog interesting or useful or thought-provoking in any way, I’d be so grateful if you could share. Not because I need to increase my site traffic (whatever that means) – after all, even if NOBODY read this, I would still write it – but because opening a dialogue about life issues, whether about depression, parenting struggles, relationships or eating disorders, may help someone; I like the idea that I might help someone, even if indirectly - even if only by showing them that they aren’t alone.
It seems almost unbelievable that the simple act of writing from the heart can help to heal, but that is what’s happening. With every word, the edges and shapes of me become more defined and focused – the colours brighter, my principles clearer. I am learning to accept what has gone, and to look forward to what will be – a minor miracle for someone who has always been of a melancholic and defeatist persuasion.
Most miraculous of all, I looked around and found the grey shadow girl had gone. It’s just me and my own voice.
The pen is indeed mightier than the sword.