Truths and Apologies

Memes are such a constant background noise these days, aren’t they? Cute little sayings, often with a pretty picture, to provoke or inspire. I once sat in an office with walls covered with ‘motivational posters’.

Sometimes that can be helpful. A quick, easily-digestible sentence or two, summing up a feeling or emotion. Validating something far more complex.

But as I love playing with words, sometimes I dig deeper… and find a less comfortable place.

For example: How are you? I’m fine.

This is a lie. Powerful images demonstrate this here (warning – challenging pictures). Many people don’t want to see. ‘Fine’ is enough.

I’ve not been fine for a while now; or rather, I’ve had good days and bad days. This is normal.

But I’ve not posted for far longer than I’d like, because… well… I’ve been battling. I’m sure many of you know those insidious thoughts. ‘You’re useless. Nobody cares. Nothing you say is worth hearing.’ And that most evil of all: ‘Just stop.’

I’m not alone in this, not by a long shot. I’ve heard tell of several other contemporary writers who have such difficulties – from Scott Lynch to JK Rowling. Much has been written about the creative fire being linked to mental illness (eg this interesting essay).

But worst of all for me is that inner voice telling me how much I let people down. Because of those precursors to memes, the oversimplistic misunderstandings that we’ve been told all our lives. ‘You don’t think that.’ ‘Don’t be stupid.’ ‘You’re always making excuses.’

From frustrated family members to overbearing bosses, we’ve all heard it. Someone doesn’t want to look deeper, or listen to what’s really going on, so they lash out. Hey – we’ve all done it too, I’m sure.

This is part of the journey, however. As we stop – whether voluntarily or forced to by circumstance – so we realize how awful this is. How unhelpful, degrading and, frankly, wrong.

Nobody is worthless. Nobody is useless. Why can’t I do that? Why shouldn’t I? If there’s a reason, then so there is, but more often than not, the person throwing the demands around is projecting, trying to control, to fit you into their world.

And if you challenge those statements? Have you ever tried? I have, a couple of times. The expression on the person’s face (a teacher and a boss, as I recall) was priceless. It’s as if a disobedient pet suddenly spoke back.

We are often taught to keep quiet, for the sake of peace. As we grow older in this crazy world, though, we discover that while quiet can be nice, safe and cosy, it doesn’t necessarily do much to change things that are wrong. We need to speak up, to challenge, to look deeper.

I’ve had to take time in recent months. I’ve had no choice. Panic attacks, severe anxiety, what is now being called ‘major depressive episodes’. Some days, I haven’t trusted myself to put thoughts together enough to write anything.

Today, a dear friend sent me a meme that summed things up nicely, and inspired this post:

Some Days...

And this is true. Some days, more than others.

Then yesterday, another friend reminded me of my favourite phrase for my Druidry: ‘What are you doing?’

Am I trying? Really? OK. Reboot from Start. Let’s challenge those unhelpful voices within.

I’ve been told that before, by doctors, professional therapists and other ‘experts’. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

So how best do I challenge them? The awful things that I tell myself – would I ever say such things to another person? Of course not. But they’ve been said often enough to me, surely I must deserve them. And so I’m dragged along with the flow of negative emotion.

A few nights ago, struck with insomnia, I found myself reading about deities who challenge. And I thought ‘Hey – I’m Pagan. Let’s ask one of those experts.’

So I quietly called upon that deity to help. To see if they’d listen.

And they did.

I sat for a while, pouring it all out, while that person sat quietly, just listening. Giving me their full attention. Understanding, sympathising. Not judging. Seeing deeper than the trite insults and demands, to the effect they had.

And when I was done, they were there with a hug. And so I let myself be held.

I do believe that as Pagans, we are blessed to have such methods to help us. Ancestors, helpful spirits, deities to call on. We are never truly alone, even when it feels like it. The tricky part is remembering that. And as with friends who are there for you, not being afraid to call them up and ask for a chat.

The key here is to speak your truth. Excuses won’t cut it (and are insulting, to them and you). This is the time for soul-truths, deep and painful. To be excised like infection from a wound. A scab can’t heal if it’s just covering a blockage of pus. Yes – that’s unpleasant. So is this process.

