Posted by: Natalie | April 15, 2010

Habitual Liar

It’s not lying, exactly, but I am a creature of habit. I have a habit of not really being able to express what I am feeling to others. Its one thing to type about it in this sphere because the readers are faceless, there is a boundary between what I digest internally and the real world. I am protected.

One of the ‘down sides’ of choosing to write at home is that everything happens inside my head. Everything is voiced to me and only to me (other than the ramblings I put on here). I understand how those deemed as ‘creative’ can become depressed and melancholy because inside them self doubt prevails. Criticism and a lack of belief in one’s work is a demon that I fight against almost constantly – I’ve never really felt as if I am of any worth, and I am not saying this to be dramatic, its just that my external confidence is more often than not a complete lie.

When I was teaching I KNEW I was good at my job. I knew what I had to do to excel. Steve would often say that he wished I could bring some of that self belief home with me. But the truth is, what helped was that I would come home and vent. Steve would stand silently in the kitchen nursing his cup of tea while I ranted and raved, sobbed and shouted about my work. Talking worked, he kept the demons away (to some extent) and my passion could shine through. But through the talking I could also show how excited I was about my future dreams and desires, about the books I wanted to create and the life I want to lead.

But, over the last few months, the talking has dried up a little. I have not talked about my work and I have almost pushed people away from what I do on a daily basis. This has been caused by two things. Firstly, the working in my head. Because everything is internalised throughout the day, I find it hugely difficult to transfer this into outward speech. My brain is used by the time Steve comes home and because I feel I have had a comparatively easy day, I don’t want to ‘bother’ him with my ramblings.

This leads to the second thing. I am scared. Writing my book is putting ‘me’ on a page – a person I do not really have great faith in. And even though it is a historical novel for children and complete fiction, each character is an extension of me – they have to be. They are being born out of my experiences, my thoughts, feelings, understandings, beliefs. It is hard to show people my endeavours. I find it hard to let them into this world.

This in turn, like every vicious cycle, leads to more self doubt and more lying to myself. I refuse to admit when I need help. I also find it incredibly difficult to express just how important this dream is to me, and just how important that help is. I have no issues in trying to express gratitude and appreciation, but it often doesn’t get to this point. Like yesterday, I ordinarily get to mini meltdown point before I express all these worries and frustrations playing in my head. It takes a lot of tears to finally explain just how much I need the help of those I love and trust.

But, it was good, it was healthy. I had a good sob at Steve and poured all the nonsense out of my head. He read some of my pages and we talked about it, discussed it, thought together about how it could be improved and how it could progress. Suddenly, as if I had taken a step back into the not too distant past, I found my self relieved and excited again. It was as if I had allowed the lock to be broken and all those thoughts flitting around inside me had been set free. That ‘dreaded essay’ feeling that I had come to associate with the re-write had vanished and I could see it clearly again. So much so that I instantly booted up the laptop again and typed away through Midsomer Murders!

I guess the rule is that I should try and talk more about myself, be selfish as some might say. Well, at the very least, try and talk honestly about my writing, try not to be defensive and actually believe in myself. I know this is something I can do, but the only way I can keep tight to that is to let those close to me, and anyone who might listen, know when I am struggling and know I need help.

I have to, to some extent, stop worrying about how busy these potential listeners might be, stop worrying that they won’t care or can’t be bothered. After all, I know that is bobbins! Was it not Steve who believed in me enough to suggest I take this path? Is it not the friends I have surrounded myself with who helped me find my confidence and my way through the world? Even if I struggle to understand why people care about me, I have to admit that they do. And they are there. Always.

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