It’s been almost a decade. Wouah, that makes it sound more dramatic than it is.
Actually fuck that. It is dramatic.
It’s been almost a decade that I’ve been depriving myself from living as my true self. If you know me you may be thinking, hang on a minute. You’ve been openly gay, married to a wonderful women and have an amazing daughter, we own a house that we love etc. You’re damn right, those things are true.
But for the past 9, almost 10 years I’ve been jumping from pillar to post to fit into the corporate world and achieve the things that the tick box list tells me I should be. I work in sales for gods sake. I hear you when you say woe is me. Who am I to sit around whinging, how dare I? I am lucky I know that, I have food on the table and a warm wonderful family around that table. I have ticked the boxes and those are incredibly important factors in my life but in achieving all of those things, I have deleted a part of myself. I have dampened down those feelings, buried them below my love for others, pay rises, better cars and bigger homes.
You’re probably wondering what this great reveal will be. I’m sorry to disappoint you, as I’m sure it will be a disappointment but I need to put it out there. I need to let it out into the world, onto the socials or wherever it needs to live. I’m talking about my creativity. More specifically my writing. Since graduating university in 2013, where I did so with honours in Film and CREATIVE WRITING I have done a whole lot of nothing with it. I have written in private, in secret almost. Tiny snippets saved on my phone, that I would be ashamed for people to see. Even my wife. Thats crazy to see written down but it’s how I’ve felt until now.
It’s as though I thought that when I graduated from university I’d get a certificate that said ‘Harriet you’re a writer’. I didn’t, obviously, and for some reason I have never allowed myself to say that I am a writer. Even though it’s something that I feel so deeply within my makeup and I am forever writing. In my mind, at least. I’m always hearing words, patterns and cadences that make me pick apart the language. I love to get into the minutia of words, where did they come from, why do we use them in one way when the French use them in another. I am obsessed with what words are saying but equally so with what they leave unsaid.
When I think back to my younger years. Two traits of who I was as a child stick out. I was either running around throwing a ball or sat at my desk writing and illustrating books. It’s safe to say that the latter part of my creativity peaked when I was 8 or 9 and I am happy to leave the drawing there!
When I think of my teenage years, again, I was either outside playing sports with my friends or at my desk dissecting song lyrics and writing poetry. My attention later turned to television writing and film. I wrote my wife love letters all throughout the years we first dated (note to self: I should be doing more of that.). Now, within my sales role I obsess over content and copywriting. Should my email have a call to action? Of course it should, but what should it say?
What has become apparent is that I have always been a writer. It’s quite clearly a deeply routed part of me and this unsettling, grumbling and ever reoccurring numb feeling that I get every other month is because I am not writing. I am not putting pen to paper, or finger to keyboard. Let’s be honest my hand would fall off if I tried to write more than a shopping list in wet ink. The feeling of not knowing who I am or where I fit into the corporate world is because I don’t. And that’s okay! In fact, it’s a good thing to be aware of. The reason I find it so difficult to feign interest or remain consistently engaged is because I’m not. It seems so simple now.
All of the hours I have spent stewing over what my role is, how people perceive me and why on Earth I feel so out of place in our Canary Wharf London office is just that. I am. I am not meant to be confined by corporate limitations. I do not like the rigidity, the coldness nor the indifference that I do often witness in the office. I work around some incredibly talented, driven people. Many on whom I really enjoy, but, they are not my people. They don’t talk in blasts of colour, they do not describe the world in ways that make sense to me and they do not debate endlessly how to sign off their client emails. What is better ‘Best Wishes’ or ‘Kindest Regards’? It’s the same messaging, really. We are simply politely saying goodbye but we want them to know that we did so with a little smile or a wave. It’s a friendly goodbye – with more than just regards.
I suppose the real question now is, what do I do with this information? This is a good start, I guess. I’m writing, after all. Where do I go from here though?
Should I start a blog to contain the upcoming steps of this journey? Do I want to write a novel? I’m not sure. Do I gravitate towards children’s books? I don’t think so but it’s pretty much all I read at the moment with my 1.5 year old.
The great Cheryl Strayed always suggests list making when having to decide on what’s best. She recently coined them a new name on a podcast with the glorious Glennon & Amanda Doyle and Abbey Wambach that these lists aren’t To Do lists, rather To Know lists. They help you see what you can’t yet know and what you may never know but they can help you make weigh up and prioritise your decision.
I’ll make a list.
I have this funny feeling now, whereby I’ve been writing for almost 30 minutes. I feels good, it feels warm and soothing. It’s cathartic. I don’t want to stop because I’m afraid that if I stop I won’t ever start again. I do need to stop however, as it’s almost Nursery pick up time and I’m just returning from the gym so should really shower before picking up baby E.
I think this needs to be a blog. It can become a place to bring back my creativity, to dive back into my writing. A blog can be serious or fun, posts can be long or short. I can make this up as I go. There is less pressure and as I dive into this new body of water, this new, truer me, the less pressure the better.
Does this mean I’ve just written my first post?
Shit. I better bring back the creativity. I’m a writer now, remember.