Thursday, 31 January 2019

How Real?

Susan Zarzycki of Living an Ordinary Life and YumYum Crochet left a lovely comment.  She said that my blog sounded homey and realistic.  I felt hugged. 

Then I started thinking about the 'realistic' bit. 

I never needed to make stuff up.  In fact, there have been times when I have toned things down when I've wittered on about my life.  I said as much to the driving examiner the last time I failed my test, just after telling him the story of when psycho cat ripped the head of a mouse (while he was strictly an indoor cat and had probably had to send for the poor thing mail order) while we were watching Cinderella and paused the video (it was a long time ago) on the frame of a dancing, cartoon mouse.  The driving examiner was actually quite nice, and I don't blame him for failing me, and we had quite a good chat as we went around.  I don't know if that is realistic, but it happened.

In my experience, reality is far stranger than any fiction.  I write novels about werewolves and vampires and I wouldn't even think about putting in some of the crazy stuff I had seen in real life.    Last summer I had a scare with two separate types of cancer within a week or so of each other.  It sounds so full of drama, and it did seem unbelievable to me, but it was real.  To be honest, I felt in my bones that they were just scares and nothing serious, but I begrudged the appointments I had to go to at a time when I was sinking, even though they were necessary.  If anyone thinks that I made up that story, I don't blame them.  I would think that as well.  I certainly wouldn't put it in a novel.  I get that blogs don't always sound real.

I am, by nature, a story teller.  Whether it's the time I put hand wash liquid in the washing machine (seriously, don't do this, the foam gets everywhere) or my fail at making ginger beer, or my trials with the sewing machine, it may not be a success, but they are good stories.  I am still scared of the dratted sewing machine and if that changes then I will share - especially if there is a good story in it.  That is my real life and I enjoy finding the stories in them and sharing them.  If I can find the story, then I can keep going.  So what you read here is me talking about my life but knowing that I look for the stories.  I don't lie, but I do try and find the humour and the silver lining.  And when I tell the story, it helps me make sense of things, especially when times are tough. 

I think I get what Susan means, though.  I hope I am not putting words in your mouth, Susan, but some blogs are so full of successes that they are depressing.  I have actually unsubscribed to some blogs, as I read them and felt that I could never achieve their pinnacle of perfection.  I would read about their effortless budgeting, cookery and housekeeping, look around the ruins that are my living room and feel worse about myself than ever.  I hope I never do that to anyone.  Life can be awesome, and tough, and complicated and it's never as straightforward as a story where you have control of what happens, and hugs to anyone who is struggling at this moment.  My experience is that if you can find the story and find the humour, then you can get through almost anything.  When I look at those blogs that show how wonderful and perfect the blogger's life is, I wonder what story isn't being told.  I wonder where the surprises and the unexpected are and, I suppose, where the reality is.  Also, I usually feel a failure.  Just to add - to the right you can see a list of the blogs I follow.  I think they are awesome and I don't feel a failure after reading them.  I thought I ought to be clear.

I'm rambling, and what I think I mean is that, sometimes there is a better story in a real fail than a fake success.  And sometimes it's okay to admit that things have gone wrong and that everything seems dark.  Because that means that people reading can feel that it's okay not to be perfect (heaven knows, I am far from perfect, and it encourages me to know that others also face the same struggles) and it's okay to try to keep going and it's okay to get it wrong.  And when things go right, it is absolutely okay to celebrate the good because sometimes real life is good.  Sometimes I get it right - my home made soup is awesome!

Some of the blogs I follow have people struggling through the most dreadful circumstances, but they keep going, they find the positive or the humour, or even the defiance that they need to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  I find people like Bless and Hester incredibly inspirational, even though they have had their dark times. 

I started blogging when bear was little and I was very isolated.  I wanted to be able to talk about my life, and because I didn't have anyone to speak to face to face, I started this.  In this blog I have made many friends, and I have had some amazing advice that has been incredibly useful and supportive, and you are all awesome.  I haven't got anything profound to offer, just the stories of what happens day to day, pretty much as they happen, and I hope that I can share the humour if nothing else. 

In the interests of real life, I am up far too late.  Last night I worked until the early hours trying to get a fiction submission sorted, and then I was up far too early to get bear ready for school  However I am currently up far too late again as I forgot to take bear's dratted kit out of the dratted washer and it doesn't tumble dry so I am keeping it near the fire to try and get it fit for his rock climbing tomorrow.  I shall probably crawl back into bed after bear leaves tomorrow morning as I am still flattened by the flu.  And, for the sake of being realistic, here is a blog post from 18 months ago.  It tells about broken appliances and a lost grave.  It is all absolutely true, some of it is unbelievable and it is a perfect example of why I never need to make anything up.  I've included a pic from that post below.

File:Churchyard of Christ Church, Rossett - - 1469672.jpg
This is the old part of the churchyard, where my great grandparents are buried, taken by John S Turner and used under the Creative Commons Agreement.  They made a quiet space for people to think in the place where the graves were so old that most were untended

It's been a rambling post, possibly due to sleep deprivation, but I want to say sincerely, thank you for stopping by and thank you for all those who have given advice and support over the years.  Thank you for letting me share the real stories in my life.  I am very grateful.  Hugs to all. 


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