Back in March, I wrote an open letter to the readers of 1001-Up.com to explain that I was going to be less visible on the site for a time. Unfortunately real life sometimes gets in the way of things you want to do and it’s necessary to take a step back.
As I explained in that letter, there are major things happening in my personal life at the moment and they’re taking up most of my time. I’m still not ready to go into detail about what they are although maybe one day I’ll write about my experiences; but going on holiday and being away from what I’ll call my ‘situation’ has given me some space to think. I need to get a little more down on paper, even if nobody reads these words, in a selfish act of catharsis that will perhaps bring some clarity.
Writing has been difficult lately. It’s normally my escape and both 1001-Up.com and The Mental Attic are places I can retreat to, but the words haven’t been coming as fluidly. I just can’t seem to find the inspiration or a topic that interests me for long enough before my mind starts wandering to other things, and I become distracted too easily. That’s not to say I want to give it up; I love being involved with both sites and I now can’t imagine not being a part of the team. But I miss the words as if they were old friends who I haven’t seen in a while, and I’m concerned that it may be some time before they return.
You see, when I’m writing I feel as if I should be attending to matters within my situation that are pretty consuming at present. But when I do this I worry I’m neglecting the sites and my teammates who have put in so much hard work. I feel torn between the two at times, never sure which I should concentrate on at a given moment, and my mind is constantly battling with itself over this and a hundred other things. I can never switch off, and I’m not even sure I know how to any more.
Everyone has been saying that some time away will do me good as some distance from my situation will help put it into perspective. But even here I can’t seem to find peace or sort the things going around in my head into some kind of order. Sitting on a sunbed, underneath an azure sky, the pool just a step away and with the sound of water running down a stone wall spilling over everything; and I still can’t manage to shut my mind off.
It’s all about keeping a constant level of emotion. I know they say you can’t appreciate the highs without experiencing the lows – but the lows can be downright bloody painful sometimes. I don’t want to be in a constant state of fluctuating emotions, always waiting for the next piece of bad news or difficult decision that requires my attention because somebody else can’t deal with it; and that’s the reason why I still can’t find any peace here, even in this beautiful location away from it all. If I relax too much I may find happiness, then when I return home it’s going to be taken away and my situation will be that much harder to deal with. It’s just easier to stay at a constant level and try to avoid both the highs and lows of emotion right now.
I should really apologise to my friends and others around me, because these aren’t things I’ve discussed with anyone and they’re likely to tell me I should have talked to them about how I’m feeling. I know they worry and I appreciate their concern. But whether I talk to them or not, my situation is still going to be there and the only person who’s capable of driving it forward is me. Sometimes I need to retreat from everyone to process what’s going on around me and I can’t do that if I share my thoughts with others. And besides, there are only so many times I can bear to hear the words: “Are you ok?”
That’s been the hardest thing through all of this: those three little words. It’s a question I’m asked at least several times a day and I’m never entirely sure how people want or expect me to respond. They seem to not believe me when I tell them I’m fine, but what answer would they prefer to hear? That everything is changing, I’m not sure where I belong right now, I don’t know what’s going to happen from one day to the next, and I’m in what feels like a constant state of mild anxiety?
For anyone who has just read that and is now starting to worry about me, please don’t. Truly I’m fine, or as fine as my situation will allow me to be right now. My life may be changing but this is my decision you see. I’ve decided to alter its course and, while things will generally get worse before they start becoming better, I’m content with that. It was the right choice to make regardless of how difficult it’s going to be, and although it might not seem like it right now I know I’ll be happier in the long run.
And I promise I’m OK.