I fell off my horse. I cantered up to a hurdle that was way beyond my reach and I took a tumble.
What you have before you now is a woman half way back on the horse, hanging on to the pommel, belly down, trying with all her might to get that left leg up and over but her pelvic floor muscles aren’t what they used to be, and all in all it’s not a pretty picture, and I may have just taken this metaphor too far. Shall we start over?
I’m grand. Totally fine. Not sick, or hurt, or depressed, not even busy. To be honest with you, I don’t know what’s happened to me. I may be eating too much sauerkraut, maybe all that butyrate has gone to my head – who knows- but I can’t write anymore. Not a thing. I couldn’t even come up with clues for the Easter egg hunt. Total block.
I just read back over my East of Eden review, one of the few posts I’m proud of, to convince myself that there was something worth hanging on to here, and of course it’s not as good as I’d like it to be but still, if I could come up with something like that now, I’d be ecstatic.
Nope. Niente. Not a chance.
Hardly anyone even read that post but the stats have never, hardly ever, bothered me. I began this blog with only a little ambition and no mission beyond pleasing myself. I wanted to say, Hello World, I exist, but not much beyond that. I hoped, for a time, that some greater plan might be spawned if I kept on putting virtual pen to paper but no, niente, etc.
I’ve always said, to myself that is, that all those filler-inner posts about rhubarb cocktails or rude ladies in shops, or whatever, were simply a ploy to keep me going while I waited for a stroke of genius. I knew that if I stopped to think about what I was doing I would get The Fear and stop.
I have taken fright, that much is clear, but getting to the root of what exactly it is that has me petrified has taken weeks of navel gazing. I’m not proud of that, by the way. I’m acutely aware that people have real problems while I live remarkably close to spoilt bitch territory.
Nevertheless, the last few months have been one of those frustrating times in my life when I feel that I don’t know my own mind. It’s a feeling that I hate, a sort of doubt about my own sanity that makes me want to bang my head against something hard and sure, like a brick wall.
On one hand, I’m a total gobshite when it comes to handling criticism and have a paralysing fear of failure. Continuing to write something that’s not quite good enough seems to me like failing, and failing publicly. Calling a halt to writing because it’s difficult also feels like failure. Is that a Catch 22? I’m never certain. Either way, I’m running scared.
On the other hand, I feel as though I’ve just woken up to the insanity of baring my soul to the Whole Wide World. Writing is an addiction for me. It always has been. I’ve kept some form of diary for most of my life. Writing into a void comes easily to me and it has always been an outlet, a release, and oftentimes an unedited (and poorly punctuated, I know) stream of consciousness. I’m not much of a talker so it feels bloody brilliant to let the words out, to get to the end of a thought before fear takes over, to be myself. The joy, practically a miracle, of this blog has been people, you, you know who you are, writing back and saying, Hey, I feel like that too. I cannot overstate how much that has meant to me. That’s a connection that I rarely get in the real, speaking-words-out-loud, world.
The problem is that it feels so good that I have at times lost the run of myself. In chasing that buzz I have revealed too much and come close to worse. It would feel so good to lay every inch of me bare, just for the kick of it, the raucous, out-of-control glee of it, but I can’t, or I shouldn’t, and even if I did, what would I do then?
I think, only think, I’m not sure, that when I started writing this blog my habitual caution was outweighed by grief. Grief gave me enough anger to be brave. I let loose. And, for a while, a glorious while, I did not care one whit what anybody thought of me, or what, or how well, I wrote.
I’ve lost that shield. It has, quite suddenly, dawned on me that I’m not writing into a void anymore. There are too many real world people reading. I introduced myself to a teacher at a PT meeting a few weeks ago and then realised in horror that she knew me from the blog. That, I think, was the clincher. I can’t do this any more.
I want to keep writing something, ideally about books, but I have to stop writing about me. I haven’t figured out, yet, how to do that. I might try Goodreads, although it’s not a platform I’m mad about. I may start all over again in complete anonymity. I should probably spend some time on pelvic floor exercises, figurative and otherwise.
I might just read.
This, by the way, is how much a girl can read in 6 weeks away from social media:
For the record, in one word each, from the top down: boring, horrible, riveting, charming, astounding, grim and magnificent. That last took as long to read as all the others put together but, by God, was it worth it.
As far as writing goes, for the moment, I’m going cold turkey.
And so, with much regret and doubt, and gratitude and even a little guilt, hopefully for a short while only…
…this is Sultanabun, signing off.