Picking Up The Pieces

As this new year starts, I am very conscious of the person I want to become.  Having explored this arena for the last ten years, I feel I am finally getting closer, day by day.  

Having read an online excerpt of Matt Haig’s new book, Reasons To Stay Alive, I headed down to Waterstones one lunch break to buy it.  I have it in my bag this morning, but haven’t started reading yet.  I’m still floored by having finished Disclaimer, by Renée Knight, a recent debut chart topper.  With reviews comparing it to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynnn, another book that had a profound effect on me, I know I can write something like it, something clever.  My mind fails me with logic sometimes (I am, however, plentiful in Jodie Logic) but I can knit together the perfect tale in my mind.  

As I wait for the train to leave Gunnersbury, I think back to the reason for writing this post.   I think back to being in the car during the Christmas break, and hearing Jess Glynne’s Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself on the radio, and vowing that I would not be so hard on myself this year.  I am my own worst critic; I don’t publish blogs because I don’t believe they are good enough to read.  I start but quickly abandon any form of fictional writing because I just don’t believe I can get it out of my head and onto paper without it sounding stupid.  The minuscule amounts of creativity that bubble to my surface are quashed because I  just don’t believe in myself.  So when I say I can write like some of the current bestselling authors, I do believe I can; but there is that other part of me, the one that says no you can’t, don’t be so stupid!

Buying my soya latte this morning (a recent experiment to see if I was lactose intolerant which has really become a morning ritual), I decided to buy a gingerbread man (I do realise the epic faildom of screwing up my gluten-avoidance with this action by the way).  Anyway, the first gingerbread man I picked up and put down again, because I could see that his leg was broken off.  As I put the packet back and selected the perfect one behind it which was intact, I had second thoughts, and instead picked up the broken man I’d originally had in my hand.  

Don’t be so hard on yourself, I thought.  And don’t be so hard on broken gingerbread men.  They’ve done nothing wrong.  

Happy New Year everyone. 

Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself – Jess Glynne (2015)


The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 17

Today I have learned a lesson in life.  Well several lessons actually.  I finally heard back about the flatshare in London.  The tenant gave me a call this evening to say that someone else had taken the room.  While I was polite on the phone, thanking her for a calling me, as soon as I hung up I could feel the tears stinging my eyes.  It wasn’t like it was unexpected; I’d decided once I hadn’t heard from them by the end of the weekend that they must have chosen someone else.  I think what got me is like other aspects of my life – job hunting, internet dating – the ultimate choice is out of my control.  I can be rejected at the first hurdle.  Whereas before when I’ve looked at rented properties, I’ve been the one deciding whether I’m going to take it or not, now my fate is in the hands of the current tenant, as to whether they believe I am someone they can get on with.  While I’m trying not to take it personally, ultimately they chose someone else over me, which is the same thing I am hearing several times a week about jobs I’ve applied for.

I know that one thing I’m not very good at is looking on the bright side, unless I’m looking so far at the bright side I’m ignoring the real problem or issue.  I have been told more than once today that I shouldn’t allow myself to get so down about things.  I look at friends who don’t worry, and I wish I could be more like them.  I guess I have to learn to let go; to have faith.

I knew that whether I got this particular flat or not, that it was meant to be.  I am a strong believer in fate, in what will be, will be.  So why do I find it so hard to accept the paths that fate lays out for me, and to be happy that something else will come along when the time is right?  I do feel that way now, but it took a good few hours of tears and laughs with friends to forget the reason why I started crying in the first place.

Anyway, this has left me with the realisation that everybody I know is right – that I should get my essays finished, then concentrate on the rest of my life.  Since I have one essay due tomorrow, one on Thursday then two on Friday 3rd, I’m not really going to have time to dash back to London for viewings, and trawling through spareroom.co.uk or gumtree.com takes time, so I think I’m going to have to wait until I’m done with uni.

As much as I hate admitting that I am wrong, and everyone else is right, I guess this is one of those times.  But I have to have faith in myself; to believe that my inner compass is guiding me in the right direction.  In the past, things have turned out when I’ve followed my heart, although equally things have crashed and burned, when others warned me they would, and I refused to believe them.  I guess what I’m trying to say, is that this is my life to lead, and I have to make my own mistakes.  While there may be times, like today, when I get upset over things that really aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things, I’m a believer.  Otherwise I would have given up years ago.

I have a lot of self-belief, but I also have a lot of self-doubt.  Rejection, in whatever form, be it for a job, for a tenancy, is hard, and it’s easy to use it to beat yourself up with (and I’m an expert in that field).  I hope that one day soon, I’ll be able not to take things so negatively, but right now I’m so close to the start of what is the life I’ve been searching for, and I’m shit-scared that maybe it doesn’t exist.  So bear with me, but feel free to tell me to get over myself.  Friends have done that today, and I’ve needed it.

So now to get back to my essay.  I’m about two-thirds done, but feel confident about getting it finished in time for tomorrow’s deadline.  I’m enjoying the writing, and the re-reading of the novel, and I’m enjoying the knowledge that soon I’ll be able to do writing and reading just for fun.  No homework, no deadlines.  Just for me.