I’ve begun this sentence a hundred times over, but for some reason sitting down to give the blog the old college try just hasn’t been in the cards for me. I started this project on a whim when I was starting my masters program and we were encouraged to blog about our experience and things that interested us to get into the flow of writing. That never happened. To be honest the last year has been really tough: the masters was challenging, I lost my dear grandpa halfway through, I moved twice (to and from England either end of my masters), I’ve been dealing with a lot of mental and physical challenges as a result of all the stress and have found it really challenging to find a job.. Oh and let’s not forget the most recent headache – COVID 19… but I’ll get back to that later.
I started this blog with the intention to carve out a space on the internet for me, a space where I could hold myself accountable, where I could write about life and things that interests me. I soon thought of it as a great tool for a new challenge I had set myself: to get comfortable with reading – in spite of my dyslexia. However, what I didn’t anticipate was that that would prove to be a stressor and a hinderance more than the accountability tool that I first thought it. I managed to write a couple of posts about books, but the writing process got increasingly frustrating. I think, like I do with a lot of other projects, I went a little overboard with my expectations for the blogs. They needed to include well chosen quotes, well considered commentary and reviewing, etc. They had to be perfect!… As a result the posts ended up being super long, or took far too long to write up and edit. I really didn’t enjoy it, so I stopped. I stopped using the blog entirely. If I couldn’t do the one thing I had set out to do, why do blogging at all? The draft posts were sitting there nagging me. So instead of engaging with them I choose to stay away from them. Writing this with no followers is a bit of a strange thing, because in theory I didn’t and don’t have anyone I am accountable to, no readers I am letting down… But then again there is one person I am letting down and that is me and my “dream” of a little space on the internet. Because what I’ve realised is that I need to engage with those feelings of frustration and learn from them, I need to figure out what it is that makes me so uncomfortable about claiming the space and taking the time to work on it. I need to fight for what I want and not just run in the opposite direction when things get challenging – a thing I have a tendency to do, and something this whole COVID situation has definitely brought to the fore.
COVID has been an interesting experience, the first few days were rough, but as we settled into quarantine life and the new normal that it was, I for the first time in a VERY long time felt a sense of peace. The grind of daily life seemed to pause, I wasn’t as hard on myself for not being able to find a job, I cooked and baked, started my vegetable garden and felt all round much more at peace… In the last week though as we’ve started the process of opening back up and things are more in limbo, my mind has become more flustered, for the first time in this whole thing I feel trapped… Which I know sounds strange considering we are beginning the process of returning to being free. Thinking this over though I wonder if it might be a subconscious coping mechanism kicking in? Like a lot of others this period has given me lots of time to think, and mull over a lot of things – one thing that I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about is my past and how it has shaped who I am. In particular I’ve thought a lot about how trauma, whatever the size, affects the psyche longterm. I was teased/bullied throughout highschool, an experience that I for a long time pushed to the back of my mind. I didn’t want to engage with it, or rather I needed to push it down it in order to keep going. However, in the last few years, as I’ve drawn nearer and nearer to the end of the predictable steps in life – i.e. college/ university – without my life taking the turns that I’ve come to expect from seeing people around me, books and films, I’ve found myself venturing down a path of self discovery. I’ve begun to reconnect with the memories and have realised just how profoundly it has impacted me. To be honest I don’t really know how to put it into words, or even write about it… because as I try to look back I realise just how little I actively remember of what happened – good and bad. I mean was I even bullied, or was it just teasing and me being a sensitive soul I took it way deeper than it was? Or was it really as bad as I think, and the trauma of it all has placed the memories in a space that I can’t really access? What I do know however is that it has impacted me in so many ways. I find it extremely hard to trust and open up to people, hell penning this blogpost is making me feel extremely uncomfortable – “someone will read this, and my vulnerability may result in me being taken advantage off”… But I need to do this. I need to find out what I am, I need to claim a space that is mine, I need to own my own story, I need to stop running away from the challenges.
So what does this all mean for the blogging? I’ve been listening to a really interesting podcast over the last year or so, Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard and Monica Padman. If you don’t know it, the premise is that actor Dax Shepard interviews “famous” people and experts talking about all things being human. With a background in Anthropology, trauma in his childhood and a life as a recovering addict Dax Shepard puts a very different spin on the age old “celebrity interview”. It is personal, it goes deep, it challenges and it’s funny. Recently they also completed a bonus podcast in which Shepard’s cohost Monica Padman and a friend of theirs Jess Rowland explore their relationship with boys.. And gosh have all these been eye openers! Hearing them explore their feelings and be vulnerable has been such a rollercoaster. I started out really sceptical, but as I’ve listened to the hundreds of episodes my perspective has shifted. I’ve come to realise that my initial reaction was a result of a frustration, not with the format of the podcast, but with my self. Here were people living their life out loud, and me finding it extremely difficult to do the same. I realised I wanted that, I want to be more free – to be less concerned with pleasing others and saying/doing the right things at all times. So here’s what I will do. The blog will be a place for thoughts, pictures, books, whatever I want it to be. It will be a tool for my self discovery, it will be a tool for me to engage. It will be chaotic, it will be me.
Featured photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com