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Why Can’t I Write?

Last night I began to write a post for my blog that posed the question, why can’t I write?

I began by speculating that it is because I am easily distracted, and so spend my time flitting over to a certain facebook group to chew the fat.

Then I found myself wondering if I have just run out of stories, or if I only ever had one story to tell? Because I have noticed recently that while I used to see stories everywhere, I seem to walk right past them now.

I began to explore this question of why I find myself unable to write after spending several hours locked in a battle with the keyboard, while I tried to write a story for a writing challenge that I often participate in.

Then my intention to blog about the experience of not being able to write was hampered by, well, an inability to write. Once again I found myself dragging the words out, and so I gave up and went to bed, leaving behind an undeveloped short story, and an unfinished blog post.

I lay down in bed feeling ill at ease; I was upset and frustrated by my own creativity, or lack thereof! Tears of frustration burned my cheeks as they rolled onto the pillow, but after the tears I began to breathe more easily, and I realised the real reason that I could not write.

I could not write because I am angry. When I tried to bury my anger I was being inauthentic, and when I am inauthentic how can I possibly find an authentic voice with which to write? I think therein lies the answer to the question, why can’t I write?

When I left Dublin four and a half years ago to move back to the West of Ireland, I experienced a good deal of grief and loss. In particular I mourned the loss of the woman I would have called my best friend; and a workmate who is also a soul mate. I mourned the loss of daily contact with these two wonderful people for a period of months, and worked hard to be able to release these relationships so that they would have the space they needed to grow and change.

My relationship with my workmate did just that, and while it is certainly different, his friendship is still a source of joy and comfort to me. My relationship with my female friend, however, stagnated then disintegrated.

In the earliest part of my new life I used to phone her at least once a week, just for a chat, just to keep the lines of communication open. There was a pattern in this new relationship though, I was making all of the effort – I was

always the person to phone her, and if she missed my call she most certainly never returned it. I stopped doing all the running on the evening that I phoned her, and she answered with “Oh, I can’t talk, ‘The Apprentice’ is about to start!”

From this, our relationship has diminished to the point where our only form of contact is through a certain social networking site.

For me, the deterioration of a relationship that was once supportive and nurturing, has been a slow and painful process.
Her inability to reciprocate my efforts to keep in touch and spend time together has put me in touch with strong feelings of
hurt and rejection. And I have learned to live with this.

But her response to the news of my baby daughter’s christening on Saturday angered me, it was a ‘dig,’ measured for effect and made with the sole purpose of upsetting me. My friend sent me a private message (via facebook of course) to say that she is “gutted” that she was not invited, and that she hopes we had a nice day.

There is nothing that infuriates me more than passive aggression, so I sent a reply that was warm in tone, and clairified that we invited family and neighbours-those people we share our day to day lives with, but chose not to invite friends who live at a distance because we felt it was a big ask, given that we could not offer people a place to stay. I also reminded her that she has an open invitation to visit at anytime, and that I hope to see her soon.

I know it is strange to say, but I would like to see this woman soon; I would like to spend time with her and remind myself of why I like her, because I know I do. I would like to feel happy,loved and fulfilled because of my contact with her, and not angry and rejected.

SO there it is, I am angry, and that is why.

And I have written it down as an experiment, to see if being more authentic and real with my own feelings unblocks my own
creativity, and allows me find an authentic voice? In truth, I think it already has.

‘Lucky Man’

In 1998, a group of eight of us, all friends since university, met in Lausanne to celebrate our friend Paul’s birthday.
On our first night in town we had dinner and plenty to drink and decided, as you do when you’re twenty four years old, to stay up all night and meet the 5.30am train arrival that was bringing two friends from Barcelona to Lausanne.
Back in Paul’s apartment at about 9am, when our conversation was finally beginning to ebb, my friend Cearbhall asked me to put on some music to send us to bed, and in a split second decision I chose the song ‘Lucky Man’ by The verve.

It was the perfect song for that moment. Our conversation stopped and we hummed quietly to ourselves. In that moment I was completely content

This morning I left the house at 8am to drop my five year old daughter, Daisy, to school early-she was off on her first ever school tour! It was a big day for her, and for her mammy. I waved like a lunatic until the bus was out of sight, all the while blinking back tears. It comes as quite a blow to realise that your five year old needs you less and less; that it’s started already.

