September 16, 2018. In my last update I was staggered to find that August had arrived and we're now officially in mid-September. Wha' happened? [This is a reference to a splendid film called A Mighty Wind, just FYI. Bit of an obscure one, I'll admit.]
Long, long ago (okay, it was January) I wrote a post called 'Honesty is the Best Policy' in which I pondered the most socially acceptable way to answer the question "How are you?" or the more casual version "You alright?". Ever the over thinker, I picked it the idea like a crusty scab, worrying if my approach of actually telling the truth was right or not! Of course, back in January only a month on from my December meltdown, my answer to that question was NOT a positive one. In short, I was in a bad way and I told people so when they enquired deciding, as the title of the post suggested, that it was best to be honest.
So how am I now? I was asked this question just last week by my mate, Jacqui, who I haven't seen in yonks but I'll get to that in a moment.
A deeply organised friend from uni has recently invited me to his 40th birthday party in... wait for it... January. Now this may seem ludicrous but parents of small humans like myself will appreciate the need to have as much notice as possible for social gatherings. It's even more important when you are separated from your children's father as you have to choose exactly the right moment to spring "Btw, I'm going away for the weekend! Thanks, bu-bye!" on your ex.
Upon receipt of said invitation (he posted it and everything, #oldschool) I immediately contacted my mate who I knew would definitely also be invited and as a mother of a nearly two year old would most definitely be up for a shindig. She asked how I am - her message read, and I quote "Geordie Kati, how the fookin eck are you??" reminding me instantly of how much I bloody love her and reinforcing the idea that she is 100% the right wingwoman for this event. My response was "In a nutshell, I'm homeless, mental and a tiny bit fat", all technically true. Jacqui replied with "That all sounds like the making of a great TV show... you should write a script!"
And so once again I find myself musing over a writing career. I was considered quite the literary genius in High School (yes, really) but it was most definitely a big fish, small pond scenario. I dare say there were more talented writers within my school but my talent coupled with my massive gob and gift for self-promotion meant I was the best known author in Scared Heart in the late 90s. My English teachers, who were of course my favourite teachers, wanted me to do an English degree. They were absolutely correct but someone, somewhere put it on my radar that you could actually study FILM at university... or filim as I would've pronounced it back then as a much more Geordier Kati... and my mind was made up. I often wonder how different my life would be if I had indeed studied English but there is of course no way to know.
This blog is the most writing I've done in years and I do love it. It doesn't reach the masses like I dreamed it would... I have not become the latest blogging sensation making my fortune from my musings on life, parenthood and shitey mental health but it is cathartic and good for my head space and right now, that's more valuable to me than fame and notoriety. Only just, mind you.
I have all manner of ideas floating around my noggin for novels - both adult and young adult fiction - but nothing I can pin down and start working on. I don't even know the process of writing a novel! I dare say this can be learned but again, where do you start? I push ideas to one side, telling myself that for now I'm just focusing on getting mentally stronger and oh yeah, finding somewhere to fookin live but I know for a fact that there is no perfect time to do anything.
My therapy is now underway and so far, it's going well I think. The others in the group are warm and interesting. Needless to say, we are quite a mismatched crew as crappy Mental Health does not see age, colour or religion and will happily bring anyone it fancies to their knees (bastard!) but we're getting along quite well. It's certainly fascinating. As to whether or not it's 'working', I think it's far too early to tell. I don't even believe that this group will 'fix' me and to be honest, I'm not interested in being fixed. For me, it's about learning coping strategies and gaining a better understanding of my illness so it's hold over me is not quite so strong. I am a work in progress - cookie dough to use a Buffy analogy which I'm inclined to do wherever possible - and I feel I always will be. And I'm cool with that.
I still don't have a home of my own but I am happy to report that I am settled in one place until the beginning of November which, after being on the move since the end of July, is an absolute joy. I have a plan of attack which I intend to launch this coming week to move along the whole process of me being allocated somewhere to live. I can't sit around and wait for the council to sort it. I want to put pictures on the walls and buy Harry Potter cushions from Primark that will delight me and my children but infuriate my big sister. I want to make a little home for me and my small humans.
When I sit down in front of my laptop to write a blog post, I'm often unsure of where I will be by the end of it. Well, I'll still be sitting in front of the computer obviously but what will have flowed from me through my fingers and on to the screen in the past hour? That is not always quite so clear.
I think I expected to write about how I am and oddly, despite being "homeless, mental and a tiny bit fat", I think I'm okay. I think I'm better than I was. But the blog has also ended up being about my writing. Typical me with my need for validation and attention, still suffering a case of Wannabeitis that has followed me round since my teens, I tend to picture myself at book signings and literary prize givings more than I think about plot structure and target audience for my novels. No please, do roll your eyes, be my guest! I know I'm quite ridiculous at times.
Over all, yes, I am okay. I think! I completed my fourth (and fastest ever) Great North Run last Sunday and I am immensely proud of myself for this. And for the first time ever, I'm still running post-GNR. Unheard of, I tells ya! I did a recovery run on Monday, went for a five mile walk on Wednesday (admittedly I only walked that far coz I got lost) and then ran again on Friday. I'm also 99% sure I'm going to do the Great South Run next month despite the fact that I did it last year and hated every second of it... So much so, that I gave up running altogether after it. I'm glad I don't stick to all the decisions I make!
Will 2019 be the year I write my first novel? Will I be sat on the sofa with Phillip and Holly, talking about how my breakdown and my poor mental health was the catalyst for me turning my life around and being the writer I'd always dreamed of being...? Should I perhaps focus on writing for the love of words, language and storytelling rather than on it being a path to the 'This Morning' studio?! I don't need you to answer that.
It's a Sunday. A new week begins tomorrow. My Headspacing is teaching me that I can't change the past and the future hasn't happened yet so maybe I'll just focus on today. Sounds like a plan, yes?