Thursday, 6 April 2017

Would You Just... Challenge Those Thoughts?

I know it's not important, because I could be a bunch of atoms making up some eggy moss on an alien planet, I could be a deep-sea creature that tastes everything it eats purely through its anus, I could be Katie Hopkins (!) -- and yet I get to be me, drinking maibocks in the evening sun and listening to the Rolling Stones and eating hummus -- so, yes, I know it's not important, that in the grand scheme of things I'm ridiculously lucky to even be existing at all, let alone existing on a mostly tranquil planet as part of a mostly civilised race of people (excepting Katie Hopkins) that has evolved to the extent of inventing hummus, and I am grateful, don't get me wrong -- but this daily blogging thing is still really bloody difficult.

Here is what the voice in my head is currently saying:

"OK, dude, looks like you got away with those last two posts, somehow -- guess you were so pathetically honest and vulnerable that people actually found you endearing or whatever -- but don't ever try that shit again! Time to quit now, seriously, before you make a real fool of yourself."

It's crazy, isn't it? It can't be just me who has a voice like this, forever criticising, forever worrying, keeping me small and subdued. Maybe I've just been listening to mine for longer than most, been boarding that train so often the service becomes regular.

But there are things you can do to fight back. Actually, no, let's not do the macho-militaristic thing, because balls to that. But there are things you can do to find more love in your life.

Being mindful is one. Returning yourself to your centre, to your station platform, again and again and again, instead of simply letting the thoughts drag you down pre-set tracks without your consent. Thoughts are only that, ephemeral, transient things, and the more you bring yourself back from them the more you align with the person at the centre to which the thoughts are happening. Not the clouds coming and going, but the tranquil unchanging sky behind them.

Another thing you can do is to challenge the thoughts themselves. Mindfulness brings you back to the platform, but it takes some more work to question whether the train routes are still beneficial, whether it is worth putting in the effort to lay down new tracks.

Take this fear I've got over blogging, over people seeing and rejecting my unpolished, unedited "naked" self. This fear may have been a coping mechanism when I was an unpopular and bullied teenager, sensing that I was too different from my classmates and the only way to prevent the daily abuse was to break down who I was and reforge myself as someone who fitted in, someone who liked football and FHM Magazine and laughed at the popular kids' awful jokes and definitely didn't read The Lord of the Rings cover to cover complete with all the appendices and some of the Silmarillion as well.

This censoring of self may have worked at the time, to an extent. It may have guarded me from the worst of the abuse, been the necessary signal to the others that I was willing to put my head down and step back in line and remain part of the group. I don't know. But over the years it has hardened into an ingrained unconscious behaviour that makes me feel (I think, I mean, I'm not a psychologist or anything) that who I "naturally" am is somehow deeply flawed, repulsive, lacking, and to show anyone this side of me is to risk shame, banishment, isolation, death.

Or maybe everyone feels a bit like this.

But it's probably time to challenge these thoughts. I've lived for so long by them, and by many others like them, and so far it's not been that successful.

If I ask myself what matters to me, as who I am today, not who I was when I was 14, it turns out that what ______ or ______ think about my clumsy writing is not at the top of the list. Nor in fact, is what pretty much anyone thinks of my writing, in terms of what they think of me.

I just enjoy doing it, and I hope it'll be helpful to some people. So I'm carrying on.

Working all day tomorrow, but might try to do something little late at night. If not then Saturday.



  1. Keep on this thought path and you will find yourself! The real self who is a decent Lord of the Rings nerd like so many of us and who realises that if the others dont like it thats their loss.......there is a whole new world of wonderfulness in you to explore from that mindfullness platform