I went home and fed my beautiful baby girl, and did a few household chores; then set out for the local parent and toddler group, as is our custom on Wednesdays.

I turned the key in the ignition and the radio was powered on, just in time for me to hear the opening chords of ‘Lucky Man.’

I began to breathe more deeply, and allow myself to be soothed by its melody. The morning had been frenetic, but this song worked it’s magic, and once again I experienced a moment of perfect contentment.

Until I stopped and listened, I had been galloping through mental list of household tasks, ticking them off as I accomplished them, and adding new ones. Until I listened I was thinking only ‘I should….’ When i listened I thought only ‘I am….’ ‘I am completely content….’

Recently, I have been feeling quite frustrated about how little time I have available to me to spend writing. No matter how much I do, there is always something else to be done. So I don’t have much free time, but I have a lot.

Stuckness

For the past two or three weeks I have been trying to persuade myself into bravery. Several times each day I remind myself, or try to, that “fortune favours the brave.” And I think of that beautiful phrase from a short story I read recently on http://www.writing4all.ie, a story about reaching for our dreams; the phrase was “Have dreams, and speak them.”

And, even while I know the wisdom of these two adages, I have not moved any closer to realising a dream. It seems that I am not brave, but I am tongue-tied.

So I sat down here to try to ponder why? Why is it that I cannot speak my dreams or bravely create a future that I want for myself?

The last few weeks and months have been something of a revelation. It has come as a surprise to me, but it seems that I can actually write! All of the feedback I have received on my writings since I started to “put them out there” evidences the beginning of a self belief in a talent for writing. I have received so much encouragement from the small audience that I have shown my work, that by times I feel truly elated. And I feel blessed to have made their acquaintance.

I consider that maybe I have drawn them into my life at this particular time for a reason, and that reason is so that I may find my way on a more creative path. This idea supports all of those things that I profess to believe in; flow, manifestation, karma. And yet I am mute. Why?

Maybe it is simply that this belief is too new, and as such, is still too vulnerable to share with the world. Is it too soon for me to share with the world that I am a writer, and a good writer; and to state with conviction that I will find a literary agent, and I will be published, and I will, someday, write a novel – maybe even more than one novel – and that this will be my legacy to future generations?

And now I have said it. Just like that I have said it; I have a dream, and I have spoken it.

I have no fear that people will dismiss this idea, or comment that they could write as well themselves – to them I will extend an invitation, please join me and write; and I will explain that I am not afraid, because, truly, only I know what I am capable of.

All the while that I have been writing here, the radio has been on in the background. The evening’s current affairs programmes are endlessly discussing a visit by officials from the IMF, the ECB, and the European Commission to our shores today. There has been enormous speculation in recent days about what a financial package for our bankrupt country might look like.

The prevailing atmosphere is one of doom and gloom; it’s on the airwaves, in the post office, at the school gates. Everywhere. All I have heard in recent weeks and months are tales of woe; did you hear the local newsagents has gone bust? Have you heard so and so lost his job? Did you hear the family down the road are emigrating?

It is so long since I have heard a success story, that I am craving one. More than I am craving red meat or chocolate in the sixth month of my pregnancy. I need a success story, because in this economic recession and a consequently depressed culture, I am finding it very difficult to believe in my own potential for success- I am limiting myself before I have even begun. I am resigning myself to failure, because, today in particular, it seems that we Irish, as a nation are a failed one.

And now I have a choice to make, do I accept failure as the status quo, as my fate or destiny? Or do I challenge myself to push beyond this? I know what I want to do, I think now I have to remember or re-learn how to do it.

I need a little happiness, and so does this nation as a whole.

