Last week began with dreadful back ache. I couldn’t stand, sleep or do the hokey cokey without groaning, grumbling or making that ‘oof’ sound men make when they’re bending down, or getting up from bending down, and want to show how much effort it’s taken them.
I was under instructions to rest, which I did as much as I could but, in the words of Shakespeare, shit don’t do itself, so I still had to do the hoovering and put the washing away. You see, the ironing and cleaning fairies don’t visit this house, I think they got killed in a hideous accident on the way, so total rest is totally impossible and, as any parent knows, parents don’t get sick days.
I also couldn’t go swimming, which was disappointing. Helpful people tell you that swimming is great exercise for your back, and I’m sure it is. The problem is you can’t get your trunks on and off and if you can’t bend down then you’re kinda stuffed. And I’m not asking someone to help me. Again.
So I went on strike at home. Anything on the floor that wasn’t there ‘cos I put it there, or there because it’s supposed to be there, could sodding well stay there. I was on strike for a better future, and better pay and working conditions.
It was also conducive to this rest I was told to get.
The problem with ‘rest’ is that it’s nice in theory, but too much rest’s bad for you. Well, it is for me.
GP’s tell you to rest if you’re not feeling well. Friends and family tell you the same. But being stuck at home with Homes Under The Hammer isn’t particularly good for your soul. It’s good to get out and about and being stuck at home makes me feel worse than I am. I tend to think, and this is always dangerous.
It was Mother’s Day recently and it’s been pointed out to me that I’ve been talking about my mum a lot, and I think this is a fair reflection. The problem is, despite advertising that states otherwise, dead people do have a tendency to come back. In your thoughts. Sometimes this is good and wonderful. In other ways it’s painful and tragic. You try to say the things you never said, but as they don’t talk back, it feels like a one way conversation. So you get angry. Angry with them, or angry with yourself.
Writing it out helps, and this is always true for me. Even if it’s just a page of something that no-one will ever read, sitting down with a piece of paper and a pen, or laptop or PC and a blank Word document, and writing how I feel, will always help me in a positive way. Try it yourself. Even if you don’t think of yourself as someone particularly skilled with words.
I don’t. I certainly don’t see myself as a skilled writer. Although I’ve had a few things published in books, and won the Writer category at Britmums in 2013, I tend to write what’s in my head and in my heart, and sometimes its raw and weird, and sometimes it’s funny and well thought out and sometimes it’s really not. Sometimes it’s like this, just words, explaining a bit about how I feel about something.
But then writing doesn’t have to have a point. It doesn’t need to be the start of a novel, a short story, a poem or a blog post. It can just be how you feel.
There isn’t a right way to write. I’ve read advice from others about how you should do this and should do that, and of course there are thousands of books about doing so. I just find that if you don’t, then you stop being able to. Even if you write for 10 minutes a day, a diary or something, then it’ll spur you to write more.
And if you ever see it as self-indulgent claptrap, then stop thinking like that. It’s as essential for the soul as dancing and as good for you as bathing. Well, it is for me anyhow.
So last week I wrote. I wrote about mum, and wrote about being angry about the decisions she made, and I wrote what she might say back to me. I wrote a voice I know so well.
We laughed, we argued, at one point we ignored each other until one of us apologised. I wrote with tears in my eyes until the tears dropped onto the keyboard, I wrote with a smile on my face, I wrote with anger and fury, love and hate, a whirling dervish of emotions spinning inside my chest.
A conversation with a dead person.
When my grandfather died my mum told me how much she missed her father. How much she missed talking to him, how much she missed seeing him. She even went to a spiritualist church a few times to try to contact him. I don’t remember a lot about it other than sitting in a room in the same building playing with my chess computer and trying to block all this madness out. I mean, who would spend time trying to communicate with the dead?
My back feels better now, by the way. Perhaps writing isn’t only good for the soul.
So this post’s message, if there is one and I don’t believe there has to be, is… if you want to write, then do. For you. Please. Don’t do it for praise or pennies, adulation, applause, claps or clicks. Write for you. Be it a blog or a notepad locked away in a drawer. Do it for you and say what YOU want to say, not what you think others want to hear.
It’ll make you feel better. Or your money back.
Thanks for reading.
If you’re in a funk, what makes you feel better? A colouring book, or a jog? A session in the gym, or an hour with a notebook? Let us know in the comments section. We look forward to reading what you have to say.