The Truth and All That...
I haven’t written an update for a while. When I started this blog (archive) was always an idea that I would do more regular updates but it simply hasn’t turned out that way. That’s probably a mixture of laziness and being distracted by other things. I do want to do more and I had another update from last year, which is written but I haven’t posted it!
Also, what do I have to update? I have pile of writing pads dating back thirty years and I am slowly typing them up. It can be interesting, but perhaps, more personally interesting. My writing is about context and part of a bigger idea, it doesn’t always work as individual pieces and I accept that. I have avoided giving a context on my work, for example if there are a series of poems from a particular time, whilst they might seem to be connected or have a similar theme, I haven’t really ever disclosed what was going on at that point in my life. I didn’t want it to turn into, ‘my life story’, not in that sense anyway.
However for me, there are times when the typing up and writing process has been tough. Who in their right mind wants to revisit their life and look at decisions made, the person we was and people we hurt. But often that is what I am doing, it’s hard going. It’s not so much about regrets but there is a sense of wanting to dive in and save the younger me.
The period from 2007 through to 2010 was particularly hard going, lots of things happened in my personal life at this point, it was a culmination of things building up and then, a slight mental explosion from which the fallout would last until 2010 (or thereabouts). I’ve avoided typing up some of that work but over the last month that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. I realised that I had been putting off delving specifically into 2007 and 2008. But I realised I had to start on those years properly and not just go to pile of writing pads and avoid them.
Whenever I start a new pad, there are a mixture of things I start doing. Firstly, I want to critique the writing, do I think it is any good? Then I am thinking about my life, what was going on at that point and then there is the reading, I read the pad, a quick read but I go over it. Then sometimes I have to make my own peace with the writing and that point in my life. That is hard, because I have realised that what we all do as humans, is that we create a narrative of our life and that narrative is often more about protection rather then absolute truth.
I have worked with people who have experienced poor mental health episodes, mental disorders and personality disorders. I’ve worked with people who have fixed delusional beliefs and often, these can seem ridiculous or simply unbelievable. For example, people who believe they have a microchip in their brain and they are being sent messages or people who believe that a government agency is following them. It is easy to be dismissive of these statements and beliefs especially when evidence is presented and they simply don’t believe it. But when you work with these people, you realise there is a protective factor in these beliefs, they protect from them from life trauma, things that have happened, having to accept painful moments in life. From that perspective they do make sense. And I have realised, we all do this, even if it is to a much lesser extent. We all create a life narrative and if like me you are challenging that, even unintentionally, then it can be difficult. My life narrative, the one in my head, often doesn’t match what is written down. That’s a very strange experience, sometimes it is for the better, you know things are not as bad as I thought and have told myself. Often it is unsettling as confront the written evidence.
A lot of my writing stems from things people say or do, I am like a moth to a light when it comes to ideas and life concepts. A couple of weeks ago I heard someone talking about looking over their life as a kind of time travel. And that struck an immediate chord with me. I thought, that’s what I am doing in effect, a kind of time travel. So, I wrote a poem recently about that idea and the idea that time travel is far more difficult than I could have ever imagined.
Writing up pieces from 2007 is the closest I have come to stopping this whole process, it reached a point a few weeks ago where I thought, this feels too much, too painful, this is best left in the past. It’s amazing if not unsurprising the emotions it stirs up. Again, no regrets, but if I could go back then I would be a very different person. But you can’t spend your life like that can you? There is something about accepting yourself and we all know that accepting yourself is a lifelong challenge and one of the hardest things we do. And more to the point if we can accept ourselves, how do we decide who we are? I feel now at the age of 47 that as I continue to manage or perhaps juggle my well being and my mental health, I have the healthiest perspective on life and me I have ever had. Part of me things, if I had that years ago, perhaps things would be different. It’s very silly to think like that but that’s the direction I get pulled in as I type up my work.
I think we have all learnt over the last couple of years the importance of our mental health and well being. Some of us I know, would have already being painfully aware of these. I think there is a soothing and therapeutic aspect to writing. As I have mentioned before in other updates, writing for me is a safe space, mindfulness and expressive creative thing all rolled into one. I want it to remain like that, I don’t want it to become a chore or something I resent or something I associate with pain and trauma. All sounds a bit dramatic doesn’t it? I am sorry for that but it has hard going at times the last few weeks. I have responded with a, ‘get through it attitude’, just grin and bear it, write them up and move on. So I have spent quite a few hours at the weekends typing up as many as can knowing once I have got through the writing pad, it’s done, and I don’t have to go back.
I hope everyone is safe and well, I do enjoy reading other peoples work, I have developed one or two favourites, often their writing captures me, either in its content or the way it’s written. You’ll know who you are because I make a point to like your work.
There, done it, an update completed!
Please keep liking and commenting on the poems, it’s always appreciated and always interesting.