Thank you wordpress – you’ve given me a topic I can actually get my teeth into. Today’s challenge:
Today’s assignment: write the post that was on your mind when you decided to start a blog
I fell into a puddle and was floundering.
Imagine you move into a house and it has a horrid living room carpet. Your first thought is about getting that carpet changed but other things like subsidence get in the way and the new carpet slips further and further down your list of priorities. (Footnote: when you move into a house your surveyor will tell you that your roof is in danger of collapse. Get an Albanian builder to look at it. They will just shrug and say “in Albania, this OK”. If it’s good enough for Albanians, then you can spend your money on other things. I just looked it up and note that Albania was chosen as the number one destination in Lonely Planet‘s list of ten top countries to visit for 2011 and I am sure that this wouldn’t be the case if the roofs were particularly dangerous). So you stop noticing your carpet and it becomes comfortably normal. The only time you think about it is when a stranger visits your home for the first time and, on seeing your carpet, pulls a face. It is only at this point you remember that it really is a bit shit. This is the brain’s kindness to you. It stops you from constantly being aware, in the same way that when you put your clothes on, it stops you noticing that you are wearing them. If it didn’t do this brilliant thing, you’d be conscious all day of your seams (footnote: the brain can only do so much. It cannot stop you thinking about uncomfortable shoes. That’s what blisters are for. Nor can it stop you noticing when people say haitch instead of aitch. Thats what Pedant’s Anonymous is for)
And so it is with a marriage. It’s all so bloody, fabulously, comfortably, reassuringly normal. Occasionally a stranger pulls a face, but you soon get back to not noticing it. But one day, I walked in and saw the carpet for what it really was. And that’s when I fell in to the puddle.
Whether you stay in or get out is up to you. Either way you have to find strategies and for me, I wanted to get out of it. It was cold and wet and dirty, and a little lonely, what with it being just you and Adele. All the strategies I had used to stay in had to be changed: I decided to think differently, act differently, feel differently. It seems so easy to say it, but so too does telling a smoker to stop smoking on account of it being A Bad Thing (footnote: I know). And like all habits, when you try to change them, they fight back. We can debate all day about the merits, or otherwise, of positive thinking, but I’ll take you on and win if we ever argue over the merits of simply thinking. Our lives are ruled by unconscious behaviours and we rarely stop and think about what we are doing, saying and feeling. By thinking about my life and how I wanted it to be, I started to change it. Old unconscious habits snapped at my heels, but over time I started to feel an ease with the new ways. It sounds trite, but I began to think about myself in a more kindly light. I decided to stop saying no and start saying yes, to do things I wouldn’t normally do, to see things in a different way. I had always written things for myself, but never to share with other people. I decided to stop doing that, and start writing my blog.
[Remember to insert image showing utter terror here. Possibly “Woman With Pants Falling Down In Busy Street Whilst Being Filmed For Weight Loss TV Show”
What I was scared of was people thinking it was a bit shit. What happened was that six friends told me it was OK. And then many friends. And then strangers started to say it was OK. And then I started to think it would be OK. I know that sometimes it’s good, and sometimes it’s not. But when it’s not, I still post it. What has changed is that I now see that as an opportunity to improve, rather than as a reason to not do it at all. Now I want to try new things: I want to write poems, articles, better love letters, and a play, and fiction. I really don’t know how to do any of these and so my blog is about trying things out. I love the feedback, and of course I love the good stuff, but I also love the advice and help.
I got out of that bloody puddle, and it’s lovely. And, along with a hundred other things that I decided to think differently about, the blog has been one of them.