Thursday, 20 May 2010

Occasionally I am too sad to write...

Occasionally I am too sad to write.

I haven't got the energy to think of anything intelligent to say and I haven't the heart to be funny. There is only the day to be done as best I can. I force myself to tie up the niggly little loose ends that have been bothering me. I pay bills and parking tickets and I buy new blades for the lawn mower. I even mow the lawn. I sort out the re-cycling. I wash my hair and do the weekly food shop. I buy the boys new football stickers for their albums and myself some favourite chocolate.

I keep on pushing on because there is no other choice. I am flying this plane - and I'm flying it on my own. And yes, it certainly is liberating, but I don't think I ever truly understood the word responsibility untill I got here. Because there is no-one else to take the wheel no matter how tired or crazy or sad I get. Losing ones nerve is not an option when one is flying solo.

The issue of self disclosure has been on my mind recently. As time goes on my blog becomes a little less anonymous. I let my mother read it, somebody else who has been a part of my life looks for it, finds it, and reads it uninvited. I even go out for an evening with some other bloggers. Words on my computer screen become flesh and blood - I see real women with real lives - and in turn I feel a little more exposed. What to reveal and what to keep hidden when one is now only partially obscured by the screen in front of them?

Writing is the one for me you see. In this small space I can take my sadness or fear or guilt and I can put them somewhere safe. I can do something with them. Something that is healthy and constructive and which does not pickle my liver or alienate my friends.

I set fire to a bridge today. I didn't want to and it made me really sad. So sad that I thought I couldn't write or fly in anything like the right direction. But it turns out that actually I can do both of those things after all because one helps to enable the other. Writing fosters self-reliance.

Apparently the weather's going to be nice this weekend. I think I will take the children out for a treat.


  1. Sorry you're feeling sad today....self-disclosure is a tricky one isn't it. You don't want it to prevent you writing what ultimately makes you feel good or at least gets things off your chest but it's hard when you feel proud and want someone that knows you to share it.
    Hope you have a good weekend.

  2. *hugs* if you want them.
    I have a similar ambivalence towards personal stuff on my blog, but on balance I find the therapeutic benefits outweigh the worries. I hope the weekend is lovely.

  3. I'm sad that you're sad. It must be so, so hard doing this parenting thing by yourself. I stared into the brink a few years ago and drew back. To not have someone else there who can take over for a few hours, share some of the decisions, the relentlessness of it, the joys of it, must be really, really hard. The responsibility, even when there's two, boggles my mind sometimes.

    The whole anonymous thing is a minefield. Have you got rid of your unwanted guest? Are you worried that you won't be able to say what you want if people know who you are? I know I sometimes wake up having a panic about mine.

    I read something on a blog I follow called Better Now. She had broken one of her golden rules of blogging and it came back to bite her, and talked about the 'Write like everyone is reading.' One of her commenters said that that makes for tame writing and that it's better to Write like no one is reading.' I haven't made up my mind yet which is best.

    Hope you do have a good weekend.

  4. "Writing is the one for me you see. In this small space I can take my sadness or fear or guilt and I can put them somewhere safe. I can do something with them. Something that is healthy and constructive and which does not pickle my liver or alienate my friends."

    Absolutely with you on this. I would have gone insane years ago if not for the ability / need to write. And when I can't write - either too busy, too tired, or to uninspired - my wife can tell immediately. My blog was outed a couple of years ago - family, friends and work colleagues (the latter being the most problematic) all in a matter of months. Things got a bit rocky for a while but people get over it. Now it's got a kind of minor celebrity thing to it which I confess I quite enjoy. Plus I started a private blog for the real sensitive issues. Where's there's a will there's a way but nobody is going to stop me writing!

    Enjoy the weekend. It belongs to you.

  5. The to be anonymous or not to be anonymous is a vexing one. Certainly when people know that you write a blog you have to be careful what you write, but sometimes that is no bad thing. For the odd post where you really want to vent you can always contribute to parentconfidential.

