The plan was to write a short reflection about how the Mouse creates, it was supposed to be a short but informative insight into how the Mouse relives the emotions of the past, lives in that very moment and that by being very present in the past, something anyone familiar with mindfulness would recognise, and letting those emotions be without doing, is part of the creative and therapeutic process.
But, that seems pointless, contrived and irrelevant. The first reflection was a spontaneous reaction to life. I need to write, not talk, write about life. Writing is a discipline and a craft when you talk it can be about flowing and the thoughts are left unchecked and unmarshalled. When you write, even when you are a decent typist, the flow has to be slowed down, there needs to be a moulding of the thought into words. Emotions are marshalled and made to adhere to rules of spelling and grammar. While the piece itself can meander and wander, within that there are rules of structure that mean writing is a creative therapy. Writing makes me think in a way talking never can. With writing you have the chance to edit, to reform and rework a thought, and when you do, the feelings and driving forces of that thought can be explored, not just to craft an accurate expression but also you can delve into the deeper roots of that thought. Writing allows you the chance to examine the roots, logical base and evidence of a thought, of an emotion, of your feelings and by marshalling those elements, writing is therapy where you can be counsellor and patient at the same time. Much like saying a thought out loud can reveal the absolutely baseless and ludicrous nature of that thought, feeling and emotion, writing it can reveal that the ridiculous thought is without roots in reality or it can reveal the very thread of reality that leads to what lies beneath. You can literally enter the rabbit hole and see how deep it goes. When you do, if you commit to the process of not stopping, not bailing out, you can reveal what lies within. This can expose trauma, hurt, insecurity, anxieties, it can disturb demons, and stir up a storm of emotions, which is fraught with its own dangers. However, the reason you can raise the storm is because that storm exists to be stirred, these are the unresolved elements of a past in turmoil. By disturbing them you do not create anything, you reveal everything.
Here I am today, my biopsy results are not officially in, just I was rung and told that nothing worrying was found, in other words, there is no cancer was found this time. Of course, the fact, this time, finishes the sentence is not without importance. This marks the start, rather than the finish. I know the cells are classified as precancerous, that is what growing up with medical professional parents, having been a medical professional and hanging out with medical professionals does for you. It makes you able to research the medical literature and miss the pitfalls of google by reference to a textbook when you need to get started; either that or you know someone in the field who you can ask. It is a blessing and a curse. What no amount of culture or training can do is stop you being worried, stop those that love you being worried. It doesn’t stop them knowing people who have lost husbands, wives, friends to cancer at near enough your age, it cannot make it less close to home. So while that wait is over, the wait to see what, if anything is next lies ahead, not having the actual results, makes the predictions and likely outcomes all completely theoretical, and discussions fruitless.
I also have to handle the fact that once again I am in pain, once again I am taking morphine, and once again I am using a little alcohol to finish the job the painkillers are not doing. Overall, physically, I feel rough, what is worse is that it is showing, people have started to notice that I am grey and look unwell. So there is a fuss, which while for many would be a welcome acknowledgement, for me fuss pushes a lot of fear buttons. Being ill, unwell and taking on the patient role was not a positive experience. Growing up illness meant you had to work harder, you definitely could not rest if you were fighting through. It was awful, I hated it, the only good bit was getting Heinz tomato soup and being allowed 2 slices of bread instead of one. This pattern continued into adult life, recovery was something that happened to professional athletes, definitely not me. That could be why I wanted to be a professional athlete, they got sick they rested, they got injured, they got rested up, given rehab and special recovery. Their special fuss wasn’t to made to feel like a burden that had to work extra hard to cover for the fact of being less capable due to illness or injury. I learned nothing stops for you, and if you don’t do it, then it is waiting for you and more when you come back. No one covers for you, no one picks up your slack. I guess, the fuss was never a positive association, and I am having a hard time breaking that association. The worse thing was always that I wasn’t looking to quit or opt out, I was hoping for a break and a rest to get my energy back. Responsibility and obligations you don’t get to quit. I’d love to say that stopped as an adult, but I had to wait till this relationship to be with someone who works harder when you are ill doing things that are beyond you so you don’t have to. My wife stayed with me all day when I was admitted to the assessment unit, took the day off work, was there till 4am when I was finally admitted and then was back as soon as the ward opened and stayed with me till the end and she had to go. This was the first time, in my whole life, anyone stayed with that long. There were no complaints, I was not a burden, it was to make sure I was ok, nothing more. I feel, perhaps I should focus more on the fact that I had this happen at all, because there are people who will never experience it, but at the same time I feel that something was very wrong given the number of admissions from childhood onwards that I was in my mid-forties when the first occasion occurred. That was something that happened on TV or films, not in real life. Somehow, even being ill, is breaking new ground as an experience for me, which is something to process in itself.
