Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Week 10

After failing to write last week, I was tempted to cheat and write a combined week 10 and 11 blog as one.  However I realised that cheating or taking short cuts doesn't actually get me anywhere.  If I really want to do this then doing it properly is the only way.  It's been interesting to note that I'm still finding it difficult to increase my writing time and that it's very much a last minute, deadline driven approach that I'm taking.  Obviously, I can change this.  Obviously, I can choose to write more, even everyday if I choose to.  However, that isn't happening and this week/fortnight has been a clear example of that.  I have allowed myself to be too busy, too distracted by everything and anything else.  I know that this is based on fear.  Fear of failing, of my writing not being good enough.  No matter how I tell myself that it's the writing that's important and not the end result, I know that isn't true.  I really want to like what I write and for it to be liked.  I suppose that's because my writing feels like it comes from within me and is therefore part of me.  Mirroring how I feel about myself.  The journey of recovery talks about acceptance.  Acceptance of powerlessness and acceptance of self, are, for me, the fundamentals of a solid sobriety.  I cannot change or effect anything around me and I have to truly accept myself for who I am, if I am to find peace and serenity.  My writing takes me there and yet, scares me too, for it is putting myself down on paper and allowing others in.  Week 10 is about having a plot, a storyline where things happen.  While I do have an outline plot, I know that some of the detailed parts of it will be hard to write because they will come from a dark place within me and they won't be likeable.  Most of the parts that I have awareness of are the nice bits, the happy times in a life.  Yet for the story to work, there will have to be an honesty of what my character can be so that she can have something to transform from.  It's that which scares me because I know that will be from within me too, not necessarily what I have done but what I could do, and to be honest about that I will have to let go of being liked.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Week 9

Failed miserably at week one of allocating distinct time but the good news is that I managed to find some before the end of the week.  While talking to a friend about stuff, it occurred to me that the content of this blog thus far has been focused mainly on negative states.  Not always a good thing but maybe useful in terms of learning to connect to my emotions (currently mostly negative) as I get used to writing about what is going on both internally and externally.  Looking at what I need to support my writing last week was intriguing in terms of also thinking about what I need for living.  A window seat and a pair of headphones to write, a view and music to live, something to look at and something to listen to.  Intriguing too, as my listening skills are actually really shocking.  My lovely hubby, J, has suffered a lot from this and will probably be surprised to know that not only am I aware of this but am actually working really hard at getting better at it.  Music is a key part of my life and is also a key part of my novel.  I’m not sure how it’s going to work but I really want to use music to trigger memories, both good and bad, for my leading lady as well as provide support for progressing.  I found a lot of strength in my early recovery from music and it can really pick me up when I’m down.  I should also add that it can be like magic when I can dance to it too, space allowing.

Exercise – write about being trapped, thinking about how it feels, fictionalise if wanted…

As I looked at the wine bottle I could swear that I saw something move.  Half full of red wine, the bottle had called to me across the kitchen, tempting me to take a sniff, to just have a little sip.  No-one was here to notice, no-one to chastise me, to tell me to stop, to ask what I was doing, what harm could there be in a sip?  If I’m honest, it had been tempting and I found myself moving towards it, my body taking me forward.  But now, just there in the bottom of it, something moved.  It wasn’t an animal or an insect but definitely some kind of creature.  As I peered more closely at it, I began to see a leg and then an arm.  Two tiny feet passed against the glass, almost human but not quite.  The creature’s skin was grey, a dirty grey, and it was worn and wrinkled.  It was moving slowly in the wine, part swimming, part floating, part drowning.   As I watched it, I became aware of how I was feeling.  My skin was prickling, hot on the inside and cold on the outside.  The wine, no longer alluring but reeking of vinegar, was so overpowering that my stomach began to churn, my head to pound.  A face appeared and looked directly at me, its eyes wide and bright, an enticing smile willing me to enter.  Momentarily I moved and then stopped as I saw a glimpse of a gloat.  As I stayed rooted to the spot, its eyes darkened, the brows furrowed, nostrils flared and the smile narrowed to a glare.  The creature let out an almighty howl that I felt roll against my skin but could not hear. It pushed its face against the green glass, snorting through its nostrils, wailing silently, the wine drowning out any trace of a sound before disappearing into the darkness.  The prickles subsided, the sickness settled and my head calmed.  I turned towards the door and turned out the light.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Week 8