    Sounds like you a having one of those days. Hope the nice weather at the weekend cheers you. xxx

  6. Nova, Hi. Yes the issues around self-disclosure on the internet can be an absolute mine-field can't they. Because (for me anyway) the boundaries don't even stay fixed. I started my blog thinking one thing and I've changed my mind about a million times already! I really appreciate you stopping by today - thanks.

    Spilt Milk, Yes I do want hugs - thank you. I too tend to feel that the therapeutic benefits of blogging freely, outweigh any worries. Or I certainly feel that they should. Our blogs are our spaces dammit!

    Deer Baby, Thank you so much for your words of support. Usually doing it on my own is fine. More than fine. But occasionally I just panic a little and think, 'Oh god it's all down to me!' As for my unwanted guest, I think he only looked once. He trawled my blog, found what he was looking for and as far as I'm aware hasn't been back since. I do worry about what is safe emotionally to disclose if people know who I am, but I can't write like everybody is reading. If I did that my blog would just be, 'I went to the shops today'.... My feeling to a certain extent is that my space is my space, and if people I know are going to come here - then they're going to have to be prepared to deal with whatever they read - even if they don't like it. I have a feeling it's not as easy as all that though. Words can have power can't they? And consequences.

    Steve, So who outed you? And what were the consequences? It's great that you have such a supportive partner as can tell when your mood is negatively affecting your writing. Because it can be a real need sometimes can't it?

    Pants with Names, What is parent confidential? I've not heard of it. We've decided that we're going to go to the beach this weekend and eat fish and chips and make sandcastles. And we're going to raid the coppers jar and take all the twos and ones down to the arcade to squander on the shove h'apenny machines. Probably not the most sterling example I could set in terms of anti gambling, but it will be fun!

  7. Wow, I'm feeling just as you are and the coincidence of reading you after I've just posted about writing dark moods has made me feel less, less, oh i dunno! More normal! I've just written that others don't do it see and there you are! Brilliantly articulated, your imagery of how it is is spot on. I'm glad we're both writing, that through this medium we can keep our planes airborne in the outside world. Enjoy your time with your children this weekend. Thanks for your post xxx

  8. Funnily enough was talking only yesterday to the only colleague who has access to my blog (mainly down to me not thinking through the whole twitter/blog thing when I first started and him being the only person that was also on twitter). I now regret that, but don't feel I can take it back, so I always write with that little devil on my shoulder that reminds me it is for public consumption. One of the reasons I am becoming more public (recent self-portrait being a case in point). I do find it frustrating, as there are occasions I would like to say certain things, but then chicken out.

    I really am completely in awe of single parents, and how they manage. I can understand how having a blog or twitter can be an outlet for you - a way of being more than just a single parent.

    Hope you enjoy the sunshine with your children. x

  9. I hope the hugs and comments cheer you up a bit. It must feel so overwhelming to be doing this all alone. I can imagine that it must be extremely exhausting to HAVE to be strong, to be there, all the time.

    As for your thoughts about blogging and anonymity, I struggle with this too, and like you said, change my mind all the time about what and who my blog is for. I quite like what you say about people who choose to read your blog having to be prepared to deal with what they read, but for me that is a whole level of self-assuredness that I am nowhere near approaching.

    I love how this post walked through your sadness and took you to a little spot of self-reliance. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  10. Sorry to hear you are sad and that someone uninvited has been reading your blog. It took me a while to get up the courage to tell people I was doing this, about 2 months, it's no bother to me at all now but it took a while to get used to. Take care, I hope you have a restful and relaxed weekend. Jen.

  11. My blog has never been anonymous, but I also didn't tell friends and family about it for a long time. But I don't ever write stuff on my blog that's very personal, incase someone I know reads it. I have however posted stuff on parent confidential when there was something I absolutely HAD to write about but I couldn't let people I knew see. Writing is also my 'me' space. Don't know what I'd do without out.

    It was lovely to meet you last weekend, it's funny how both nervewracking and easy it was at the same time. Have a good weekend in the sun.

  12. Stigmum, I'm sorry to hear that you're feeling the same, but glad that you found some company in my post. Take care. x

    JulieB, I can imagine how if colleagues read then that might really limit what you feel able to write about. I absolutely loved that jigsaw self-portrait! Thought it was brilliant. I love jigsaws.