In this context, creativity has felt very much a side thing, I have created, but it has been slow, and I feel lightweight. There is so much unfinished around the office/studio, there is a whole load of writing project work that lies sketchy at best, not ordered, or formed to anywhere near where I want it to be. I look around and nothing is finished, everything is parked up and pending. It’s not messy, which, I have learned is how I create, it is chaotic, which is not something I do well. I am organised, but I am not neat, I am prepared but I am not necessarily orderly. I have systems and I get things done, but I am no minimalist or neatnik. At this time it is not creative disorder, it is not everything at the ready, it is a state, and I am finding it hard to work through to where I need to be. I have too much stuff a minimalist would say, yet everything has been used inside 6 months so thowing away is difficult. A first world problem for sure, however, creatively, it is slowing me down when I am already not working at full speed.
Coupled with my reduced work capacity and output overall is that my concentration capacity is reduced. Which impacts my reading, that is frustrating. What also frustrates me is how material has moved to audio and video. I am a relatively fast reader, and so reading compared to listening means I can get through a lot more material; I am used to devouring much more than is possible when the medium is audio or video. What takes an hour to say I can read in much much less, and I process the written word much more easily. I am dyslexic and listening is hitting me in my dyslexic breadbasket, that is an area most affected. Whereas my ability to read, synthesise, understand and summarise is 99th percentile, my reading out loud is around 3rd and my listening comprehension doesn’t get out the teens. I guess that could be the fact my dyslexia comes with a significant number of ADD traits. I have a great tangle, that helps enormously with my finger fidgeting in a positive way.
I had no plan for my reflection; all that professional training on how to do a structured reflection that I could use and I am sitting at a keyboard wondering what I was actually reflecting on, why it is gone midnight and my brain is working now instead of when it would be much more socially acceptable to be working, and what it is I set out to achieve when I started writing.
Which is the point, I had no plan, I just wrote, I wrote what came into my mind, what pushed itself to the top. I shared that consciousness, and now my thoughts have lost coherence and structure I am done. But, I don’t want to be done. I want be deep, meaningful, heck, I want likes and follows too. Which is a complete derailing of the blog, its purposes and reasons for being.
This blog has just had its’ first birthday, yet for much of that nothing happened until, well, until I changed my mindset. Nothing changes unless you do was so true. I decided that rather than locking myself into purely therapy postings and being focussed on the traumas of abuse, coercive control and violence, I was opening up the field to the creative. In probably an ironic turn, by saying anything goes, I ended up heavily focussed on abuse, coercive control and violence. By saying I didn’t to only look to the past, I have in fact been very heavily focussed on the past. I wanted the blog to serve me, I was not even sure I wanted readers, I am not sure I do want readers. I left it public because I know that blogs do not shoot to fame and they do not turn any online success into monetary pressure without the sort of work and effort that I could avoid deploying. The appeal of being able to have that level of control was massive, and if it got to much there is always the option of shutting down by going password protected. As an enterprise, blogging offered safety and security a theme in my life. I crave safety and security, materially, emotionally, creatively – in all aspects, any risk has to come with a safety net. I have rolled the dice risked everything and lost, that loss was devastating. The learning experience I could do without, the successes amazing as the are feel diminished by the fact I failed. The crushing reality that if I was forced into full-time employment that I would mentally crumble as quickly as not quicker that I would physically is a stark and unpalatably harsh reality that in the flow of the mundane and trivial I avoid very successfully indeed.
While at the same time, I am working hard, I am producing words, I am sorting and sorting, I have a business plan and a business planned. I have projects and project ideas parked up ready for the opportunity window to be opened by me when I am in the position needed to open them. I would hesitate to say ready, and we are never really ready for what chasing our dreams will really mean. I would say I am chasing my dreams, but this was never my dream. I could not have dreamed of this, I did not know the life I have was possible, that it was something that could exist. Not in real life, not in the life I was expected to have, not in the life of one so broken and in need of being fixed. I cannot say I am making it happen, that would sound like I am forcing something. Instead of me making things happen, they are happening, life is creating the spaces needed for me to be where I am. It is so impossible to describe, that setting off with the goal of being myself, that was it, being me. First making sure that me was indeed really me, healing me up or should I say, taking the journey of healing and living life as I took that path was all I had in mind. And from that goal, I saw things and I have added them as goals and pursued them. I never knew any of this was here or possible.
So where is this reflection?
It is drawing to an overdue close grateful. Not grateful for everything, definitely not saying everything happens for a reason and the universe has worked to bring me here. I do not think that. I brought me here,my decisions, my choices, good or bad, wise or stupid, I came to this place through my life. And everyone can explain the why with their own philosophy. The reality is, I gave up on why a long time ago. The why is someone else’s story, rather like Job, the long narrative is not for me, I get the journey and the whale.