Daisy Colouring

Daisy sits at the kitchen table, her homework spread in front of her. “I know what to do” she says, “I just have to colour four of these, and two of these, and three of these, and seven of these”. She points at each set of pictures in her junior infants maths book as she explains her task to me. Then she chooses an orange crayon and begins to colour.
“Aisling!”, Poppy cries. Poppy is Daisy’s best friend (yes, really!) and she too is in junior infants.
“Yes, Poppy?” I say.
“Aisling, Daisy isn’t doing it right, she’s not really colouring – she’s just scribbling.”
I look at Daisy, who is colouring with great gusto. Her hand is flying over and back across the shape of a fish, colouring it orange. She spreads her chosen colour in about a dozen different directions, and absolutely disregards the lines of the drawing. She feels no compunction to make the fishes eye a different colour to his fins, or to make his fin any different to the rest of his body. And she feels no compunction to stay within the lines of the drawing either.
“I am colouring!” says Daisy, with an indignation to match her friends.
I allow myself a quiet smile, while I quickly consider how to respond to two four year olds who have very different ideas about what colouring is and is not. My answer needs to be carefully considered, there cannot be a right or wrong here, because that would be disastrous!
A value judgement on what is the right way to colour could potentially damage self esteem and confidence; far worse than that though, it could lead to an argument between two friends, and leave me with two tantruming and hysterical four year olds.
Since the crux of the matter was simply a difference of opinion, I decided that the best thing that I could do is simply reflect on that difference, so I say “Well Poppy, everyone has different ways of doing things, and you and Daisy like to colour in different ways. Daisy likes to colour with one colour and not stay inside the lines, and you like to colour and stay inside the lines, and use different colours for each part of the drawing.”
Evidently, Poppy was not satisfied by this explanation, because she continued to say “Yes, but you’re supposed to stay inside the lines.”
While I paused to try to figure out what to say next, Daisy, who was still scribbling furiously with her orange crayon, spoke for her self. “Poppy” she says, “I know that, I just don’t WANT to stay inside the lines.”
I can feel a giggle rising up inside me, I choke it back, and repeat what Daisy has just said, “Oh, you just don’t want to stay inside the lines?”
“Yes” says Daisy, “All we ever get for homework is stupid colouring. When I’m finished this can we do sums on my abacus?”
I respond with a simple “I’ll get the abacus”, and leave the kitchen.
In the hallway I sit down on the bottom stair and let those giggles out. Then I compose myself and bring the abacus back to Daisy, and I spend the next half an hour setting sums while simultaneously peeling potatoes.
That was on Tuesday, and it has taken me until Sunday to be able to fully consider and express what it is that I enjoy so much about Daisy’s approach to colouring.
When I was four years old, if someone had given me crayons and a colouring book I would have coloured beautifully, carefully, staying within the lines, and paying enormous attention to detail. In my pictures the grass would have been green, the sky blue, and the sun a yellow circle in the top left hand corner of the page. I would have taken enormous care to do exactly what was expected of me.
I was always a very good child; I was the kind of child who did things the right and proper way, I never went outside of the lines. In fact, I don’t think that I went outside of the lines until I turned thirty and decided to pierce my lip to mark the occasion (and I still think that piercing was one of my best decisions).
So I confess that I am in awe of my precious Daisy, who is four years old, and has wisdom enough to know that you don’t always have to do what is expected of you. And perhaps more incredibly, has a certain tenacity, along with a strength of conviction, that means she does not apologise for her difference, but instead chooses it freely.
Daisy is four years old, a “wee slip of a thing”, with copper hair, blue eyes, and glasses that slide off her tiny, tiny nose. She is affectionate, thoughtful, and good natured, with a devilish sense of humour (last week she hid in a wardrobe for ten minutes, just so that she could surprise her Dad when he opened the door!); and she is wise beyond her years.
Daisy, I love you.

I’m actually finding it quite hard to get started here today, I suppose it’s because I feel that I am here mostly out of a sense of duty. I have had it on my mind that I haven’t blogged in a while and I should blog; I also have it on my mind that I haven’t spoken to my friend Patrick since February. These situations are similar because they both carry a sense of embarrassment -because I have been so remiss, and both are situations where the longer I leave it, the more difficult it becomes to renew the relationships, and so I procrastinate and say that I will leave blogging/ringing Patrick until tomorrow.

Well, finally I’ve showed up. To say what I am not sure. Part of the reason that I have not been here is that I have found a new place to play, that nurtures my creativity, it’s a creative writing site http://www.writing4all.ie, and I’m enjoying myself.

