It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted a blog and I’m sitting here feeling distinctly nervous. So forgive me as I fumble and feel my way back into this. Many years back, I wrote a piece for YOU magazine on the power of blogging…you can read it here. Reading it back, it strikes me how much blogging has changed in the last ten years. Nowadays, it seems, far fewer people are blogging as a means of reaching out, or as a simple form of writing therapy. Blogging has become a huge big bloated business. Maybe that’s why I’ve been so reticent about returning to it. I’m not too good at staying ‘on message’. I’m rubbish at ‘building my brand’. I flinch at the thought of ‘curating my content’ to attract advertisers. So, for the longest time I stayed frozen. I just posted up features I’d written, in the hopes that there might be something useful for someone in there. Yet I flinched at the thought of returning to ‘real’ blogging.
This year, however, something has shifted. I’m feeling fallible, vulnerable – far more so than for a very long time. There are good reasons for this. I’ve finally moved into my own home. I’m living alone for the first time in 25 years. Although it was something I chose, something I wanted, inevitably it brings up emotions. You don’t turn your entire life around without making ripples in your psyche. Or waves. Or even a whole tsunami or two. I’ve also felt, very firmly, a sense of my own mortality. There’s nothing like finding it hard to breathe to put life in context. So, I am feeling the urge to talk, to communicate. If our bodies speak in metaphors (and I feel they do), mine clearly wants to ‘get things off my chest’ (and not just a barrage of mucus).
I was reminded of the power of writing as therapy at the weekend. A good friend is travelling so we aren’t able to meet up to talk the way we used to. We manage the occasional chat on Facetime but our last conversation collapsed into that awful ‘Hello? Hello? Can you still hear me? I can’t hear you!’ frustration. So she sent me an email. She spoke about how she felt; her worries; her anxieties; her dilemmas. It was honest and clear and from the heart. She wasn’t asking for me to fix anything; she just wanted someone to listen. She said that, by the time she’d finished the email, she was already feeling better. Just by putting out her thoughts on (virtual) paper, she felt clearer. I urged her to keep writing; to keep splurging out her thoughts. Just as in face-to-face ‘proper’ therapy, I believe we usually know the answers at some level – we just need to coax our subconscious to let the answers float up.
So, I’m following my own advice (something I’m not too good at). I’m taking a big breath (rasping and gasping as I do) and am going to hit ‘publish’.