I have to get on and write the first post. Days now it’s been, weeks, since I started trying; choosing a topic, changing to another, and another, undecided where to start. Playing instead with the name and subtitle, and how I want the blog to look. Browsing other blogs for design ideas, but drawn into reading them, post after post, people’s comments too until, sick of myself, I pick up a How-to-Achieve-Your-Goal book and read that, but that’s not the answer either.
And for some reason, maybe because I’m so sick of myself and all the putting-off, and I don’t know what else to do, I close my eyes and take a breath. I feel the touch of air inside my nostrils; the rise and fall of my chest, my belly, my shoulders. I feel the movement of skin against clothing. Breath, after breath.
Then a thought, a voice in my head, jumps in: ‘For goodness sake, just do the damn writing.’
I open my eyes and pick up my pen. I put it down.
Another voice, like the scream of a frightened child: ‘I can’t do this, this blogging. I can’t, I can’t.’
The first voice again: ‘You crazy bitch. So melodramatic. Of course you can. Other people can. They don’t have a problem. Dave, for example. And Sarah, she’d do it.’
Hear that? The name-calling, bullying, comparing. The unquestioned assumption that other people do better.
My belly’s cramped up and my solar plexus is knotted. I remember what the books and guided meditations say to do, and I pay attention to these unpleasant sensations, exploring them, breathing into them, and as best I can I leave the thoughts alone, up there in my head. And soon I can barely remember what the thoughts were anyway, and the tightness is melting, turning into something soft, and there’s an ache in my jaw and throat. I could cry, to hear how I talked to myself just then. So I try to make amends with a few kind words, just a brief, ‘Hey, girl, you’re doing fine’.
The hum of the computer. A sigh from the dog. Belly, chest, shoulders moving with each breath. My mind is quieter, soothed by my breathing – until the next thought:
‘But I still don’t know what to write. Will I ever write even one post, let alone post after post?’ And my belly clamps down again.
So this is where I start, with these loud voices, with being scared of blogging.
Feb 29th. A leap year. A good day to take a leap. Hardly a leap really, just a step, like in the first and last verses of the David Whyte poem:
Start close in,
the second step
or the third,
start with the first
you don’t want to take.