Suzie’s imperfect guide to navigating an imperfect world.
In a hole in a wall, right next the padlock on my out-house door, lives a spider called Nora.
Every time I visit the shed (most days), I need to remove her web to unlock the door. That beautifully crafted, hope-filled web that had been created by Nora expertly and meticulously since my last visit and that she has repeated every day between all of my trips to the shed, with one quick swipe of my hand, is gone. This creation, as strong to her as it is delicate to me, will be rebuilt by Nora, and another and another, as she always does.
Does she get annoyed do you think, with my daily destruction of her home? I don’t do it to spite her or to hold power over her little existence. I do it because I need to get into my shed (where a large proportion of my life plays out clearly). Every day I come by, hoping that she’s moved away but I find a new web in place of the old and I destroy what she has made. Yet she will come out again and will spin a new web.
It makes me smile when I see a new web. I’m glad she was able to rebuild. Her tenacity is admirable though I wonder if she likes her web being broken down, challenging her to start again each day. Maybe she doesn’t know any different. Maybe she has all she needs, right there, despite the daily restart, and so she doesn’t need to move hole. Maybe she will put up with it for so long until one day she’s pushed too far, throws her legs in the air and packs her bags in disgust.
I don’t know what Nora thinks about our daily battle but I always manage to utter the same words.
Bloody Nora, stupid spider.
Journaling is not new. Blogging, well, a little more modern than Samuel Pepys I would say, but generally, getting those words down in private or in public, is nothing new and there is a good reason why it has endured.
For a while now I have been trying to bring some order to the chaotic ideas, planning, self-loathing and imposter syndrome that plagues my internal monologue via the tried and tested method of thought downloading or daily journaling. Bridget Jones has nothing on me lately.
Get it all down on paper they say. Don’t think about it, just write it down, whatever is on your mind. Let it out to let it go or let it out to bring order to it, or whatever your ultimate needs need.
Recently I was doing such a thing in a coffee shop. Writing in a cheap little school-exercise-jotter type notebook with a free pen. There was nothing fancy about it (despite my admitting to a stationery obsession – another thing I’m working through). It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t a work of art that I planned to triumphantly deliver to the world without some advanced sense of irony or self-pity.
I remember that much about it, that it wasn’t pretty but I don’t remember any of the words. So why then, when I lost the notebook, likely left in the cafe’s toilets, did a ridiculous amount of anxiety flood over me? I couldn’t even bring myself to go and ask for it back. The fear that someone had found it and was reading it, showing it to others was as a big a fear as I had ever felt before about any creative work, words or photographs. Yet it wasn’t created with any heal-the-world grandiosity in mind, merely heal my grandiose mind in the world AND THE WORLD WAS NOT READY FOR MY MIND.
I think this is where Brene Brown needs to step in. She’s there on my shoulder but her voice is not the one that’s winning right now.
Wait a minute though. Can we go back to something I said earlier? I said I have no recollection of what was actually written in that book. None at all. I tried to remember the words, but I couldn’t. I only remember the act of writing them. So why the hell so much fear? Therein lies the lesson folks. Thought downloads aren’t about creating art, they aren’t even about anything beyond the present, and that is where the magic resides. Getting it all out right now, so that we can leave it in the notebook and forget it for tomorrow. Dump those thoughts from the mind and free up bandwidth to deal with whatever is coming next. That’s why it is worth doing. It works so well.
So grab a notebook, a new, beautifully crafted leather bound notebook or a smoke-stained ancient jotter from your grandmother’s desk drawer, it doesn’t matter. Writing down whatever comes to mind and then forgetting it, is as good a remedy for a chaotic mind as any you’ll find.
So, how do we want this story to end? A publisher found my notebook in the toilet and offered me a book deal? Amazing.
Or, maybe I went back and picked it up and nobody even mentioned it? Gutting.
Or, I found it in my handbag and life went on as ever, Brene Brown’s voice became a little louder than before and I kept on writing things to forget in that notebook, because it makes me feel a little better each day.