I rushed to the newsagent late one evening the other week to pick up a magazine I’d written a piece for. As I whooshed through the pages to find it, the newsagent, his eyes smiling, enquired ‘what’s the story?’ I told him it was a piece I’d written on money tips and how sweet it was the magazine had used a photo with my sons.
I mentioned I write a parenting blog.
‘So, what’s the story on the blog?’
‘Erm, I’m the story, I suppose’ I said, shuffling on my feet.
‘I write about what I like: motherhood, parenting woes, veggie recipes’… I tailed off.
‘Oh, I’ll have to have a read of that’.
I left, the door ringing, as I pushed my face into the cold, imagining there’d be little on here a 50 something man might enjoy but smiled anyway, warmed by his generosity.
The chat reminded me of that fact I’m the protagonist of my own story here and after many years of curating the narratives of others as a screenwriter and director, the last 8 have seen me firmly front and centre. The ultimate in control freakery if you like.
I’m the lead, the chorus, the narrator, the publisher and the PR.
I blog on this blog, and that’s my story.
I weave my life, or rather what I want you to know about my life (because you can’t know it all) into this crocheted blanket of html and its digital offspring, my social media handles. No one can share everything, by the way. There’s not enough desire, time, pixels or headspace for that. Our ENTIRE stories are far too long, too personal, too subjective, too messy and too confused at times, with some parts obscured or even subconsciously hidden from ourselves.
Yet, I still share most of my story. Enough of it at least, and sometimes, too much. The meaningful sits with the frivolous, the memories with the weekends away and the milestones, and the times I just HAVE to document as therapy but would often rather forget.
There are moments, admittedly, where I’ve read back on posts and felt compelled to carve off huge chunks: piece on interests I no longer have, recipes for dishes I don’t eat now or unflattering photos where my brows look wonky, or my smile looks too ‘teethy’! And sometimes, I do hit ‘back-space’ on repeat, but most of the time, I don’t.
Because some of the past isn’t pretty, and that’s OK.
I never wanted to create a picture-perfect space here. I’ve always wanted to be honest and myself. To help you while I help me.
As with any main character in a movie, the worst things that happen can often turn out to be the best- exactly what the ‘hero’ needs in order to learn, grow and change by the end of the story. That’s the character arc.
Take my thyroid operation: the scariest, most physically painful time of my life yet one I would not change because it revealed strength I didn’t know I had and provided a benchmark for me, for all that has come since. ‘Well, I might have (insert ailment) but it’s not as bad as the time I felt unable to swallow, my throat swollen and blocked, post-operation’. Context.
Equally, as with most good film plots, love is the driver.
Love for your family, for your friends, love for your life. You write for love and because of love.
Love for the written word: the word play, the alliteration, the iambic pentameter you aim for as read your posts out loud: the flow, and love for the reader, their response, the interaction, the commentary, feedback, the lessons, the fact you want to help others. That is love.
You also need to eat, so you write to provide for those you love.
…The unexpected love I have discovered thanks to my blog, is self-love.
Love for wonky brows, too much teeth, and being me.
So, that’s my story.
(Always) to be continued….