On this site you can post your writing, and have other members comment on and give feedback on it. All of the feedback that I have received, thus far, has been encouraging and supportive. As a result, I have grown in confidence, and am no longer as shy about sharing my work. And its interactive and participative nature mean that I favour it over blogging here at wordpress.

I was surprised the other day though, when my husband asked had I posted on my blog recently? His point gave me food for thought though, he pointed out that when blogging, I use my own voice, and that it is important to use this voice, and to keep it clear and sharp – rather than allow myself to become subsumed by those characters that I am becoming more adept at creating.

So I’m back. Even when I have nothing to say vow that I will turn up at this page at least weekly.
If, in the meanwhile, anyone who happens upon these musings would like to read some of my fiction you can log on to http://www.writing4all.ie and find my work in the fiction section – under short story or other. As with here, I write under the name “emerging angel”.

Now, while the iron’s hot, so to speak, I think I will give Patrick a ring.

one year on….

I am actually quite shy about my writing and blogging; which is strange to say, because today I am here to share something that is both personal and painful; and I urge anyone who reads it to share it with others who might have been similarly affected by bullying in the work place.

One year ago today, I went to work and was called into my managers office to be told that “this isn’t working” and “we are letting you go”.

Eleven weeks prior to this I had begun a new role, in a new community based project – brimming with enthusiasm and optimism. For the two and a half years previous to this I had been a stay at home mum, and I was so pleased to be moving back into the workforce on a part time basis.

Even before I had worked a day in the place I had begun to have a bad feeling in the bottom of my stomach. My manager had invited me to “an informal meeting” the week before I began work. On my way to that meeting I received no less than three phone calls from her – the first to put the meeting back by fifteen minutes; the second to postpone the meeting by a further fifteen minutes; and the third (ten minutes later) to ask “where are you?”.
At the end of that meeting, she said “before you leave, there is something I have to ask you…..are you pregnant?”. I replied in the negative and she continued “it’s just something we are obliged to ask, because if you were it would be a problem for us”. I assured her that it would not be a problem, and left her thinking to myself “doesn’t irish employment law prohibit asking questions of this nature?” (yes it does); but much to my regret I didn’t act on it, I just wrote it off with the thought that the question was very inappropriate.

I began work the following Monday, and therein began eleven weeks of hell.

One week in, I received an irate phone call from this woman at “seventeen minutes past eleven” to tell me that she was waiting for me outside my meeting, which I had told her would be over at eleven fifteen.
I share this just to illustrate the extent to which this woman attempted to undermine my autonomy and my dignity in the workplace.

I could write a book cataloguing the undeservedly horrible ways this woman treated me, and while a three hundred page rant would certainly be therapeutic (for me), what I really want to achieve here is to give others some understanding of what bullying in the workplace looks like, and which exact behaviours constitute bullying?

Every definition of bullying in the workplace that I have read has mentioned inappropriate behaviour, either direct or indirect, that undermines an individuals right to dignity at work. Specific behaviours mentioned include; undermining someone, threatening a person, targeting a person for negative attention, manipulation of an individuals reputation, exclusion or isolation of an individual, and unreasonable assignment to duties that are unfavourable.

When I agreed to take on the part time role being offered to me, it was agreed that I would work Monday to Wednesday (inclusive) with the understanding that I would maintain a degree of flexibility, and make myself available on other days should the need arise (that is to say should my presence be necessary on another day).
During the eleven weeks that I worked in this place, I changed my working arrangements on six occasions, and on another two occasions I declined to, in the first instance because of short notice given and an inability to make alternative childcare arrangements. When I said that I could not work Thursday because I had no-one to look after the children I was told (threateningly) “you had better sort that out”.

On another occasion I declined to change my days of work, suggesting that instead of having me come in to “man the phone” (which rang about twice daily), we simply divert the office phone to my mobile phone.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I do not think that I am above answering the phone, and I did it on a daily basis as part of my work when I was in the office, but I have a degree and four post graduate qualifications in the areas of community development, counselling and psychotherapy, and child psychotherapy; and since this organization was paying me well for my skills, I though it poor use of resources to pay me for a day so that I could answer a phone that would only ring twice!
I realize now that this was just one of the many ways that my manager sought to undermine me.

