Monday, 1 May 2017

Vulnerable isn't a dirty word.

Recently a friend recommended this Ted talk on Vulnerability. I've been having a bit of a rocky time of late and she wanted to find some words of inspiration for me, some comfort. In essence the idea is those who are able to be vulnerable, to be seen, not matter how afraid, ashamed and fearful - experience the most joy in life. Those who show their vulnerability tend to be those who feel they are worthy of love, who feel they are 'enough.'

It's an interesting concept, one I have been pondering on, because lately I've felt about as far from good 'enough' as possible. I've felt like the last kid to be picked for the team, the girl who sits on the bench at the dance, the woman who stands alone in the middle of a huge party, as the clock chimes midnight on NYE. Deep down, I don't think I'm good enough to be a writer as a profession and my waking moments are spent waiting to be 'found out.' Each set of notes sent back to me break me out in a sweat, a fear that I won't know how to fix anything, that my well of ideas and solutions will run dry, that I'll be taken off the script and finally, at last the truth will be confirmed - that I am NOT good 'enough.'

What should be a joyful and fun experience, instead becomes one of absolute misery. I turn myself inside out with stress, fretful of failing, not earning, surviving, fashioning another career out of rubble. I send myself loopy. 

When I left my full-time job back in 2014 I didn't feel that afraid. I felt relief. Finally, I was able to parent my kids and even though I had precious little time to write while my daughter was at nursery, I felt sure everything would be ok. I threw myself into writing trials for shows and writing a spec script and just loved it all. I felt the fear and did it the heck anyway. Maybe I felt I had nothing to lose, I can't remember. All I know is that I had a sense of everything working out - a true gut feeling...

And it did. 

Until it didn't. The company that had been using me regularly decided out of the blue not to any more - no word of warning, no chance at redemption, no hint of this previously - just BOOM - you are gone. Like a rug pulled from under your feet. Yes, yes... this is the life of a writer people say.... but that doesn't make it easier. Not one jot. 

All of a sudden, it feels like starting again. The sheer terror of attempting to drag my confidence off the floor again is crippling. I look at my kids' faces, as they innocently ask for things and I feel enormous pressure to provide - this overwhelms me - which ironically is about as far away from feeling creative as you can get. I've really struggled with my sense of worth, whether or not I'm capable and all the shame that accompanies such feelings. 

This all feeds the monster that is anxiety, until he grows so tall, you can't see anything - least of all any light. It's made me want to hide away, to not see friends, to not face the world - because I worry my inadequacy is written across my face. It has honestly been mentally exhausting. Every time this year I have had one tiny piece of good news, within the space of a few days, something has happened to knock that back - or to throw another huge curveball my way. I tell myself I'm robust, I can cope, I'm an Aries for gawds sake. But it's like the car is trying run on no gas... The fire in my belly has gone out. A friend told me to write my way out of it... this haze, this grey time. It reminded me I used to write here all the time... and in doing so I never felt alone. I always felt supported... It was ok to be vulnerable, to not know the answers, to fuck up. Because you lot were doing it too.... Being vulnerable here on my blog, felt safe. 

Watching the programme last week on 'Mind over Marathon' - where 10 people with mental health issues ran the London marathon - reduced me to tears. The courage these folk had, running for 'Heads Together' charity humbled me. But it also made me realise that it is so good to talk about feeling down, feeling as if we have failed, about not feeling 'good enough.' There is no shame in it. Trying to hide it, wearing a mask pretending all is just hunky dory when inside we are a mess, is what makes everything a million times worse. 

So I'm trying to work through this time - the one where I wake at 5am every day in a panic that I am doomed - the one where my heart races all the time and I can't eat. The one where I am reduced to tears in a heartbeat, where I doubt myself to my core and where I have lost all faith. Part of me tells myself in a thick Irish accent to 'dry yer eyes and get on with it...' - that there is no problem a cup of tea and hug from a buddy won't solve. I take wisdom from my children's films and as Dory says, I just keep swimming. I'll let you know when I get to the other side.... 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You may enjoy the books by the kind, wise Zen teacher Cheri Huber; especially the one titled 'There is Nothing Wrong with You' which is subtitled "A compassionate process for learning to accept yourself exactly as you are". All of her books can be found on Amazon and she has her own website too. Hope this helps :o)