So it’s a beautifully bright snowy day outside, which is pretty rare for London but I heard something about a polar vortex so like the rest of us I’m just not going to question that and accept that we have SNOW.
The whole of the UK grinds to a halt on days like this so it’s always mildly entertaining. Even this morning I was woken up by the doorbell at 7am to find Boyf looking dishevelled and announcing the buses weren’t running today so he had to come back for the car.
However before he’d set off on his epic adventure to the bus stop this morning he went out in the garden and drew a heart in the snow for me to find when I got up! Sometimes it’s not all bad living with a boy.
Anyway, the point of this post. So I’m rebranding.
I’m moving away from keeping everything under my name, even if it is so utterly ridiculous that it becomes memorable and ever since I set up Elspeth Illustrates I thought it might be nice to keep that theme and blog under Elspeth Says.
I wanted to explain briefly why I write. This world is ever saturated with bloggers at the moment, just tap on the blogger hashtag on Instagram and the world and his wife are banging on about having top content.
I don’t write for the sake of writing, I write because I feel like it sets my soul free.
When I was younger I was often penalised for speaking too much of my mind, sharing too much on the internet (my family were very private people), but I had too much emotion. Well, not too much, but more than the average, and I needed an outlet!
When I write it’s like I go into another world, I can connect with people I don’t even know I’m connecting with, I can reach out to a whole sea of people who then contact me and tell me all about how they feel the same and how they wanted to be able to word things in the way I word them. That’s quite an honour when you’ve spent 80% of your life being told to stifle what you need to say.
It’s almost like my hands just run away with me when I’m writing, don’t get me wrong I love blogging but there is also nothing like your hand with the perfect pen flowing along a crisp new sheet of white paper.
Working from home and being self employed can also be a very lonely place, so being able to let my words hit the paper on a day to day basis – whether in texts, email, facebook, blogging etc. It’s like with every word I release anxiety and connect more with myself and the outside world.
As we all know I’ve spoken before about how I use social media as a recovery tool too, which can be negative in some situations where people become addicted but personally I’ve found it to be something I can use to reach a world I never knew possible.
When I was 14 I first discovered forums, and that’s when I joined the Kerrang Message Boards (I know, cool as fuck right?). And back then it was very taboo to be making internet friends, I had to keep it on the DL as my Dad would have killed me. p.s. any 14 year olds reading this, don’t meet up with internet strangers, I’m not condoning this.
However this was the first time in my life I’d found people outside of the small-town mentality I’d been brought up in. The villages I grew up in were very insular, and this gave me instant access to more people, different views, people from all kinds of different walks of life and places and sexualities, careers and life stories.
This lead me on to using things like LiveJournal (thank God I deleted that, I don’t think I ever want to see what 15 year old me secretly word vommed on the internet ever again). Also see MySpace.
Then onto the usual Facebook/Twitter/Insta and now finally taking blogging a little bit more seriously, well more regularly should I say. I’ll never be serious.
It’s funny though because sometimes I still almost feel ashamed of wanting to write publicly in the manner I do, like having internet friends is a taboo thing but it’s not anymore. It’s almost fashionable, which is a strange concept. If I was to tell my 15 year old self that she was doing things before the cool kids discovered it was cool and it wasn’t actually lame and geeky she’d probably go back to hiding in the art room and ignore me.
But I write because it connected me to so much more.
Don’t get me wrong, I would struggle with essay writing and my 12000 word dissertation nearly destroyed me, but this is a different kind of writing. It’s almost like how artists describe that their soul flows down their arm into their brushes and onto the paper, but my soul is being bared through words.
The power and overwhelming emotion I get from hearing that my words, my simple words, have helped others? That’s pretty insane.
I remember when I had to write my back story for the DWP when they wanted me to be part of a panel for the 2014 conservative party conference and they emailed back to say they’d all cried in the office and wanted me to do a 3 minute talk on my own.
For those of you that want to witness this debacle (fun fact, I tell everyone to be quiet halfway through because I forget politicians clap at things. Also fun fact, I’m not a conservative, I used this as a platform for my business and mental health awareness):
If you hadn’t noticed I quite like speaking out loud too…
Hey if your brain was this loud all the time you’d wanna get some words out too!
I didn’t realise before that my words had this much power. People told me my whole life I was too emotional, too sensitive etc. But what if you take those things and make them into strengths? It’s almost like the extra emotion I have sticks to every vowel, every sound, every letter and pours directly into other people’s souls. That’s how it feels when I connect with people in that sense.
Being allowed to have the freedom to write about mental health, but not just mental health, my own raw journey and people don’t judge me. Well, they probably do but they can happily stay in the shadows for now!
So this is me, this is why I write, I don’t plan blogs, I don’t map out the intro and the conclusion like they used to force me to at uni. It’s freeflowing, therapeutic, probably full of typos and me, 100% unapologetically me.
And I just want to thank all of you who read my blogs/status’ regularly, contribute to conversation and bare their soul’s right back to me in the form of words.
You are a very special kind of person, because you all make me feel pretty special.
Writing is a very powerful tool, and definitely one in my recovery/mental health toolbox. It’s a real therapy for me.
So welcome to this more regular journey of me baring my soul to you.