I once had a job, after I’d completed my masters in English Literature, and jumped at the first paycheck offered me… As a high school English teacher. But I grew ever more miserable, ever more depleted…. As I wrote in a previous blog, I was living an unliveable life.
I saw my psychiatrist from the Donkin for the first time in three years the other day. He asked me how the last three years had been. I relayed my brief history thus far. My doctor told me to have more faith in myself, in that case… Since it was remarkable (after a job working under a tyrant, after a traumatizing car crash beyond my control, after my grandparents – my pillars of strength – had moved to another city…) that I had not relapsed, I must be doing something right.
Then, in the days to follow our session, I thought back to my childhood, in light of the research I’d done to help me introduce coping strategies in my life so as never to return to the Donkin as a ward of the state… EVER AGAIN!
I realised something… Pet therapy… Culinary therapy… Reading and writing as therapy… I’d been drawn to these instinctively as a child… My dog then, Bojangles, knew – to this day I am convinced! – when I’d had a rough day at school and was a little teary, and never left my side all of that day (or alternatively, made me chuckle in spite of myself with his hilarious trick of untying my school shoe laces, something he did whenever he was most excited to see me!)… I would rise early, select a tea for the morning (for at a young age, I already had a fascination with teas from all over the world… perhaps it made me feel worldly, well-travelled, who knows?!)… When friends came over, I would lay out the breakfast table to the best of my 8-year-old capabilities…. When girls fought at my birthday parties, I would lock myself in the pantry room with a good book and wait until they had all gone home, my mom apologising all the while for my rudeness. But by then, she’d learnt. I was a strange child. As most children are. No one any more or less special.
So during my year of teaching, I cried one night, until the birds began to chirrup, wondering over the state of my life. It dawned on me that I had not read a book (aside from set-work reads for the children) or written anything other than commentary on one or another student’s essay that week. Or any week for the last year, for that matter.
Time to return to my childhood, I thought. Time to return to the things that help me manage my anxiety, that bring joy to my life.
So I thought of a blog… And I thought of a title, Humble Pie, that would encompass all that is important to me… Humility… Food… Sharing… Literature… A world of wonderful people…. Life in this beautiful but sometimes befuddling country of my heart… And I asked a dear friend if he could help in the tech area where I am not so strong…
I gave him no direction, just outlined some of the subjects I might cover in my future posts, and gave him I suppose a mission statement in my own way…
But after two years of friendship, he knew me so well. And this blog was his gift to me. I like pretty things. Of this, I must be honest. And it helps to have a beautiful forum with which to share my message(s) with you, my darling readers.
With a good book, with dinner and friends over candlelight, with my cat (the loveliest of lovelies, Poe!), and with this blog, the motivation to write daily…. I don’t think there is anything life can throw at me anymore that will leave me without hope.
Thanks to this blog (and of course, you, my readers), my hope springs eternal.
So thank you, Chris.
When you put this blog together for me, I suspect you understood my role as a writer, you understood my voice and what I had to offer the world, even better than I did at the time. You knew the kind of writer I’d become. I have only love for you for that. Plus, your friendship alone is pretty groovy!
To contact Chris or to see more of his work visit: blacksmithmedia.co.za
To read more on my process of re-self-discovery: http://www.myhumblepie.co.za/finding-my-voice-again/
Rare sighting below…
The man without laptop… Sipping on iced coffee on a warm Summer’s day! (ps. Just look out for the immaculately-groomed-albeit-greying beard and the hat/peak….He’s always on the move, but not too hard to make out in a crowd!)
Photo credits: Helen (Chris’s sister-extraordinaire!)