She was emphatic in her undermining of my skills, going so far as arranging a work experience placement for me so that I could “work at the coal face with vulnerable clients” (I am a trained psychotherapist who has worked with many vulnerable adults and children); and in our last, and very brief supervision session suggested that I had lied on my CV to get the job.

Similarly, I was given no real work to do, and no feedback on those small tasks that I was allocated. For eleven weeks I sat, isolated and alone in a cold and unwelcoming office space, reading research and other documentation relevant to the project area.
To this day I wonder how she managed to get the projects board of management to agree to let me go. I am sure she must have cited those same reasons she repeated to me like a mantra in our final contact – “its not working” and “your skills are probably better on a one to one”.

Although I carried a tension in the bottom of my stomach for the duration of my employment, I did not actually realize that I was being bullied until several weeks after I had left the job. I had thought my managers behaviour was thoughtless and inappropriate, but because I had been out of the workplace for some time, and had been isolated to the point where there were no work colleagues or peers that I could talk to about how I was being treated, my confidence was low and I did not trust that I was somehow misjudging the situation.

What I am proud of, though, is this. When she told me of the decision to let me go, I did not cry, I did not shout, I did not crumble. Instead I stated calmly and clearly that I felt that this decision was very unfair, I had not been assigned any work that would allow me an opportunity to demonstrate my skills and abilities, nor had any issues in relation to my work been brought to my attention, and I had received little or no direction or supervision (as per my contract) from my manager in relation to my role. Anyone who had heard me speak would believe me to be capable of anything.

And I left. And then I crumbled. Infact I spent most of a year crumbling.

I have a very strong work ethic, and for me being let go from a job ( I still cannot say that I was “fired”) was a humiliation that filled me with shame. I am not one of those individuals who defines themselves and their self worth in terms of their career, but I had (until now) always enjoyed my work and taken pride in it and I lost this positive part of my sense of self.

During my time working for this woman, I also became anxious and depressed, and was constantly obsessing about work.
I would very much like to say that these feelings lifted, but sadly they did not, they became more profound.
I replayed various situations over and over in my mind, wondering if I could have done something-anything-differently, looking for a way to blame myself.
I became withdrawn, and found it hard to maintain contact with friends and peers, I was embarrassed that eleven weeks earlier I had sung about how pleased I was to have gotten this job; I was embarrassed at having to ring the child minder that I had offered work to and explain that I had no work for her.
And I was stuck, because while in part I did not want to talk about or re-live the experience, it was all that I could talk about- I suppose I was trying to process what had happened to me, and why.

I have always believed the universe to be a very benevolent place, and I try to live a good life and I have a strong belief in karma.
And this experience shook me and my beliefs to the core. I understand that at some level this experience was a necessary part of my journey, and I have struggled to understand and come to terms with what soul lesson all of this was to teach.

Thus far, I have come to understand that my wish to be good and to be liked, meant that I gave away my power in this situation.
What I find most difficult to live with, is the notion that this woman behaved abhorrently, and her actions had NO consequences for her. My employment was terminated during the initial probationary period so I did not have a legal leg to stand on; and the subsequent sense of humiliation, of shame and of being in some way to blame, made sure that I did not contact any of the board members to try to tell my side of the story or defend my professional reputation.

It has been such a long and difficult process of recovery; even when I began to write this post earlier today, I was aware that my heart rate increased and my breathing became more shallow- showing me that the trauma is still held in my body.

I will heal, I am healing. Every day I smile at the idea that however painful, this woman did actually do me a favour of sorts- she released me from something that I had grown to hate (the job and a working relationship with her), and gave me the gift of many precious moments with my children that I might otherwise have missed.

So there it is; it may not be my most fluid or eloquent piece of writing, but it is honest, and I hope it will be shared for the benefit of others who have had their right to dignity in the workplace undermined or compromised.

flowers in the window

I have a tendency to procrastinate when it comes to writing here, I always seem to think that I need a large quantity of time to reflect and write, and, while that is certainly true to a point, I don’t have alot of time most days-so I have decided that instead of putting this off and waiting for the gift of “time”, I will set myself the task of writing a new post in fifteen minutes.

If you’ve read previous posts you will probably know that my energy has been pretty low these last few weeks, and I have spent the last few days reflecting on why that is; mostly its to do with fear.

