I went for a walk in the forest near where I live this morning. It was a jog turned walk turned sitting on a log & contemplating life. It is a wonderful forest. This particular day it was so full of life and buzzing with fairy-tale magic that it would not feel amiss placed in any of The Lord of the Rings books. The buzzing of bees, the all-consuming birdsong, the cheerful flow of the river over the lazy stones, the growing & blooming of all that is beautiful and marvellous: bluebells, wild garlic, curling fern leaves, the intensely perfumed smell of hawthorn trees, the sunlight playing on the foliage above your head, the robins, blackbirds, ducks, blue tits, tree creepers, finches, grey wagtails, jackdaws and even the occasional shouts of peacocks in a neighbouring farm filled my heart with so much pure delight that I felt like I would like to live in that forest forever.
While I was sitting looking at the river & absorbing the fullness of life around me, I was thinking about my childhood. I was thinking about that fearless, adventurous, loving, creative child who did not give a penny what anyone thought of her. And then the teenage years came, and with them fear, anxiety, jealousy, depression, laziness and ,most tragically, the overwhelming desire to be liked, admired, accepted. The need to fit in. And I scattered all the pearls I had to the pigs without a moment of hesitation. What I most desired then was being one of those magazine cover ladies, with expensive clothes, perfectly blow dried hair, enticing figure and, most importantly, popularity; the ability to inspire the desire in others to have you, to know you, to be seen with you. There are a good many old-fashioned words which some people might dislike but the fact is they hit straight to the point, as much as in modern day people like to go round in circles. The one appropriate here is vanity. Yes, vanity, and I have no shame in saying it. I do not believe in the currently fashionable philosophy of dismissing all your faults because ‘you need to have more self-love’. Contrary to popular belief, I think real self-love is recognising your own behaviours which are poisonous at the very least, and in some years have a great potential to completely steal your joy. Real self-love, I think, is pulling out the weeds so that flowers can grow, instead of watering the weeds and the flowers together.
Anyway, I stray away from the subject which I’m sure still remains a mystery to you. So basically, sitting on a log absorbed in all the beauty I was thinking about my childhood and all the creative pursuits I had back then. I drew (apparently really well for my young age), I wrote (actual fiction!), acted in theatre, published & sold a magazine about cats in primary school, even wrote (& performed!) some primitive songs completed with sheet music. And now here I am 26 years old, only starting to build my life now and having abandoned all of those creative pursuits. Yes I’m building a photography business right now and it’s wonderful, but what about writing? And drawing? And really trying to do something, to make a difference in the world. The image is not pretty. I graduated from one degree, worked in customer service for a year, started another degree and dropped out in the final year. The image is not pretty. And now that the prolonged lockdown in the UK got me into a state of near despair & depression I want to finally do something. Create something. Add my little contribution to the world.
So I begin with writing. I am entirely astonished and really grateful that having been away from this space for years I still have something like 193 followers. People who don’t even know me. I don’t know how that happened but I’m so grateful to each and every one of you. Because every single creative thing I do is constantly stopped by the fear of not being good enough. And the fact that 193 people signed up to read these intensely personal and not very cohesive ramblings is proof that at least some of you really like the way I write. And it feels really wrong to say that, that’s how rubbish I feel about any of my talents (if I even dare to call them that). But I’ll make my inner critic shut up now and for once in my life just do, the way I just did in my childhood. Because creativity gives me the kind of life that no other work ever did.