Thoughts are my passion, writing my release.

My mum always says that I was born with my eyes wide open, silent, looking around me, taking this new world all in. Dad asked the nurse why I wasn’t crying. ‘Aren’t babies supposed to cry when they’re born?’ She gave my bum a sharp smack. Then the tears and squawks came.

In Psychology class last year, we were told that the human mind is only in active thought for about 20% of our waking hours. This shocked me. ‘What? No way? I’m thinking all the time.’ It wasn’t until I asked around that I realised I fitted an exception not the rule. Most people float through life unburdened by the thoughts and observations that engrossed and enthralled me as I carried out my daily activities.

I was a bit strange for a kid. I had the heavy nineties fringe and loved playing outside, but I preferred listening to adult conversations than running off after dinner, and I baffled my companions with my dense words and restless concerns. At first I was very openly myself, but a few arguments with my parents that ended in shouting and locked bedrooms doors, a teacher who didn’t appreciate being given ideas from a four year old, and kids who called me cocky and left my out of games soon saw to it I began keeping things to myself instead. I grew weary of calling for my friends when I always had to be on in tag, and stopped babbling so openly for fear of that lump that crawled up my throat on being scolded by an adult.

My curiosity gave me a passion for this life, but I guess it set me apart too. When criticism crossed with my innate sensitivity it led to a deep-seated apprehension of sharing things with people who may reject me. The thoughts remained, even if my voice was lost somewhere in that lumpy throat. So they had to find a way to come out.

I can’t remember exactly when it happened, but at some stage in my childhood it hit me not only that I was going to die someday, but that my thoughts were dying too, and in a much more immediate sense than my body. Just as I was considering that idea it was ebbing away from existence, stolen by time, forgotten and never to be recorded. The realisation frightened me more than my granddad’s false teeth or Uncle Michael’s beastly masked chases ever did. I promised to myself that I would start keeping a diary. I felt like there was something precious about human thought and I wanted to preserve mine in any way I could. As I’d recently been introduced to another love in my life, reading, the written word seemed like a good choice. I wasn’t under the illusion that my journal would sell millions, but I was comforted at the thought that I was leaving something behind, that if I disappeared in the morning I would have some kind of legacy, even if it was just a thin notebook with a pretty cover and childish scribbles in my bad hand-writing.

I kept up my journal writing into my teenage years. The girls I hung out with around my estate found my diary in my room a few times and gave me a hard enough slagging over it. A part of me wanted to share it with them, but they weren’t impressed when they came across pages that talked about them, and weren’t necessarily flattering. I tried to explain that writing helped me figure out my feelings, and that I found it hard to say things to their faces on such occasions. But they were too caught up in their indignation and embarrassment to realise that their imprudence scared me away from expressing myself, that I didn’t mean any harm, that writing was an impulse that kept me sane. It was okay for them to be careless and throw thoughtless words my way, but they found seeing their names in print an injustice on a whole new, unacceptable level.

As society has evolved towards the technological over the last decade, so too has the medium of the written word, and with this motion, I have progressed from diaries to internet platforms for my daily dosages of self-expression. This new universe opened so many doors to my hungry mind. I lost myself in the saturation of knowledge and thinking material at my fingertips. On Tumblr, I discovered a world of like-minded people and a liberalism so boundless I didn’t realise it existed. I engaged with this community with relish, taking it in with the appetite of a mind starved for new information, people, opinions and ideas. I received positive feedback on my words that gave me the validation as a writer that I had never had before.

However, with my personal blogging came a new responsibility, foreign to me as a diary-keeper. Strangers on the internet could read what I had to say, but so could some of the people I wrote about. And they weren’t always happy about it. I tried to restrain myself from getting personal or critical, but I continued to cross lines without realising it. How can you tell if something you say will be acceptable to another, if it’s not the kind of thing you would be bothered by yourself? I was an open book, unashamed of who I was, and prepared to apologize when informed of something that proved my past paths of discourse wrong. But the people in my life were less comfortable with sharing certain sides of themselves, and were sensitive to my material, even when it wasn’t concerning or directed to them. We are self-centred beings by nature after all. I found it very difficult to learn where to draw a boundary on a voice that was just beginning to open up after years of being held back.

When we were studying his famous Sonnet 18 in school, our teacher made a point of noting that ‘so long lives this, and this gives life to thee’ was a pretty assumptive statement on Shakespeare’s behalf. He clearly didn’t suffer from any shortages of self-belief. It could just be the old Irish mindset that confidence is arrogance. But I wonder a lot myself if I’m as self-centred and self-assured as I’ve been accused. ‘Do I really think I’m amazing? God’s gift to the world? That everyone should hear what I have to say? That everyone should know my name?’ It’s a bit of a dichotomy really. I took the label very personally and it gave me self-esteem issues. Yet I can’t deny that I do believe I have something worthwhile to give to the world, that I do think my words should be heard, that they mean something, that they might make a difference to something, or help someone.

That well of belief in myself and in my message runs so deep inside me that I don’t think it’s something I could change without doing a disservice to the person I was born. I have super-massive-huge feelings on so many different things, and I find so many of them fascinating. My life is fascinating. The people around me are fascinating. Their lives. Their loves. Our hopes. Our dreams. Our disappointments. All these things are worth the time of day to be recorded and set down in paper, recognised as yes, pretty darn amazing and fascinating.

All my ideas from a lifetime of being a very deep thinker pile up inside me until my brain feels like exploding out of my ears and eye-sockets, my chest cavity aches and my heart starts to weaken. I just can’t let that tension build up without having some way of letting it go. And writing is my way of speaking to the world, of telling it to listen up, I have something to say and it’s something worthwhile.

Speaking became increasingly difficult as I got older. My irrational anxieties crept into new spheres of my life, and for some reason I continued to makes acquaintance with people who made me feel small, who criticised non-stop, who had even bigger ideas than I did. When I was writing, my fears fell away. My sentences would suddenly make sense, my arguments would transfer seamlessly from my mind to the page, without the loss of coherence and linear argument I could hear in my voice when I stumbled over words out loud. I wanted to talk to people, to share my point of view and then listen to theirs, explore that and rebuild my own opinions from there. But I didn’t want to face the constant possibility of rejection or the pressure of being cast into a defensive role form the get-go.

I’d like to learn how to use my voice out loud. But for now I feel like writing is the best space for me to explore the present moment, in my imperfect imperfection. I’m going to work on believing in myself on screen a little bit more, and then start working on believing in myself in the flesh.

I’m not quite sure how to avoid the pitfalls of negative comments, privacy and libel accusations, transferring inaccurate information and inevitably having to deliver apologies. But I will try to come at this blog with energy and tentative humility. I should learn from any mistakes I make, not beat myself up over them. And put it all down to experience in the end.

Maybe I am a little bit too sure that anyone will actually be interested in reading what I have to say. But I’d like to give it a try, and see whether anyone talks back. If not, it’s all an adventure in self-exploration, eh? Even if nobody learns anything from me, I will learn from myself. And it’ll be out there. My well of words won’t be overflowing. And some day I mightn’t need to offload it in buckets at all, because repression will be a thing of the past, making way for steady flow of personal expression, both in writing and in vivo.

I didn’t think I could write 500 words, and now I’ve written 1800. I’m ready for this! But maybe I should try to keep my posts a bit shorter and sweeter next time.

As for what these thoughts and ideas are all about? Well, you’ll have to watch this space, won’t you? 😉

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s