What a coincidence that having written about time last week, this week's chapter is about allocating time to writing.  A coincidence? Or maybe I read ahead and have forgotten.  Either way, this week is about working out exactly what (and where, and how) my core writing time is.  And surrounding it with barbed wire.  This is actually much needed and obviously very appropriate for many of us.  Monday started out very well, I could find an hour to hide away, drink coffee and do what was needed.  Which is just what it was, do as was 'needed'.  I don't think that approach will get me very far, certainly hasn't worked successfully in the rest of my life.  Just enough to get by; without breaking a sweat; getting the pass mark; the bare minimum.  Probably all apply just as equally and while I'm doing ok, I think this book deserves better.  Therapy done half-heartedly will not get me better.  However, it is also the hardest thing to do properly.  It will not come without effort and it will not come without pain.  I don't like either.  What I do well at, is avoidance and distraction, in buckets.  So finding my writing time is highly needed, together with the barbed wire.  The weekend would seem the obvious place to start but I have always been uncomfortable eating into 'family time'.  Evenings after work are difficult too as once back in the house I find it difficult to get out again, especially in addition to existing commitments.  But, as I wrote that sentence I had a lightbulb moment.  I could write at work at the beginning of my day.  That would also help out with an additional issue - I need to be able to stay honest at work.  What do I mean by this?  For me and my recovery, I need to accept who I am and that 'am' needs to be the same everywhere.  I have to be comfortable to be my true self and to leave the masks behind.  At the moment, I can only do this when I feel safe, really safe.  But I need to work with my HP to feel safe and to let go of my angst especially at work.  It is amazing how hard it is to leave the masks on the floor, not to take the handles that are presented to me at the drop of a hat, to be myself.  A working wardrobe can start the masking process, full make-up, the drive to work, the steps to the office door, it all adds up and I need to lose this.  Some mornings are ok, I remember to pray for help, I remember to stay in touch and it works.  Other days start off all wrong and it can be a long time before I remember what I need to do.  If, at the start of my working day, I gave myself thirty minutes of writing, that would be a way of reminding myself that no matter what had happened up to this point, it was time to connect.  This could actually work.  A cup of coffee (decaf of course, a topic for another day), a pair of headphones and a window seat would be great.  Whether those three can succeed in the office remains to be seen.  It's definitely worth a try though.
The great news is that I get to start tomorrow on work day 1.  This post will now become the end of my week rather than the beginning.  I wonder what the effect may be........

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Week 7

You know how some days don't always have 24 hours in them?  I think yesterday was one of those.  Or maybe I'd just been a tad overenthusiastic with the hours I had.  I'd gone to Bath for the day with some friends to go to a lunchtime meeting and see the Christmas markets.  The meeting was important to me because Bath has been an incredibly significant place in my life and I wanted it to be included in my recovery journey.  Seems I was right too, as no sooner did we enter the room but I was asked to be the share.  No sitting quietly in the corner for me, I had to put my story out there for the rest of the room and really allow myself to connect thoroughly.  It has taken me a while to come back from it but am here now and ready to post!

One of the unforeseen benefits of writing this blog is the need to take myself off every Monday (whoops) and have some 'me-time'.  In the past I have found this extremely difficult to do and not really understood why.  I still don't really know why but am beginning to see many possible reasons for it.  Perhaps by taking this blog on, some of those possibles will become the answers.  These days I really enjoy it and appreciate it, maybe the problem now is that I enjoy it too much.  Swinging from one extreme to the other has always been one of my 'talents', fortunately I have been learning about the beauty of balance and am working hard on finding some.

Exercise 4
Write about about being lost, in the broadest sense of the word.......

For many years I felt I'd been born into a world that was not mine.  Where the language being spoken was not my native tongue.  That the person looking at me from the mirror did not match the way I saw myself.  People around me behaved as if they fitted, as if they knew what was going on whilst I was left pretending that I did.  Only when I couldn't face it anymore, when I had no more ideas, did I finally come to a stop.  And only then, when I had no choice, did I begin to really look at who and what I was.
I don't think it ever occurred to me that I could be lost, that a path did exist for me but that I just wasn't on it.  Maybe it didn't occur to me because deep inside I knew I wasn't the only one that was lost.  That the people around me also had no idea what was going on.  That I thought they were ok with it because no-one suggested otherwise.  Whilst for me, it was definitely all wrong.  How wrong it was is difficult to say now, because hindsight changes everything.  I can no longer look at my past without assessing it against what I know now.  And now that I have found the path, it would be easy to forget the isolation and fear that came with being lost.  Fortunately I have a lot of work to do that will help me stay on my path, work that will aid me in ensuring that each of my steps lands firmly on the pavement.  Today, I am now comfortable on my journey, I have remembered to pack what I need for it and to trust that I will be safe.  I can go forward knowing that with the help of my Higher Power I can face the challenges sent my way and that I don't ever have to be lost again.  The world has become a wonderful place to be.  Yes there are those days and times when I don't tread firmly on the path, when I find myself in the mud, trudging.  But, as many of my friends know, trudging can be a good thing.  I will get to take it slowly, see the sights and not be in so much of a hurry.  Finding my way, one day at a time.

Thank you for reading, love to all of you, xxx