The Artist’s Dilemma


I sat down to start this post in my usual fashion; with misery, cynicism, and a little self-loathing. But then I remembered that negativity begets negativity, and the last thing I need is another reason to beat myself up. So, I’ve picked the next closest thing: honesty.

I took yet another break from writing in general. People have told me and continue to tell me they love my blog posts, my copy, my short stories — whatever it may be — but I just… don’t believe them. Imposter syndrome, I believe they call it. Feelings of inadequacy that block us from ever proving to ourselves that we are better than we think we are. It’s a vicious cycle that I often struggle to break out of.
We create art to express ourselves and resonate with people, so when they tell us they want to see us or hear us, why can’t we deliver? Why do we feel like frauds in our field –surely I’m not meant to be in this club? You’ll find that this club is filled almost exclusively with people who are, in fact, very good at what they do. Conversely, there are a lot of people who produce ridiculously sub-par work, but because they believe they can get to the top with it, they soar. Right to the very top. Read more

I think I’m here, therefore I’m here(?)


Or whatever Descartes said.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything on this blog. I have found myself drawn more to the throwaway simplicity of Substack; my creative (?) thoughts are sporadic and I have a very short attention span, even when it’s for myself. When I lay down at night, I jump from memory, to thought, to scene two in that same thought, to scene three, back to scene one to find out how else it could have played out, to a different thought altogether, to a horrible scenario that I hope will never happen but I’m now prepared for in case it does. Long blog posts don’t really do it for me, and I know they don’t really do it for anyone else, either. I talk about things succinctly (but often), I think about things forever and then write about them succinctly (I hope) (but often). Other times, there is waffle.

This is one of those times.

I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t been writing anything over the past couple of weeks because I’ve had fake nails on. I don’t know how you were expecting that sentence to end, but I know it wasn’t like that – maybe you expected simple writer’s block, being bogged down with work, a crisis in the family. And all of those things are true, but, for a writer, not nearly as debilitating as having long nails that prevent you from typing efficiently on the horrible flat butterfly keys of a 2015 Macbook that just won’t die. Let’s not tempt fate now, though, because, being older and closer to real adult life, I can’t afford my Macbook to die on me the same way I could when I was 19 and didn’t want to think about the future. I used to look into the future and see a black screen because, as far as I was concerned, I should have been dead already and anything that was to happen after that is a miracle in itself. Maybe miracle is the wrong word. Now, I look into the future and I panic because I wasted so much time being dead inside that I now have so much catching up to do; now, I look into the future and it’s not just about me – now, I see the white picket fence. Not really a white picket fence because, living in London, I know a small Tesco lorry will probably back into it and ruin everything. Maybe a big, strong, robust wall. And some barbed wire. And lots of CCTV and gates and deadlocks. Maybe a rottweiler.

I digress. But it’s also a nice illustration of how my thought process works. I get antsy, I can’t sit still. I get anxious, I get frustrated, I don’t know how to be calm. I am, quite simply, all over the place, all the time.

But sometimes, all the chaos must come to a stop and I am nowhere.

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Solitude – What’s the Big Deal?

To be alone, or to be lonely. There’s power in it… somewhere.


Happy Monday.

The phenomenon of the long weekend gives me a feeling of pure bliss… but once those few days are over, I realise it shouldn’t be normal to feel this much excitement at the thought of having a couple of days off work. So I end the weekend angry as hell. Slaving away shouldn’t be the norm –  I don’t want this to be my life, because living for the weekend is one of the things that reels my depression back in every time it feels like running away from me. Not so fast, we have work tomorrow! But, alas. I spent the Bank Holiday weekend on such a high, that being alone and back in reality right now just consists of me trying to pick up the pieces of myself after going splat on the floor. To be dropped from such a height is soul-shattering, and resuming normality is a long, painful process.

I’m one of the many people who has always loved my own company. The libraries, the lone cinema trips, the late nights with movies and a blank word document, the early morning sunrises with coffee shops and books. I’m always ecstatic at the prospect of having a few days to collect myself and bring myself back up to date with my life; maybe it’s the anxiety, but I need time to reconvene with my thoughts. I need to nurse my mind and cleanse my energy, to pluck off the remnants of the work-week and start brand new. ‘I’d get bored if I didn’t have work’ doesn’t apply to me, and I think you’re either attention-seeking, boring, or lacking in substance if you say such things. Probably all three. I have things to do, hobbies to engage in, plans to kickstart; so if you were to offer me three weeks off work, fully paid, I’m snapping it up without complaint because there is so much to be done. Everybody who complained about being bored on furlough deserves a kick in the face, I hate you all. I could check myself into a hotel for weeks on end and come out a much better person than I was before I went in. Either that or dead. Tomayto, tomahto.

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Gratitude


This is a quick one on the importance of practising gratitude.

I’m not going to deny the fact that I’m a miserable bastard. I’m prone to feeling sorry for myself and believing life keeps throwing shit cards at me; every time I overcome one hurdle I’m already tripping over another. I know there are a lot of people who think like this. Those of us who have, unfortunately, been a little on the rapidly deteriorating side of mental health are very familiar with it. It’s helplessness, it’s pessimism (that we like to call realism because, let’s face it, we live in a shit world and things are more than likely going to go wrong more often than not – that’s just the way life is), it’s feeling oh-so tired of all the bullshit because when will it end? When will I get my walk in the park, when will I get my rainbows and butterflies? When will life slow down for me, when will I finally catch a break?

It feels like a storm and it’s never ending; sometimes I would have a fleeting burst of happiness and joy, and I’d clasp my hands around it in a desperate attempt to hold it close to me before it disappears forever, but it always flies away just as fast as it came. So I’ve learnt to not hold on; I let it come and go as it pleases. I don’t force it to remain, because the little happiness I do get I want to remain genuine, and I hope that it chooses to stay longer and longer. If I’m happy, I feel it. If I’m sad, I feel it. I don’t pretend it’s something else.

In amongst all the bullshit, though, there are ways to find something closer to happiness. Just like you can think your way into a bad mood, you can also think your way into a semi-good mood. One of the most effective ways of doing this is through gratitude. As a species, we are never happy with what we have and we’re always looking for more; consequently, we’re always dissatisfied. But stopping to really absorb the good that you do have does wonders.

No matter how low you feel, there are always things to be grateful for. I want to make it clear, however, I am never someone to say ‘you should be grateful because somebody else always has it worse.’ I don’t believe that, because all pain is subjective. When I talk about gratitude, about your own life, about finding things to be happy about, it is never ever in comparison to anybody else. Your life and your hardships have nothing to do with anybody else; there is no such thing as ‘be happy; someone else’s life is more shit than yours.’ Not only is that insulting to the other person, it does nothing to help you. Another person’s suffering does not negate your own. Not only do you still feel horrible, you now also feel guilty for feeling horrible. Yes, there are people starving to death, but that doesn’t make your pain any less valid, no matter what it’s about.

I digress. Let’s think of gratitude as a source of light in your life.

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