My health was thrown to the front of my mind again this week when Chronic Fatigue made the headlines with a new name and new diagnostic criteria. This was quite interesting and actually I don’t meet this new criteria so I am already planning a return to the Dr to ask them, once again, to investigate the on-going pain in my throat. Less interesting and less unusual was the response I saw to the articles on social media.
It’s nothing I haven’t seen before. People making jokes about CFS, about how they think they have it or that they wish they did or that they might plan to get it at some point. Nice. Can you imagine those jokes about any other illness? Then there are the ‘CFS is in the head’ crew, it’s not a real thing, it’s made up, people are lazy/crazy/bit of both. Again nice and I don’t really get it. Do these people think that I wouldn’t go back to how I felt before in a heartbeat if I had the chance? I’ve had pain everyday for over two years now and I can no longer do many of things that I loved to do (including drinking alcohol and I really, really like wine!). Trust me, I’ve tried many times to just do them, crashed and burned over and over. The only thing worse than the pain is having to pretend that you are alright which is what I do. And the only thing worse than pain and pretending you are alright is watching people talk about it as though the entire thing is something you just made up, you know, for fun, because obviously it’s a real blast.
Moaning aside I have had a balanced week. One acceptance and one rejection. One in, one out. I made myself send a submission out and I really had to make myself do it. I am not exactly sure what that is about actually, last year I just send things off without too much thought, this year I feel a bit resistant to it. It might be in part because I don’t feel like I have developed a good eye about my work yet. I never feel sure which poems I should be sending out and which are either not ready or will never be ready. It always feels like a big gamble and often when they come back I scrap them.
I didn’t do a competition. I looked at one and didn’t manage to make myself send off. I am finding it hard to get past the ‘this is a waste of money’ thought. I genuinely don’t think I write poems that are competition worthy which isn’t meant to be a dig at my work, I just think it’s not that sort of work. I admit I am regretting the 52 competition poems goal from new year. I wish I had gone with a poem a day instead because that one is ticking along quite nicely. We shall see. I have already missed one goal as I didn’t finish my sonnet this week. I got half way through and then the week took over. But I think it might be ok. I am experimenting with letting myself off the hook and failing at things. I have a tendency to see things in quite black and white terms as in if I don’t learn a sonnet this week it’s game over, but I am fairly sure the world won’t end.
What I am finding a bit strange right now is that I just don’t feel like a writer, whatever that means. I still write every day, I always feel better when I write and I am starting to wonder if it is more of a personal practice and what would that mean for me? I don’t feel strongly about it either way right now, I feel quite muted about it, almost neutral. Last year I was fighting so hard to get stuff out there and it worked, this year I just feel a bit like a giant shrugged shoulder. Who knows, it will all come out in the wash I imagine.