When in doubt, write. That has been my fall back for many years. Probably most of my life.
When I was younger it was the locked diary, pink (obvs), covered in hearts (cliché). And hidden from my older sister (in my bedside draw, really shitty hiding place). Why I thought my primary school angst was interesting to anyone but me? Precocious child syndrome.
Then there were the journal days. I graduated from the flimsy padlock diary to pilfered school text books. I would lovingly cover them in pictures cut out from Smash Hits and Just 17 (I wasn’t 17 but thought I was such a rebel). I would scrawl my thoughts and daily doings over multiple pages. Using different colour pens and masses of exclamation marks.
When the computer arrived in my middle class home I wrote diaries. Ode to Adrian Mole. I dreamt that I would die and my diaries would be discovered and I’d be immortalised in my hugely witty words. I didn’t die. I’m still writing.
And then we come to the age of the love letter. I no longer needed to write to myself. I had the ultimate prize….the boyfriend. I would pour out my heart and soul onto A4 lined paper. Pretending to take notes in my A-Level Sociology class or later in my English lectures but instead vomiting my inner most emotions onto a sheet. The letters I wrote…. there were amusing poems, dreams about our future together, us having kids, where we would live. The poor poor recipients. (Although I heard from one such recipient recently. More than ten years later and he still kept them. It caused a fight between him and his girlfriend. He had to throw them away. I couldn’t remember writing them, or what I might have said but the thought that someone had kept my words for all those years was actually a bit inspiring. Firstly my handwriting is terrible, secondly we finished horribly and wanted to kill each other).
Then I wrote for real. I wrote for money (really really shit money), but I was a journalist. Exciting times. Well that’s what most people thought but in actual fact I wrote for local newspapers and most of my stories were about stolen sat navs, bird watching and jumping out of a plane (slight tangent). I went from local news to criminal court. Bloody loved it. Wrote about horrific crimes and actually never got bored…..a rarity for someone with the attention span of a lemon.
Whilst running around the Crown Courts of London I embarked on the next and most painful phase of my writing life. This form came in cards. Still to a boyfriend. To the love of my life to be precise. Cards covered in cutesy animals wearing hats, curled up asleep, eating cupcakes. Reading these back in the harsh light, I realised that the most common word used throughout was ‘sorry’. Sorry I made you angry, sorry I hate it when you drink too much, sorry you don’t want to marry me but I want to marry you, sorry I love you so much.
The next writing stop? A dissertation, assignments. Achieved a Masters in social work (a part of my brain I will probably never use again). I wrote assessments, holistic assessments if there’s such a thing. I wrote court statements detailing harrowing circumstances in which I found children and why they had to be removed. I wrote child protection conference reports. Listing the ins and outs of the condition of a house and why it was unsafe for a child to have razor blades and rusty nails on the floor of the lounge. Explaining why it was so important a 14-year-old wasn’t allowed out all night with members from a local gang, the dangers of sexual exploitation. The reasons why a two-year-old was not safe in the care of an uncle- because my manager told me to- but I didn’t believe it and it broke me. My writing broke me.
Let’s not forget the texts and whatsapp messages of today. Arranging meetings, nights out and dinners. Catching up with friends whose lives have moved them away from my favourite city. Break up texts to a new boyfriend who broke my heart and went out for drinks in Clapham.
So now we have come full circle. I am back. Writing a journal or a series of mad ramblings online. Writing for money in a corporate world full of brainless salesmen. Writing about things I don’t care about. The one static? The saving grace? My words never stop. Err not great for everyone. I’m sure certain people would love me to stop. But they keep coming. I keep vomiting emotions onto a page and will continue to do so. Well until my computer’s battery runs out anyway. Who can be bothered to find the charger?