    Macondo Mama, Thank you. I actually posted it last night and am feeling a little better today. But you're right. The pressure is in the knowledge that you can't sink, because if you do the whole ship goes down with you.

    Jen, Thank you - I really appreciate all the supportive comments that I've received to this post. I'm glad that you've reached a place where you're happy to write your blog in the knowledge that anyone you know could read it. I think there must be a freedom all of its own in that.

  13. Raising children without the help of another is fulfilling and draining at the same time. Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job as full time mom and still trying to take care of your own needs too. For me, there is no question whether to blog anonymously or not. I prefer anonymous. For my kids even though they are now grown and for myself. I think you do an excellent job of writing in your posts and sharing your true feelings and at the same time remaining anonymous.

  14. Hope you're doing ok Gappy - I know you don't want sympathy so I won't do that but I really have the utmost respect for mum's bringing up children on their own. One of my best friends is a single-mum and I see how hard it is for her and she only has one. I couldn't cope if I didn't have someone to take over the reins for a while.
    As for the whole 'outting' yourself thing, I think the more time goes on it's envitable that we slowly loose more and more of our anonymity. My own rule is 'Don't write something that could come back to bite you' which obviously restricts me in certain ways but I think self-censorship is what I feel comfortable with and then if anyone does discover my blog in the future, I'll have nothing to be worried about.
    Big Hugs and hope you and the kids have a lovely weekend x

  15. I'm so sorry you're feeling sad. I hope that the beach trip tomorrow will cheer you up! And I do understand your feeling exposed. For ages I was ambivalent about blogging as I worried that someone I knew would read it. So when I finally went for it, I decided to write as if everyone could read it. So maybe it's not as gripping, but I didn't want to write a confessional blog. And I don't think yours is that kind either. When you speak of your emotions you do so in a way that encourages all of us to reflect on ours. That's not exposure, that's literature!

  16. Victoria, It was lovely to meet you too. I can't wait to read all about the different places you go to with your family. I will have to check out this Parent Confidential. I've not heard of it before but it sounds like a good space.

    Technobabe, Thank you. It sounds as if you are far better at remaining anonymous than me though. I've never been any good at keeping my own secrets if truth be told.

    Patchwork Bird, I am o.k. thanks. It's the next day now and I'm feeling a little better. I think the don't write anything that could come back to bite you rule is a sensible one. I haven't always been that brilliant at following it though! I'm careful never to use anybodies real name or anything that could identify me on my blog but like you say, it does seem inevitable over time that blogs will become less and less anonymous.

  17. Sandrine, What an absolutely lovely thing to say. I'm chuffed to bits with that comment, I really am. Thank you.

  18. Sorry you're having one of those days. I've been sidestepping some awkward questions from friends recently after I stupidly let slip that I blogged. Now they are trying to find my blog, and I hope they fail because I like my anonymity.

    Hope you're feeling up to writing again soon, I love your blog.

  19. I'm struggling with single parenting right now. You'd think after 13 years I'd finally have it down pat but apparently not.

    All I can say- to you and me. It passes. Everything always gets better. Eventually

  20. NotSupermum, It's so hard not to let it slip though isn't it. Blogging is my 'thing' and so of course I'd like to chat about it with people. I presume it's the same for you. But then of course if you do mention it, people want to read it. I hope your friends fail too if your anonymity is important to you. We all need something that's just for us.

    Zoe Right, You're right. What's that saying? 'This too shall pass....'

  21. Sometimes you just don't know how far you can go and then before you know it you surpirse yourself. I have no idea how I would fair totally on my own but if I was half as good as you I'd be pretty impressed.
    Keep writing you're pretty impressive at that too!

  22. Tattie Weasle, Thank you - what a lovely thing to say. There is always something extra that can be pulled out of the bag in times of need isn't there. You think you're spent but somehow you find that little bit of energy you need to keep going.