I am eleven and a half weeks pregnant as I write, and its been a difficult enough period. I have been feeling constantly nauseous, and its been difficult to be a stay at home mum to a four year old and a two year old while feeling like this.
More than feeling nauseous, though, i think the greater draw on my energy has been the idea that I should not tell anyone before reaching my twelfth week “in case something goes wrong”. I have told a number of friends-those who are very much a part of my day to day life, but I was (unkown to me) afraid to shout my joy from the roof tops or celebrate this tiny new life “just in case”.

This baby will be my third baby, I am already dreaming of the moment when I first look at his or her face, I am overjoyed at the prospect of another child; this child is much wanted and already much loved. It is a relief to put that out there and move beyond fear and superstition.

Really, though, when I came here this evening I wanted to write a note of thanks to a good friend of mine. I hadn’t seen my friend in a number of weeks, and when I met her last week at a social event I told her my good news. She expressed her delight as all my friends have, and then on sunday she posted a link to my facebook page to a song called “Flowers in the Window” by Travis. The video to the song features pregnant women in all of their beauty, it is so beautiful it made me cry. And it made me realise that what I want is to bloom brightly, not hide, but instead celebrate my changing shape and my changing world.

Thank You my friend, for the small random gesture that helped to put a smile back on my face.

As I was thinking, earlier, about the small random things we do in our day to day lives that impact in ways we never know, another friend called to my house carrying a beautiful rosebush as a gift for yours truly. Some weeks ago this friend had phoned to ask for some professional advice-which I was glad to be able to give; no thanks were required, but Thank You for the beautiful rose bush.
Lets watch the flowers grow.

this overload

I have so many things on my mind to talk about today that I am not sure where to start.
There isn’t a beginning, just a number of half formed thoughts floating around about all the
things that I should do…
My “should do” list has no particular order – if it did there is always the danger that I might be able to prioritise and achieve some of the objectives therein – and it reads as follows;
1. Write and submit a piece on child psychotherapy for the journal of the IAHIP
2. Apply for accreditation with the aforementioned organisation
3. Contact literary agents in relation to the childrens stories I have already written.
4. Blog more often
5. Try to write a fictional short story
6. Finish the painting that I began on a quiet sunday afternoon two months ago, and has been
sitting on the kitchen counter since!
7. Find myself a therapist- i have work to do!
8. Catch up with my friend Claire, and the other half dozen friends that i have been lazy about
seeing in the last few weeks.
9. Phone or email the 3 or 4 good friends I have that are no longer a part of my daily life (work
colleagues in my previous life) because I am guilty of being lazy there too.
10. Sing.
11. Trust in the love and support that the universe provides.

This last one in particular is difficult at the moment, probably because the other 9 or 10 things on the list leave me feeling daunted before I have even begun, and have the effect of draining my energy.
I know there are physical reasons for my current lack of energy, and so I try not not to sink to hating that I feel tired and small, and not joyful and expansive as I usually do.
Instead I sit with the frustration of just not feeling like myself!

Please don’t, for a moment, think that this crisis of energy means that I am on the brink of a deep dark crevice and at risk of falling into a profound depression. I am not. I can still receive, I am not hopeless.

There have been- and no doubt there will continue to be- wonderful moments in my day to day life that fill me with love, warmth and happiness (i’m just struggling to be able to give these things back).

I had a wonderful moment last Tueday night when I opened an email from a publisher that I had sent my stories to. It was, naturally enough, a PFO, but it lifted me because of the lovely compliment its author paid me. She said, and I quote, “you do write well but your material is not suitable for our current publishing programme”. I realised how far I have come in my own personal journey, and that I am not as far from my usual self as my tired self might think, when such a rejection encouraged me rather than left me feeling defeated.

Infact, sharing this has lifted my mood considerably!

I also had a thoroughly enjoyable conversation on writing and creative writing with my sister in law, and actually realised that while we have similar interests and used to talk a good deal about films and books, it has been a long time since we have talked in this way. Together we took a turn on a website (www.iwl.me, for anyone who might be interested) that analyses a persons writing style and compares it to a known writer. My style, according to analysis, is most similar to that of David Foster Wallace, not a writer I am familiar with, but I now feel obliged to read out of mere curiosity. Happily for me, I am aware that he was well regarded in critical terms. Maybe David Foster Wallace will become a part of my journey….