So here I am again, asking for your patience as I work things through. The medics are being helpful at least (another huge blessing!), and those of you who’ve offered help are valued more highly than any coin I can think of.

I am trying. I’m always sorry for letting folk down; I take pride in stepping up to keep my promises, and hate it when I can’t. Please know that if I can’t, I really can’t. It’s not an excuse. Those are the worst times.

But the flows rise and fall, and I work with them, as best I can. I battle through the storms and am so glad of the good days, of things I accomplish – even these wee words today. What I once took for granted, I now see as a huge gift. Perhaps that’s the latest lesson to take from this winter season.

Much love, dear ones. I am doing my best, with truth and sincerity. We move into Spring with tiny seeds planted. Gods willing, they will blossom and bring us joy in mind, body and spirit moving foward.

Onward.

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13 Comments »

  1. It’s good to read your words here again. Sending love to you x

  2. kevharde said

    Its good to see you back and good to hear that you’re doing better. My wish is that you can find your balance and be happy.

  3. Barbara said

    Lots of love and blessings to you! Its wonderful to read from you again!

  4. David said

    Earlier this week I realized that there had not been any updates from you. I am grateful to hear that you are still here. I appreciate your candor and sharing your journey. Blessings and strength to you.

  5. This is absolutely wonderful to read.

    And to iterate, you have never let me down. We will sort meeting up soon and hugs, but you will always be my friend.

    One foot in front of the other.

    Keep writing. Much love x

  6. “I do believe that as Pagans, we are blessed to have such methods to help us. Ancestors, helpful spirits, deities to call on. We are never truly alone, even when it feels like it. The tricky part is remembering that. And as with friends who are there for you, not being afraid to call them up and ask for a chat.”
    Those words are soooo true.

    Also, do not be a negative energy thief, and rob others of their negativity. Let it stay with them! In my experience most of the time, they are unsatisfied with themselves in one way or another.

    Though your posts do not come often or regularly, they seem to come for me always at a right time in my life. to consider or to quest deeper or simply to reflect on.

    Please do not give in to those voices screaming negative words at you!

  7. gjhume said

    This is fantastic!! I’ve sent you a few messenger messages! Bright blessingsGarry x

  8. Always good to hear from you. overcoming anxiety is a bit like overcoming a bear that has no desire to be overcome. Possible, though. Time in safe spaces does, slowly, work a magic of its own. it’s hard at the moment because the world is so full of very frightening things, and that definitely doesn’t help at all.

  9. Nicky France said

    Hello Cat, I must admit I was pleased to see a notice that you had put a blog on. I so identify with that inner voice that beats me up all the time..it tells me I am a fraud-that I am not good enough. Just got taken on for role where had to re-apply for my job as a language teacher in a major company for the third time. For the third time in years now-they actually chose me..and you know what..that voice still tells me I am not good enough! It is rotten, on the positive it pushes me but on the negative it stops me pushing myself for the best paid roles etc. It has stopped me socializing a lot etc. Cat simple words from me-I have a book of yours-totally it comforted me to read it. You are beautiful and talented-you are good enough. I’d like to share with you this TED talk-I cannot say its cured me but its a good reminder (its Amy Cuddy TED talk”Fake it till you make it” and it really gets to the heart of the matter. x:

  10. Franco haggis said

    God’s keep you well cat

  11. David Ledger said

    Thank you for your words. Always lovely to read your thoughts. I think that if you try to please people or are conscious you have to conform to their wishes, they have power over you. Be yourself, that is not letting people down, that is being true to you. I believe we all do the best we can in life, we have human frailties and some days are going to be good and some less good. That is life. Look to the light. Keep writing when you can. Love and Blessings.

  12. Marie Hart said

    I just found your page while looking for someone to hold a handfasting ceremony. I don’t know you but the words and emotions you expressed here I recognise all to we’ll and I just wanted to say thank you for reminding me that I have other ways to find strength and understanding, that I am not alone.

    • druidcat said

      Thankyou so much, Marie. Virtual hugs and solidarity.

      And do message me if I can help find you a Handfasting celebrant nearby! Congratulations! xx

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