I am writing this, after needing a bit of rest for neck/shoulder pain that left me looking some kind of frightened hen when they are uncertain of their next move or something, every time I turned my neck. I’m doing lots better, taking things slow and getting back writing is making my heart sing.
This is the thing, as unbearable as actual pain can be, so too is the less physical pain. By this I mean, having to pause from the daily and resting, whilst wrestling with thoughts of wanting to get on with the things that are buzzing around in your mind. This is before we get into the guilt tied to this- switching on an episode of Good Witch (total feel good, magic vibes), rather than sitting at my desk working on pitches and other writing bits and bobs-. It’s the whole thinking the we’re human doers rather than human beings thing, that I think mentioned before on here. No matter how many times we remind ourselves of this, all the thoughts of the things that we think we should be doing keeps prodding us.
I guess one benefit of this time of rest was that I could read a few books that was in my ‘to read’ pile. One of these books was Speak Your Truth by Fearne Cotton . A fantastically insightful book about finding your voice and say what is true for you. I think this is a hard one for most of us and like Cotton says, especially for British people the tendency to be polite overtakes and our we end up holding in our chest all those unspoken words, perhaps putting other people first and not honoring ourselves. This is something that felt like a huge theme for me personally this year, so it goes without saying it triggered a lot of thoughts.
There was one point especially in the book that had me do a spot of self-reflection. Cotton asks her Readers “When have you been silent?”. Obviously, as with all big questions, it sparked a pattern of thought. I reflected on times when I haven’t spoken up when I know I should have. Moments when fear has taken charge and have dictated socially appropriate responses abandoning my own thoughts and feelings. Situations where it felt like I’ve lost access to the library words, which on the one hand can set us free but on the other can be so trapping. There have been a few moments this year where I felt like I’ve stepped up to the plate and voiced my thoughts, but there have also been others when expressing myself felt too much, experiencing unease.
There’s been occasions when passing comments were made or I felt unfairly questioned, and it felt as if I retreated in to myself for that moment, frozen on the spot, unsure which way to turn only knowing that I wanted an escape route. Like stumbling on a thorn, instinct is to go into protective mode and perhaps cover the injured area with your hand. Similarly, when in situations where I feel judged, dismissed or unseen my protective mode has me growing quiet. It’s a strange thing when we think we are so in tune with ourselves, but then a situation or rumination of words can leave you unsure, or, as Cotton explained, it can reveal dissonance within yourself. It’s only on reflection I, like many others, think of all the coulds that should have been said on my part, mind again on over drive.
Though I mustn’t forget those moments, where I have spoken up and voiced my thoughts. Written word has always been like a best friend to me, especially when trying to express more of the harder stuff. So this companion was a tremendous help in a couple of different situations this year. It gives me time and space to work out what I want to say, respecting other people’s thoughts as well as my own. Articulating myself in this way in occasions where saying what is true for me allows me to get around the instant thought of this is uncomfortable and work out ways to move through it. I’m not saying it’s easy. The delete key get its fair use. The flash of the cursor occupies the same space again and again. Every word seems to have this inability to convey my thoughts and when I do finally manage to put together some words, I am still hesitant. Here I must put a side this learnt behaviour of keeping quiet because how is anyone going to know how I feel if I do and I know that no one else can say how I feel or think but me. Now more them ever the word needs us to speak up.
I titled this post “Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable” and as I write, trying to get closer to my answer to this, I think about what is comfort to me-what do this look like? My immediate thoughts go to that feeling in the evening when I get into my PJs and taking of my make-up if I’ve worn any that day, having a cup of tea (preferably with cake), round people that makes me happy, our cat Queen T and her sensationally soft fur coat and her soothing purr, Robins, Mum’s apple crumble, my Sister and I belting out 90’s tunes (nostalgia central), with my bestie and playing googly eyes (don’t ask-for another time), writing this post (doing my prescribed exercises every few sentences), taking time off social media the last couple of weeks (I love connecting, listening to others and sharing my voice, but sometimes it’s just good to catch some distance), more tea (cake only required if it hasn’t been granted with the first mention of tea 😉 ), watching clouds form and reform in unique shapes as they pass in the deep blue sky, days when barriers towards disability aren’t existent (but this leads to a whole other topic), being by the sea, being in the mountains (please don’t ask me to pick between them). The list is endless.
All these things that I listed are things that are filled (mostly) with peaceful moments both externally, with little to no sound, and internally, really feeling held and experiencing a sense of weightlessness and captures my introverted heart somewhat. I guess my comfort is synonyms with the feeling safety and without worry and so I think sometimes when voicing those things that are perhaps hard to say causes my insides to do a summersault, bringing with this a feeling of ambivalence. It seems to me that sometimes remedies for emotional unease are more difficult to locate than for a physical ailment. For example, the warmth of a shower or lathering on Deep Heat as I’ve been doing for muscle soreness lately is almost instantaneous, if only a while, but there is no quick, easy or painless aid, if you like, for things that play on your emotional strings. It requires you to go against your automatic response of shutting down.
I’m not sure if I will ever be completely comfortable with speaking my truths, especially when it requires all of my might. I’m not if I can even completely own some of them. I don’t think I’m alone I in this. Maybe learning to be comfortable in discomfort isn’t the goal. Maybe we just need to get through these times…though we might not feel a total breeziness when speaking about the tricky things, it’s important that we do. Perhaps in time it will then get easier through move through discomfort, the more we do this. I think this thought could be a comfort in itself.
I hope some of my thoughts that I’ve shared have resonated with you and have helped in some way. I also hope that these writing have alleviated, somewhat, the urgency and view that you need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable-if you can’t get on board with this. Just do what you can, that more than enough
All my love XX