Anyway, enough for now!

a comeback

Gosh but its been a while and I’ve missed my sacred space. I live in a very rural area, and when our internet stopped working there was long process involved in contacting our service provider, and having an engineer call to the house. He duly unplugged our modem box, plugged in his one, and pronounced that all we need is a new modem,  whereby it took 5 days to have one delivered…and now FINALLY, I’m back!

This brief explanation of a drought is all I have time for now- we’re on “staycation” this week, and we- my husband and children and our lovely friends are off to take a boat trip on Lough Corrib. Later!

what a girl wants

Before I can focus on what I actually want to say today,I need to get this off my chest. I AM SO SICK OF FOOTBALL that I need a new word to describe the sense of boredom and ennui I feel when I look at the television schedule for any given evening.

I feel I should say that  I don’t usually plan my evenings around the television schedule-its just a temporary aberration.This need to do nothing -other than stretch out in front of mediocre soaps, hospital dramas and re-runs of comedy quizes- is connected with my physical health and, like all things, will pass. Thankfully.

Now that is out of the way I feel I can continue to share what is actually on my mind this evening.

Today is the first day of school summer holidays; since the weather forecast was bad (and indeed correct) I made the conscious decision that I would stay at home all day today, and begin to toilet train my beautiful two year old son.

Usually Monday afternoons are filled with errands or play dates, but today I found that I had a great deal of “me” time, while my two year old and my four year old played together (well an hour and a half is a long time in my life!),which I used to browse different blogs and writers group pages.

I finished my afternoon feeling slightly, no extremely, overwhelmed by the number of want to be writers out there; and I also felt extremely inadequate as a blogger/writer. Those sites and pages that I visited in the course of the afternoon were OBVIOUSLY put together by bloggers who are far more technically able than I, and more worryingly for this want to be writer, seemed to have a lot more to say than I do. Feeling both overwhelmed and inadequate- and a bit naive if the truth be told- i started to reflect on what it is that I want and do not want from writing/blogging, and that is what I am going to share here now, if you’ll let me?

In every post I have made so far I have referred to myself as a “want to be writer”, and it is accurate only to a point. Yes, I want to be a writer- in so far as I want to write- i love and adore ink on a page, and I want to fill pages with stories that I have to tell. I want to create, I want to write to nurture myself, my soul. I want to feel more fulfilled and writing is something that fulfills me.

But I do not want to be a “writer”, that is to say that when someone asks me what is it I do? I do not want to say that “I’m a writer”. I want to be a writer but I don’t want a career as a writer-does that make sense? As a want to be writer it seems strange to say that I already have a career (psychotherapist) and I have no wish to leave it behind. I do not dream of book signings and press interviews about my latest publication, or chatting about my book with Ryan Tubridy on the “Late Late Show” on a friday night.

What I want is to create, and share what I have created lest it have meaning for some other soul. What is wonderful about this is that I have no attachment to an outcome for my writings – I can submit and be rejected because I am not attached to the idea of being a writer. I already am a writer; just by the act of turning up at the page, I am a writer.

I was stirring a pot of chilli that was simmering on the hob, when it began to dawn on me just how empowering that realisation is. I am a writer. I may not be a published author, but I am a writer. That one thought liberated me, and those feelings of being overwhelmed, inadequate, and naive stopped being a burden.

While I was browsing this afternoon I did happen upon my brother-in-law’s blog on his life as a stay at home dad. I smiled and laughed at some precious anecdotes about my niece, his daughter, and I finished my reading thinking “wow, John really has some interesting things to say about parenting”, and then “I’m not sure if I really have something to say about anything”.

Having thought about it, I think it is important for me to state here and now, that I do not want to write or talk about my children or about parenting. I spend countless hours each week with other parents sharing stories and tips,and I enjoy these conversations.These “other parents” are my friends and I greatly appreciate their words.

I hope you understand that I love my children with all of my heart, and I am sure that they will feature from time to time, but so much of my time is dedicated to them that I want this blog to be about me. Me, Me, Me. What I want, and what I don’t want.

And I don’t want to bore.