From time to time over the last few decades I’ve attended many writing workshops, usually ones run by the wonderful Roselle Angwin. The most recent (in 2009, I discover to my astonishment) was a weekend entitled ‘Stranger than Fiction’ and involved writing our life stories. I disgraced myself in my eyes by sobbing for almost the whole two days but nobody seemed to mind and, as I kept saying, it was such a relief to be in a place where you could be unhappy. Not that I was unhappy, but I’d tapped into a place within myself that didn’t normally find expression.
Over the last few months I’ve found myself in some dark places. This is I suppose partly because of everything that’s been happening, starting with my mother’s death in February. It’s also because of the blog in which I’ve opened up several subjects I normally keep under wraps. And now, with the turning of the year, the world itself is darkening.
I suspect that my migraines are the dark places struggling to get out, and for the last two weeks, in advance of the visit of my brother and sister-in-law J and K, I’ve been suffering on and off with the condition. This is not because of J and K, because nobody could be kinder, but because they represent Family and for me the negative connotations of Family outweigh the positive.
Yesterday evening, 36 hours after J and K left, I thought I was better and I celebrated with a glass of wine. Big Mistake. I woke in the night feeling dreadful again. My emotions were in turmoil. Obviously the blog, which was supposed to be a healing exercise, wasn’t working. What’s more, I’d upset another member of the family with some of the things I’d been saying.
‘I’m going to stop blogging,’ I said to Frog, ‘and delete everything I’ve written.’
‘No,’ he mumbled with admirable perspicacity given that he was at least three-quarters asleep.
Immediately I felt better.
This blog – at present – is revealing a side of me that I’ve kept hidden for my family’s sake for much of my life. It’s bound to cause trouble. But to be whole and healthy I need to come clean about that side, and this blog is the only place I have at the moment where I can. I just have to keep going.