I am sat alone in my kitchen, sipping coffee and deciding what to write about. This is a rare scene. My partner’s parents have kindly taken Leo for a couple of hours and I have downstairs to myself, whilst Joel works upstairs. It’s a week day morning and unusually quiet.
I’ve been longing to write a blog post for months now, but have quite easily managed not to, a combination of genuine-lack-of-time and self-made-excuses being my two biggest obstacles.
If I’m particularly sleep deprived, I’ll convince myself I would struggle to concentrate anyway, so whats the point of trying to write? If I’m knackered but know deep down I could probably churn out a few hundred words, I ask myself if I really have anything of value to say.
Sometimes Leo will be napping, and there’s the perfect opportunity to sit down with my thoughts, but instead I press on with the laundry, or some other more valuable-to-the-household task. After all, posting on my blog won’t get Leo fed, or Maia’s uniform washed.
A friend once said we will always find more reasons not to do something, than to do it. That list will always be longer. My list is long, and growing. I’ve come up with many a negative thought as to why I shouldn’t bother writing.
Anyone who’s ever had an intrusive thought or two will know just how real they can feel. How true. I’ve allowed them to dictate my actions. (Or lack of). The idea that I have nothing worthy to share, that I don’t have a strong enough voice or opinion, that I don’t have thousands of followers so what’s the point. All very woe-is-me and with zero evidence.
The self-doubt can be overpowering, the fear of judgment, paralysing. Because as much as I tell my daughter not to care what others think, I seem to have done a 180 on this myself. I will start to write something, then think of that person or group of people who might not like it or understand it, and stop before I’ve even got going. Nervous of appearing daft or ignorant about certain topics, I end up remaining silent, or sticking only to topics that feel “safe”. (In my case, motherhood.) But even then, I’ll often censor myself when writing about being a Mum, not wanting to go “too deep”, for fear others will think less of me for telling it how it is.
The thing is, I love to write. It’s what I do. I’ve written on and off since I was very young and strongly believe in the healing power of words. I love reading people’s blog posts, articles, Instagram tell-alls. Books are my escape, my loyal companions. Seeing how others, for me women and mothers in particular, express themselves and their feelings, be vulnerable and form connections through their vulnerability, it’s inspiring. It’s healthy. If this is “speaking your truth”, then as naff as it sounds, I’m all for it.
We are meant to tell our stories. And every story holds value.
Plus, if not a single soul were to read my words, this would be besides the point. The joy is in the doing, it’s in the craft itself. To one’s soul, the process is as important as the end result, if not more. I journal at least once a week and it’s the most refreshing, cobweb-clearing, clarity-inducing activity.
I need to write.
So with that in mind, I choose to think of writing as my purpose. Like a duty I am obliged to fulfil. As with any art, my words are not everyone, they are in fact for me. By showing up, I am showing up for myself. It’s an act of empowerment.
Despite all the fear and endless reasons not to, we must do the things we love and create the art we know is within us, because otherwise what is there?