  23. I've not read your whole blog but I've read a lot of it, and it seems so straightforward and honest -- so many are snarky, not a bad thing necessarily but a very different tone -- that it's hard to see it as offensive. I write anonymously too and bits and pieces get out here and there. I've finally reached the place where if it's found, it's found. I do hope you have a relaxing day on and adventure. Sometimes that's the only way I can get over a really bad funk, getting out of my house and myself. Take care.

  24. Robin, Oh I can do my fair share of snarky, believe me! But I know what you mean when you say that you've reached a place where you think if it's found, it's found. I'm working on that too because the way I see it is that these are my thoughts and feelings expressed on my own space. I don't use my own or anybody elses real name, so nobody is recognisable to anybody except themselves if they happened to stumble across it.

  25. Hi Gappy..wonderful to meet you...found you on Technobabes blog :) I wanted to tell you how brave and beautiful this post was! I could understand exactly how you felt in your words. Although I am hubby is Aspergers..sweet and wonderful..but in the long run...all the plane flying is on me..he is in the back with the kids playing the ps3. I woke this morning and sat there thinking I was feeling overwhelmed by the weight of it today..then I read your post...I didn't feel alone. Thank you Gabby!!
    As for folks coming to see my blog...yup I understand that too...when my sisters started reading it...I was stopped dead in my tracks..for about a day..then decided that I would continue to Let Fly with who I am here and be ok with that...they were too! We are closer for it.
    So...I guess I am saying...for one touched my heart today and I thank you for that.
    Namaste, Sarah

  26. Hello my lovely,
    Sorry to hear you were having a down day. I hope a day at the beach with fish n'chips & sandcastles helped you out. You know I've had glimpses of being a single parent when the AM is off travelling for oodles of time but that is nothing compared to the real deal and I hope you know how much respect I have for you firstly for being a great mum to those gorgeous children and secondly, for walking away from a relationship that made you unhappy even if it means bad days like this. You are made of sterling stuff my lovely, don't forget that.

    As for the blogging business, well, its tricky isn't it? Was so wonderful to meet everyone last weekend but I must confess this week I've been feeling a bit weird about it all. I can't put my finger on it because I had so much fun, I love blogging and I would enjoy the evening again if the chance arose. And yet, I feel odd. Maybe its the fact I'm hiding behind "MD"? I don't know. I hope I figure it out as I love blogging like you do and need to keep it up. I hope you don't leave us. I would miss your writing terribly.

    MD xxx

  27. Sarah, Thank you! It's comments like these that really make my day. Knowing that someone can empathise with and even take comfort from something I've written is a good feeling. x

    MD, What can I say except that you've summed up what I've been feeling too. It was such a great evening and everyone was so friendly and nice, but I feel as though I've lost my invisibility cloak. Weird. But don't worry, I'm not going anywhere. I love blogging - this is the one space that is truly my own and I won't be giving it up any time soon.

  28. Aww Gappy, I completely understand all that you've written here. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get to reading this post, you're probably feeling all summery and happy now! I really empathise with the sadness. That's how I felt last week. I'm not sure if I'd built myself up for the bloggy night out or what it was. I found myself sitting in corners worrying about what people really thought of me behind the smiles. I worry too about the people who have read my blog, old boyfriends, and old friends and I wonder if they're insulted or bothered by what I've written. Is that why we don't seem to be in touch any longer? Writing has always been the way I keep myself whole. The most healing writing though comes from my journal writing. Despite all my intentions to keep the blog 'real' it is more of an outreach activity than an introspective one. Hope you're feeling better, I'll email you. xx

  29. Vegemitevix, Hi, thank you for leaving such a lovely comment - I really appreciate it. I am feeling a little better now (if rather sunburnt) but it's still nice to hear that people can relate to what I've written. It's interesting that aswell as blogging you also keep a private journal - it seems quite a few bloggers do that.

  30. I love this post, though of course I don't love the fact that it is born out of a sadness for you.

    For what it's worth, I would say, hang on to as much anonymity as you can for as along as you can. Whenever I've given a piece of mine away, I've always felt it as a loss in terms of the freedom I enjoy when I write the blog. It's hard not to let it happen, but you can't get it back when it's gone.