Monday, 9 May 2011

Apple trees and Sunshine


Today has been a lovely sunny day. I went to the market and bought two apple trees - a cooker and an eater - and planted them. I also walked the dog three times and cycled to my book group and back. I must be super fit.

Unfortunately I don't feel it right this minute - not mentally. Book group always sets off my feelings of inferiority. Damn and blast my inferiority complex. I had a good time really - we laughed a lot (hardly discussed books at all) and I was quite relaxed. I have come a long way since the days when book group started - more than seven years ago - and I used to blush nervously in the corner. However, by the time it finished and I cycled home I managed to convince myself that I had talked far too much and that everyone thought I was strange. Which really doesn't make sense because I am sure they would have realised it before now anyway and they exactly can't chuck me out of book group (ha ha).

But it is not about rationality. Rationality would tell me that I have no idea what anybody actually thinks of me and that it doesn't matter - all that matters is that I am content and able to get on with my daily life, and that I bring up the kids to be strong and happy. But I want to be strong! I hate obsessing about what other people think!

I need a stroke of luck. I need something outside myself to reinforce my opinion of myself - like the agent to want my book. Actually, I probably just need to write - I have been so busy with gardening and dog walking and taking my elder son to drama after school and so on that I have literally not taken a minute to myself all day - not even to open the newspaper that I bought this morning. Writing is my safety valve and the thing I do well. I must do it even if I do nothing else.

About the apple tree. It struck me this evening as I was walking the dog with my younger daughter that all my dreams have come true - or are still coming true. When I was young I wanted a family, specifically to have children of my own. I wanted a piano. And I wanted an apple tree in my garden. I only realised (remembered) all that because I happened to be walking along counting my blessings.

The other thing I wanted - always - was to be a writer. And I suppose even that has come true, if I can only sit back and believe it - after all, I am writing now. Surely the act of writing is enough to qualify to be a writer - there is no external test. Furthermore, I have published a book of poems. I have written an entire memoir. I have started lots of novels, and children's books. I have written short stories. I even sometimes put 'writer' on forms if I am asked for my occupation, although I might not exactly believe my own publicity. Perhaps I should.

But there is always this niggling voice telling me that I am worthless. That I have not achieved anything. I am just a housewife, on disaiblity benefits, with the most damning diagnosis of mental illness imaginable. Thak goodness, a lot of the time I can stifle that voice (and don't worry, it is not actually a voice, it is a feeling). In the company of my kids, especially, I can reassure myself that I am worthwhile. Only a decent person could have produced four such perfect and balanced beings.

Anyway, I am not going to blather on any more about this. I will get some sleep and in the morning I will forget about book group and carry on. As I said, I often get like this after book group - I think because all the others seem so professional and capable (all medics or teachers except me). I really want to be a part of that group (obviously I ostensibly am) yet I can't help feeling that I stick out like a sore thumb. And then again part of me doesn't want to be just like them (hard to explain this one, except that something in me prizes individuality and doesn't want to compete in the usual sort of way). I am maybe just not a group person. The most important reason I want to be part of Book Group is for the kids - I like them to think that Mummy has friends, that I am sociable. (I do have plenty of other friends, but this is my only group sort of thing).

Did I just say I was not going to blather on any more? Hmmm. Oh God, I have just remembered that next week is Poetry Group. I haven't been to that one for months. And I really feel that I should. Let hope I cope better. Watch this space. X.

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