Last week was a total wipeout for me. SO much work to catch up on after half-term, papers piled high all over my desk, a pinboard full of ideas lying neglected against the wall, and my sense of fury and resentment riding high …
I got overwhelmed and miserable, and started feeling hopeless. Sometimes you can get so far away from where you want to be that it’s really hard to summon up any momentum. Eventually, though, I reached such a low that the only way was up – to do something that made me feel better about myself. So I took my own advice – FOR ONCE! – and did some writing. I metaphorically shut the door on the mess, the work deadlines, the family demands, and went out with a notebook.
The pull of all the ‘shoulds’ was difficult to shrug off, but once I was out I felt a lot calmer. I have to emphasise that although this sounds like a simple ‘Feeling like this? Do THIS!’ kind of post, it really wasn’t that easy. I had to be staring furiously at the blank wall of my own negativity and fear for days (possibly weeks, it builds up) before I was prepared, extremely reluctantly, to take a step out of it.
And I wish I could say it went well, but that only happens in fantasies. It was like pulling teeth… My inner critic couldn’t wait to jump on each word, bringing me lower and lower with each sentence. ‘This is sooooo crap! Oh, my god, how pretentious … You don’t even have a proper story, where the hell is this going?’ And more practical voices, whispering about wasting time, the need to get home, the umpteen jobs that needed doing that were so much more pressing than my useless scribbling …
But I did drag a few paragraphs out, and … yes, I felt better. Because I always do. Tomorrow I’ll probably wake up feeling that sense of overwhelm again, but maybe I’ll remember to be a bit gentler with myself this time – because each time I do this, I know with a little bit more confidence that it works.
So I ask you to celebrate the fact that whilst this isn’t always an easy process, it’s still worth doing. However little you can achieve, it will lift you up. Forward motion. I can’t tell you how little I actually wrote, it’s truly embarrassing, but it was at least some words, some thoughts, some progress.
And I encourage you to treat yourself to something, anything, this week that makes you feel better about yourself. A nice coffee … a bunch of flowers … a new book … a soft pair of gloves (brrr!! It’s got really, really chilly here suddenly). Then write a paragraph, and congratulate yourself for being human, flawed and beautiful. Because even when it’s really hard going, even when it’s really, really tough to show up, that is what we all are.