Friday 27 April 2007

Wobbly Blog

This is an old blog - in case anyone's worried that I'm feeling like this today!
Am in a very strange and uncomfortable place right now. All out of sorts. Bit shaky. Bit wobbly. I’m not sure if I want to blog or not. It feels like the words are being squeezed out of my fingers one by one. It’s not coming easily. Yet not to blog feels uneasy and odd too. Various things really. Maybe writing it out will help – usually does.
My psychic friend said that the moon eclipse would change things, and that feels about right. At the weekend we more or less made the decision that we would take the house off the market. When we put our farmhouse up for sale, the idea was to downsize a bit, losing our mortgage and a lot of stress. Now, while our house has stayed at the same price (actually even dropped) the others have suddenly started hurtling upwards. While we still had our dream village house in our sights, all was possible – we were languishing in the doldrums together. Now it is sold, we are all at sea.

So I sent off an email to the estate agents, asking for a meeting. We got back a phone call with a huge, and unsettling, surprise.
Our old buyer (whose chain collapsed) has been back in touch, in fact calling the agents every day for the last fortnight. He wants to return, with his original offer. The agents have been investigating, as we were stung so badly last time (basically he didn’t keep us informed, told a lot of porkies, and strung us along for nearly five months while we could have been getting another buyer).

If ‘our’ village house were still on the market, we’d be elated. But instead I just feel flat. The ‘cave’ house is fabulous but, as you so rightly point out, a money-pit for sure and in a village we don’t know, a long way from our friends and community. On a day like this, I look around at the hills and feel like bottling out. But we have to be practical. We need to be closer to James’ school and to my mum, and to have fewer outgoings in order to live a more balanced life. I suppose we should grab this and jump, trusting all will be well.

Normally I would have blogged about it yesterday, got it out my system. But yesterday the CL site didn’t feel a particularly friendly place. It suddenly reminded me of my old school playground: some staunch good friends, for sure, but also some spiteful girls in whispering huddles. I am, I freely admit, far too thin-skinned for my own good.

I also took very much to heart what madcow said about the site feeling like a clique to newcomers. Suddenly stepping back, I could see what she meant. Friendships seem to develop very swiftly on-line. Partly I think it’s because of the anonymity – it’s easy to talk about feelings and quite deep things with your screen, rather than real live people. Secondly, there is the immediacy. In real life, particularly rural life, you don’t see people every day, every hour – but often only every week or even less. Intimacy takes time to build in the real world; in cyberspace it happens very fast.

I was reasonably popular at junior school. Then my father died (on the eve of going to senior school) and suddenly I wasn’t. My father’s death left me with the twin legacies of asthma and depression. I was withdrawn, remote, bullied and sad. I made friends with the one girl who seemed sadder than me – a girl with curvature of the spine who couldn’t do sports, who couldn’t run with the pack.
When I think back, I suspect I was drawn to writing as a career as it is – primarily – a solitary sport. Yes, you can work in offices; yes, as a journalist you have to go out and interview people; but at the end of the day it’s just you and your computer. I worked in newspaper offices and hated it – they were hotbeds of vicious competition. ‘Creative conflict’ was considered a Good Thing. I don’t work like that. I believe in networking, in helping people, in sharing round the goodies.

‘It’s a dog-eat-dog world, Jane, don’t you know that?’ one girl said to me, as she stabbed me neatly and precisely in the back.
Yes, it had dawned on me. I also realised that it wasn’t possible to work on a national newspaper and have any form of life/work balance – if you had lunch you were considered to be slacking. The very thought of having a baby was the kiss of death.

So, escaping to the country, even though it meant a huge drop in salary and security, was a godsend. Bye-bye bitchiness and eye-clawing. But it does get lonely sometimes, particularly when you’re as cut-off as we are here.

People think it’s funny that I have on-line friends, a little sad even. They can’t figure out why I’d want to write when it’s what I do for a living. But this isn’t writing to order, to deadlines, to fulfil a brief. It’s writing for fun, for the sheer joy of words, for communicating to people, for sharing experiences. It’s a very necessary balance to my everyday work.

Funnily enough, as I write this, I think I am working out how I feel a bit more. The playground analogy is telling as, I think, yesterday I did feel like a child again – hurt, withdrawing into my shell, scurrying up the apple tree or into my hut in the wood to get away from it all.

But, if I put my adult hat on, I can realise that – try as we might – we cannot expect any place (whether playground, office or website) to be places that are always full of joy and light. We can’t expect absolutely everyone to like us, or understand us, or be on our side. We can’t always get picked for the rounders’ team! But equally, it’s OK to have a ‘gang’. It’s alright to be popular. It’s not necessary to feel guilty about coming out on top from time to time.
It’s a bit of a lesson to toughen up. It’s a bit of a lesson to stop the hand-wringing and to put aside the crushing feeling of ‘I don’t deserve.’
Phew. I’m not sure that makes any kind of sense whatsoever, but what the hell.
Last night I told a friend who is going through a very dark place to write out her feelings. ‘It helps, you know,’ I said. This morning, I have taken my own advice and it does help. It also feels very wide-open somehow. Not sure if I’ll press the button and send or not. Oh, what the hell. I can always scuttle back up the apple-tree.

1 comment:

leon said...

if you don't feel like blogging it doesn't show. the things you write and the pictures you show makes me feel, and I'm sure this goes for the majority of us at purple coo, that we are truly sharing something real and oftimes wonderful.