Sharon enters the cafe for our meeting, a burst of winter sunshine in woollens emblazoned with giant silver stars. I tug at my thick grey jumper and scratchy plain thermal. Autumn has always been a challenge: The shock of the shortened days so soon after summer and the anxious creep towards Christmas. I normally counteract the darkness with a Spanish scarf and glittery earrings but today I have come plain.
Sharon, a wonderful mix of warmth and pragmatism, has been supporting me on a programme that helps people experiencing mental health difficulties thrive at work. We talk over things that get in the way (lack of money and sleep for starters …) but we talk about what brings joy too, inevitably leading to cat-love sharing (Hello Sefi).
But, until last week, there was something important I hadn’t yet shared with Sharon. I’d talked about it. But always evaded when she asked to actually see it: My Writing.
My writing hides in plain sight. Like the timid girl at the back of the class, not raising her hand even though she knows the answer to a question. While this blog is freely accessible to anyone who can get online, I don’t actively promote it. The FB page I set up one reckless day lies abandoned. Sometimes I venture one discrete tweet.
“What are you waiting for?” Sharon asks. Umm, you know, just for the excruciating fear of self-exposure to go away. Ha! Good luck with that, writers everywhere exclaim. I know, I know! If I want to be read, I have to make friends with vulnerability.
I squirm as Sharon types in my website adddress and begins to read, not just scan, but properly read my posts. After a while she puts her phone down and looks at me. She says clearly that my blog resonates with her, that it will resonate with others, and that she would love to direct people she supports in her work towards it.
She tells me I have to be bold, take a risk, go public, get subscribers, build a community, see where it leads. She asks me “What is the worst that could happen?”
To be honest, nothing. I don’t fear my words being hated so much as being irrelevant. Paradoxically, my deep-seated fear of not mattering is rendering me invisible. But how long can I sit on so much fertile ground without a harvest. My therapist says she feels the weight in me, like being pregnant for years and years but never giving birth.
So, here’s a blogpost for the first time in ages. In 2020 I plan to shift away from sporadic perfected pieces in favour of regular, freer updates. I want to commit to showing my work without attaching to the results and share what happens in real time. The point of Unstruggling after all is to stop fighting and let life surprise me.
To be continued…