It is very grey outside and threatens rain, but I am still going to the allotment today. It's felt like a very LONG week and I need to get outside and do something practical. My week is so rarely practical, when I reach the weekend I'm just dying to get out there.
Last weekend, there was enough rainless hours for me to get things done. I started digging out the jerusalem artichokes next to the fence, pulling bindweed from the fence and digging out their crazy roots, clearing a bit of space for what I feel might become a potato patch. I also decided to tackle a huge wire container that turned out to be full of soil and weeds. I've been sifting out the weeds, and using the soil to fill my raised beds. Still more to be done on both these tasks. I bought some cheap flower bulbs (tulips etc) so am going to build a little flower bed in front of my compost bin with some spare planks of wood so I will have a blaze of colour in spring. Today, hopefully some tyres being delivered which I am going to use as planters. And also via freecycle, I have also been promised some old windows, which I want to use to build a cold frame. I love the allotment. It is turning into a PROJECT.
It's also giving me balance. Time when I can just be. I don't have to be anything to anyone. Just do whatever needs to be done. And have cups of tea with other people who don't need me to be anything other than someone who digs and grows things.
It's really brought it home, the pressures there are on me in other parts of my life. At work, I give so much of myself all the time, I am responsible for things, people have expectations, I need to focus, reflect, think. Don't get me wrong. I'm enjoying my job, but it certainly feels like pressure, that I am 'trying' all the time, and I guess the real me slips behind some kind of persona.
Even writing can be a pressure. I'm having time off from writing at the moment because my brain needs a rest, my emotional capacity for writing has ebbed, and I just want to be, instead of thinking all the time, editing myself, worrying whether I am a good enough writer or not.
Of course, writing is still important to me, it's not abandoned, and my life as a writer goes on without me it seems...
I received my copy of new magazine Cake, containing my short short Aberdeen. It has some good poetry and fiction inside. I was pleased to be amongst such good company, George Szirtes, David Morley, Roddy Lumsden, Gaia Holmes, and Joolz Denby were along the familiar names, but there is are many poems by poets and writers unfamiliar to me that I thought were brilliant especially love getting drunk with youby Stephen Emmerson.
So, my writing life goes on. I remember that next Saturday I'm reading at The Nook in Chorlton at 2pm with a group of women poets. I am still slow-writing reviews, and talking with writer friends about writerly things.
In the midst of all this, I'm less anxious, still a little anxious, but managing it. I'm still getting migraines (Any migraine tips?) and wondering what my body is trying to tell me. Is it saying slow down, or I'm not looking after myself properly, or I need something I'm not getting, or is it saying that something in my life is not quite right and needs to be changed? My thoughts jumble around in a kind of productive but messy way, and I'm working through them bit by bit.
I find reading other people's blogs helpful. This week, I discovered a blog written by transformational coach Aboodi Shabi thanks to Fiona Robyn whose blogs I also find inspirational. He writes about the 'lies we need to stop believing', or in other words the expectations we have about what we can attain in life if we only do the 'right things'. It struck me a great deal, I thought, yes I SO agree with this,
What are some of these “lies”?
Some day, my prince(ss) will come. Not necessarily – many people face a lifetime of not meeting their prince or princess. An increasing number of us might have to face a future of growing old alone, and accept that there isn’t “someone out there, just for me”.
You can make your dreams come true. You probably can’t. This is one of the ones I hear and read about most often, and perhaps one of the most insidious. Yes, we can aspire to fulfil our dreams, but we need to be grounded in the reality that most of us aren’t going to be able to have the ‘life we always dreamed of’.
Things will get better. No, they might not. This might be ‘as good as it gets’.
If you build it, they will come. Again, they might not.
I deserve better than this. Perhaps, most harshly of all, why? Deserving is absolutely tied up with entitlement, and it’s a myth that I deserve anything – it’s an act of sheer good fortune that I have the comfortable life I have, and am not living on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, or languishing in a prison-cell in Baghdad.
Sorry to be so blunt, but there it is – life is unfair. The good guy doesn’t always get the girl, and the bad guy sometimes wins. We can have our dreams, do our affirmations, practice chanting and meditating on our goals, do the work, network, go on plenty of dates, and still not get what we long for.
It seemed to make a lot of sense to me, and says so much more succinctly than I ever could some of the things I've been struggling with recently. Some people might find his blog harsh, read the whole thing before you decide, but I just felt YES, at last someone is saying what I feel is realistic.
But, then I hit my brick wall. I have a wonderful life, many things to be grateful for, but some of the things I have wanted (MASSIVELY) have not evolved. What if they never do? I have to prepare myself for that. I can't sit around waiting for something to happen that might not. I am hurtling through a lot of thought processes and realisations at the moment, and not finding many answers (hence why I posted the Rilke quote earlier this week).
So, I try and ground myself with good soup, meeting with friends, films, digging, reading, and all things lovely. I'm planning Christmas at my house, for the first time in my thirty six years, which is giving me lots to sort out and feel excited about. Sparkly tree. Scrumptious menu. Gifts. Treats. And slowly maybe, I will find acceptance of the things I have no control over, find some kind of peace with it, reach a place where I can relax a little more.