My Writing Paints Me in a Terrible Light
I’ve been thinking how I must seem to strangers who read my writing. A mother who smokes weed to self medicate. A woman who has had abortions. A foul mouthed rager. A poverty stricken whiner. All these things go through my head at night after I’ve tucked my son in. Do I come across as highly unlikeable? Horrid even?
I imagine a mob outside my door threatening to take my boy away because I’m clearly an unfit, angry mother, if you go by the writing I share.
It’s not like I share any of the good stuff in my life. Like how strong and loving my bond is with my six-year-old son. How we play, do crafts, cook together, read, dance about and explore the world. How he has made my life worth living and motivates me to get well, get support for my mental health, and to face myself honestly and brutally.
But then I think — If I wrote about all the good things now, isn’t that sucking up? Trying to manipulate your view of me. It doesn’t feel like an action coming from a place of integrity, but one coming from fear. And that’s not how I want to roll. I’d be cringing at myself, and you’d know it instinctively too.
However, I do want to say a few things — in kindness to myself.
My problem for many years has been lack of self-esteem and now I’m coming to realize that on top of anxiety and depression, I have ADHD. It explains my constant overwhelm and the thought storms, the shot-to-bits nerves from over stimulation as a single parent, and my complete lack of focus most of the time. Luckily I carry a notebook everywhere and it keeps me organized and ticking over.
Looking over my past through this new lens I’m able to feel some compassion and understanding for why I have fucked up so much in my life so far. And there are some real serious wrong turns let me tell you. Then again, maybe it was all meant to be, to get me to this point…who knows?
I do wonder if the ADHD is why I’m a writer at all. Writing my overflowing thoughts down has always settled me. It might be a compulsion, or I might really be a writer — the proof will be if I ever make decent money from it I suppose. It would be nice if I could write with a bit more clarity — and I hope the medication they offer me will finally help streamline my thinking. You should see my notebooks which are a clear reflection of a mind going 1000 miles an hour and in four different directions.
For anyone concerned for my son, let me assure you that he is one happy kid. I do have issues and am not in denial about them, I’m getting help. Whenever I do find myself getting snappy and tense, I ask his dad to step in while I get some proper sleep and quiet time to recharge.
As for sharing happier more upbeat stories, I’m not there yet. It would feel inauthentic to bleat on about positivity when at present I’m like many others, treading water through this pandemic and shocked on a daily basis about how our world leaders are dealing with things. Don’t get me started on the pissy little food hampers sent to poor families this week, that consisted of…well, just Google it yourself, otherwise I’ll go on one again.
I’ll continue to write the next thing that is pushing at my finger tips and not concern myself too much with how I come across, because that’s what writers do isn’t it? Follow their gut.
I try to keep in mind the theory that if you’re just yourself, the people who ‘get you’ will naturally gravitate. And I’d much prefer readers gained by my being genuine than through manipulation. The truth is I have a lot to be thankful for, but I’m also coming to terms with a lot of things that went to shit in my life, and that bleeds though into my articles here.
Speaking of articles…
My most popular article was one of the first I wrote for Medium, back in 2019. Titled What I can share now I finally quit smoking weed. It’s still my most viewed writing to date. The awkward thing is: I relapsed during lockdown in March last year, and though I don't smoke anywhere near as much as I used to, I still can’t have it in my house without smoking it all until it’s gone.
Progress for me is the fact I don’t keep it in my house at all anymore. If I do get to a point where only a smoke will sort me out— to pull me out of depression — then a friend rolls me one or two to tide me over.
My point in mentioning this is the shame I felt because I knew I was smoking again and yet still seeing claps and emails on a daily basis about how great I was to have quit weed. I felt like a fraud. Like I’d let my readers down. But at that point I was still telling myself that each smoke was the very last one. After nearly a year of doing that (whenever I felt stressed) there comes a point where you think — Come on…who are you kidding? You are still a raging addict!
I will write an article at some point about what happened during relapse (erm…Corona!) and how I’m back on the wagon again (mostly). Not to justify myself, but for those in the same boat (cannabis abusers) who are still struggling, and who seemed to appreciate my thoughts on cannabis addiction the first time around.
I know I’ve turned a sharp corner in this regard because having been offered some recently, I turned it down. I have my son with me six days out of seven and don’t want it around him or to be a zombie while going about my duties.
The past version of me would have accepted it mindlessly and greedily and convinced myself I’d only smoke it in the dead of night — all the while not being able to stop thinking about it sitting in the cupboard.
However, I must admit, if I was offered some while my son was with his dad for a weekend, I’d probably take it and smoke the lot before he came home.
Looking back over what I’ve written here it does seem like I’m explaining myself after all. Understand though, I’m not doing this to gain your approval. I just want to sleep better, know that a mob isn’t coming to take my son away, and to write more. I feel better getting it off my chest. And now I’ve written this I can move forward with a bit more peace in my heart.