I read other blogs and websites – lots of them. This one in particular makes me feel “shit, that’s what I was trying (and failing) to say”. And reading all these different writings leaves me feeling both good and bad. It’s good to feel some understanding out there in the big cold universe. It’s bad to feel like I do such a poor job at that communicating myself.

It reminds me of that Ira Glass quote on taste:

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you.”

Anyway, it’s okay – and I say this not in a defeatist way – but being a good writer is not what I’m striving for here. It’s really cool to read stuff by people who are masters of their craft, but I don’t have to be that. I don’t have to be good at everything I do. It’s okay to be average. I’m pretty damned lucky to be a little bit good at most things I put my mind to – and that’s kind of an awkward thing to say, like I’m talking myself up or something. When I was younger a lot of my self-esteem was tied up in appearing to be awesome at stuff and then getting stressed over non-stop imposter syndrome feelings. But I digress (actually, isn’t this whole thing a giant digression each morning?!) – the point of this, insomuch as there is one, is actually just self-communication.

All the same, sometimes I worry that this Universe in a Ball is a bit boring, small and repetitive. And I’m sorry about that. It’s a reflection of a mind that is – if not quite boring, small and repetitive – obsessive and petty at times. I need to go over and over the same point until one day I’ve incrementally worn new pathways into my brain and I’m finally capable of making change.

So, the wheel of me is dipping into the following familiar topics and feelings today:

  • My sore back made me slow down without guilt. I spent a chunk of time reading in bed yesterday evening and I felt all “this is holiday, this is good” about it. And I didn’t feel guilty. I want to access more of that feeling in my life.
  • Guilt is a killer. I want to trigger way less of that in my life.
  • I am wondering when I’ll get back to running.
  • I worry my kids aren’t eating right. I feel like I’ve been stressing over that since they were born. It’s really wearing and I would really like to lessen its impact as a “thing” in my life.
  • I have now arranged a small friend-not-family party for upcoming 40. Ugh to the social and organisational anxiety that comes with that.
  • Productivity, my lack of it, whether it’s actually so good to focus on it so much.
  • I’m concerned that I haven’t spent close to as much time on creativity as I’d intended to this Summer.
  • The looming shadow of the new school term, coupled with self-criticism for living in a future four weeks away.

You know, I feel guilty about nearly everything I do or don’t do to some degree.

My second point there is key – guilt is the anvil against which I’m crushing every aspect of my life. There isn’t a single thought in my mind that isn’t tinged with guilt (and then meta-guilt as I recognise the negative impact of this shame on my life) to some degree. So I have guilt-guilt! All I have to do is outline it in gold and I’ll have gilt guilt-guilt.

Okay, jokes aside, I’m feel a bit shocked at how big of a driving engine this one emotion is in my life. It manifests in multiple different ways inside me: judging, shaming, whipping, even exhilarating me at times – raising me to Icharean heights when I respond to the shame-whipping, then crashing crushing paralysis when I fail to reach perfection and the guilt-spiders clamber all over me, and I feel frozen and incapable of doing anything if I can’t do it all.

It’s hard to breath through and reach the next emotion when your nose and mouth are filled with guilt-spiders. But maybe seeing them is the first step on the path to escape.