Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Return of the Blog (And the 366 Project.)

Last week I made an executive decision to take a break. I also wrote a long, rambling and emotional post about childhood illnesses, my paranoia's and list as long as my arm neurosis's. I'm not going to share that, not today, and instead I'm going to tell you I'm back from my break. I'm also going to share why I took the break and I really hope (and know) it will be met with understanding.

I wanted to start off by saying, 'Oh I'm so busy!' (aren't we all?) and while that is very true - and also drains me of time and energy I don't have to spend on blogging - I felt it was an excuse and masking my real reasons for not blogging. Yes I don't want to spend time writing out posts people never read or 'working' on the blog fruitlessly - trying to make 'friends' in the blog world, connect with other bloggers (and UK bloggers are a funny bunch. Every single one I've contacted never gets back to me! Especially Scottish bloggers!)

My problem is simple: I struggle with people. Emotions are tricky for me and over the years words have become tricky for me. Don't get me wrong I can very easily put my point across, I can articulate what it is I want from people...I just struggle to reach out and actually say that part. If it's for my son I have no problem, of course, but for myself I really struggle.

Currently I find myself at a very strange cross roads in my life when it comes to friends. I don't have friends I see regularly and quite honestly I don't believe I have any friends, truth be told. I don't have a friend I can call up for advice, I don't have a friend to go and see movies with and I don't have a friend who is there for me 'just because.' A handful of people do nice things for me, sure, but all of the above things to me are what a friend is. 

Outside of my family I couldn't write a list of 'friends' that I have because I would struggle to name names. I would also be embarrassed to consider someone a close friend and not be considered the same in return.

In school I had a hard time feeling connected to anyone there. I just didn't feel like I had any true friends at all and even now the 'true friends' I did have, I don't have any contact with and barely speak too - and even if I did I would feel as though they didn't really 'get me.' In short, the cliche of growing apart has manifested over the years with my many friendships I had as a child or teenager.

In London I had a great bunch of friends. People who were my true adult friends. But that's the problem, they live in London. When I moved back to Scotland, although we semi kept in touch, I did lose those friends. I know that's part of the deal and part of life, I accept it, but I did find it hard to gel or connect to people here when I moved to an area I'd known previously. 

It was terrifying for me socially because there were a lot of new faces, too. At first it didn't really bother me because I still had some of that sass inside me. Then we moved yet again. This time to another ward. I held a calling for a while but because I was so ill when pregnant - and I'm still working that sickness off and getting back to an even keel these days! - I didn't have time to form friendships or get to know anyone. I felt like all those months cooped up have damaged me socially, that I don't know how to just 'be' with people. 

It was literally me and Bryan. If I went out, it was with him. I didn't have any friends I could call up who'd zoom round to see me (something I got too accustomed with, I'm sure.) I was also going through a hard time with some family members, a settling period and adjustment time for them to get used to Bryan - all is forgiven and forgotten, but I want to put that out there. All in all it was a very lonely time for me. A lot of the time I went over our monthly phone bill - sometimes doubling it - just so I had someone else to talk too. We didn't have a phone line, had no internet (and eventually I had to stop going to the library to use it) and no TV. 

I got very anxious any time people would want to come round to see us and eventually over time got less and less anxious as the missionaries spent time with us. In fact I remember the first time they came round. I was so eager to make a good impression, just so they'd come back, that I don't think I spoke for the whole night. Ha! 

I remember when Roman was born. We were overloaded with people, with noise, with chaos and with life. I was so unbelievably happy at that time. Finally my home was full and my heart was very, very full because this is what I was used too; a tribe of people. Not one or two people but many. A house full. And while I couldn't stand it growing up and daydreamed of my own place, away from the noise, it was what I grew up craving. And in the month or so following Roman's birth it felt like a non-stop party - in a good way. A very reserved, chatty party ;).

I realised that while friendships are to be treasured, maintained and grown what is more important is family. They've been here for 26 years, they're committed to me. And frankly, they can't escape me ;). 

I also want to put in here that someone in that ward/branch reached out to me at a difficult time in my new motherhood journey - in fact many lovely people did. And if you felt pushed away by me at the time, I apologise. It was a strange time for me - I felt I had so much to prove. 

I've been anxious on this blog for some time now. Anxious in the same way I was when I moved into a new area - I saw the groups of people who were already friends, saw the various meet-ups people were having and I felt very pushed out. Not sure where to start or end. Feeling like I'm neck deep in loneliness. It got to the point where if I got a comment from someone I knew I felt let down that the people I didn't know off the blog weren't interested in what I had to say. My so-called followers, for example. But I know how blogging works. You click 'follow' on a blog because it looks cool or because you want someone to follow you back. Or perhaps you just don't have a spare moment to leave a comment. Or maybe you want to read/lurk but not identify yourself.

All of those things are okay but I will say I got swept up in a moment of insecurity. Of not feeling good enough at all. That despite my own mum and aunt being my daily cheerleaders it seemed to matter what a bunch of strangers thought over them. Insanity. The point is very clear to me now and I capture it here because I want to remind myself of this in the future:

I'm here for me, not you. 

This blog, this project and everything else that follows is to entertain those who want to read it. It's a choice to be here, it's a choice to follow me and it's even a choice whether or not you like what I say. But what I write and document in our lives is also my choice and my way. If you don't like it, you don't have to like it. 

I love my readers. And I love comments. I also love to inspire people to do something of their own; to think, to create, to take action. I glory and celebrate when people can do that because I've somehow set off a chain reaction in their brains...but lately I was feeling like all I was doing was dragging myself down. I was wasting my time on a Project that wasn't relevant. Wasn't helping me or others.

All I can say is that if you feel I'm irrelevant, good for you. Feel free to think that. You can also stop reading beyond this point because quite frankly my dears, I don't give a damn what you think :).

For anyone who got beyond that point; of course we're all relevant. Every. Life. Counts. And every way you can demonstrate that and be that example to your children, your families and your friends you should take it with both hands. My personal choice is to document a year in pictures, a promise I made to myself on New Years Eve, 2011. 

I just deal with crippling phases of low self esteem and serious pre-menstrual issues. It doesn't make me a failure, weak or a monster. I'm human, after all. I have flaws and I'm not ashamed to admit them. And I also don't have a clue how to make friends in the 'real world' or in the 'blogging world' but I won't let it defeat my purpose. And pushing that aside for now - because in a week's time I'll be on a maniacal high; full of ideas, inspiration and an over whelming urge to gut every room and organise socks into colour order - I know that things can only get better.

For now, for the next year, I'll be taking a picture every single day. If I need a blog break from time to time I'll take that, too. If I do take a break please refer back to this post and keep gently encouraging me to keep going.

And thank you: for all the comments I got. Thank you for taking the time.