Space and a place

I'm not sure why I am here.  No, that's not an existential question.  I was just asked why I had attended Catherine Deveny's Gunna's Writing Masterclass.  You see, it was bought as a gift for me by my lovely husband Peter.  Maybe he sees something in me that I don't?  I'm scared by natured and something like this has me completely shitscared.  SHIT. SCARED.  Going around the table I explained that I blog.  I'm actually quite proud that I've blogged regularly and consistently for six years.  I write to get stuff out of my head and the process of putting things into words has helped me make sense of thoughts and feelings.  It's a cathartic purge, but also great practice.  Playing with words and language.  Writing for me is forming ideas, getting stuff to fit together like puzzle pieces.  Practice.  Discipline.  Voice.  I can say things in my writing that then allows me to speak it.

Devs then called me an 'amateur writer'. Something sank in my stomach.  While others around the table had no problem calling themselves writers, I did.  Yep, stuck with the idea that only people who do it for a living or are published can call themselves that.  Words. Labels. Judgement.  But perhaps this says more about how I see myself.  Anxious and insecure, the shy awkward girl I was growing up is always just under the surface.  I call myself a high functioning introvert.  When I say this people are surprised.  But I look around me and find that I have gravitated towards people who feel the same.  That someone in life, at any moment, will come and tap us on the shoulder saying 'we've figured out that you don't know what you're doing.  You're a fraud, so just pack up your things quietly and get out'.  The facade of someone with their shit together has been chipped off.

It's always perspective.  We never see ourselves as others see us.  We see the worth in other people but never ourselves.  Self loathing, self critical Gen Xers.  Bless us.  It's a wonder we make it out the front door at all.  But writing has done something unplanned.  I slowly built up the courage to write honestly.  To open myself up, warts and all, heart on sleeve.  I was scared but in this seemingly anonymous online world I was able to push through the fear.  To borrow a cliche, I wrote like no-one was reading.  I wrote purely for myself.  I also realised that if you don't open up, people never get to see the real you.  The 'you' your close friends see.  The 'you' you share with people you trust.

Looking back I can see that insecurity is a theme in many of my blog posts and that self doubt obviously runs deep.  Peter suffers from anxiety and depression.  He knows there is no 'cure' for how he feels, but a book he read spoke of learning to make space for it.  Understand that this is part of who you are and rather than fight it, make room for it within yourself and your life.  And maybe at the ripe old age of 45, through words, I have done just that for myself.  Rather than focus on the 'am I good enough' mantra that has plagued my life, I have found a place to put that insecurity.  I've made space for it.  It's part of who I am but it doesn't have to define or limit me.  The keyboard and screen became an anonymous safe space that gave me courage I didn't know I had.

So where to from here?  I'm not quite sure. I'm not the witty, quirky David Sedaris style writer I wish I was.  But I do love observing people.  How fucking interesting are other people!  I'm not quite the funny and mouthy Caitin Moran style writer either.  But these two have something in common that I adore.  Their pieces that I loved the most are the poignant moments of self reflection, written with honesty and heart.  Showing tragedy and comedy. light and dark. They will continue to inspire me.

The class is done and I'm not quite sure where to go.  Some people wanted to write for themselves or family, some people wanted ultimately to be published.  Maybe from this I can find myself part of the community of Gunnas.  Brave enough to share our writing and see where this leads.  I know one thing for sure, whatever happens, there is space and a place for writing within me.


Catherine said…
I found your blog through the Gunna's network and I love your writing style. I've enjoyed reading through some of your recent archive and strongly identify with your perspectives. Writing is a compulsion and you're very good...just keep on keeping on. As Flannery O'Connor said "I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say."
Andy said…
Oh Catherine! I am really touched by your comment. I love the quote, as it sums up my process of writing. I have just taken a look at your blog. Although I'm, a vegan I think that self saucing chocolate pudding in a mug recipe will be dangerous! There's always a need for pudding! Thanks again for the encouragement and lovely words :)

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