I have been thinking on and off about selfishness; being selfish is I think generally seen as a bad thing and certainly that is what springs to my mind when I think about the word but I wonder is it really bad? In my journey to understand myself I have to explore why I do certain things to try to work out the underpinning emotion that is going for me and I do that exploration through writing. Somehow writing allows me to step back a little and having captured a scene look at it from different perspectives; I guess being curious is the key here. Writing in this way however takes time. I would say that usually I spend over an hour writing each post if it is one that flows out; a more difficult piece can take much longer requiring breaks in order to relieve my foreground ponderings and push them back into more unconscious processing.
I was talking to the Wolfpack this week (it’s my name for the writer’s support group I go to) about my concern that I am becoming addicted to writing, in essence in my need for writing was I becoming selfish? It was pointed out that I seemed to believe that was a bad thing, but was it? Writing in itself has been of great therapeutic value to me and has given me insights into myself that I am not sure I would not have got in any other way; so no writing isn’t a bad thing at all, in fact it is a very good thing that I would encourage anybody to try. I guess the issue comes around prioritisation of life. In spending so much time writing, and getting to a point when it feels something is missing if I haven’t writing during a day, I am letting other things become less important.
In the past I have loved to cook but since the routine of family took over, cooking became a chore and I used my imagination less and less until now I have staple things that I cook, with some on specific days. There are days when I really don’t want to cook and have bought ready-made meals instead but I felt guilty about this because I was being lazy and was providing a less healthy meal at much greater cost. Since my writing cooking has taken on an even lower priority and feels like a demand I have to meet on certain days, what has changed though is that I don’t feel guilty about buying a take-away or doing a simple meal anymore because I am seeing to my needs first; is this more selfish? It must be if I am giving myself more appreciation in the process and allow that to change what I do or perhaps more importantly, how I feel about cooking. Is this selfishness a bad thing? Well no I don’t think so; I feel better about myself and the cooking.
Yet as I become more aware of how demanding I find life, I am also finding that I am avoiding bits of it. I am aware that I am behind on the accounts. I am aware that if I don’t answer an email immediately than I am even less likely to respond to them now than I used to. I am aware that the weeds are taking over in the garden. I am aware that the dog is getting fewer walks than he used to. I am aware that I don’t want to go to work. I am aware that I am not treating my psoriasis as well as I could. I am aware that I am not eating particularly healthily. It would seem that my self-motivation has been left behind whilst my insight has gained.
In the past I would have put these issues down to depression and maybe there is still an element of that now, but I suspect it is more to do with recognising the demands these things feel like and saying “go easy on yourself”. There is a part of me that says that this is an excuse to avoid doing things, to let go of my responsibilities but I don’t think I believe it nowadays. Fulfilling demands takes energy out of me, and I am choosing to put that energy into writing about myself and my experiences instead. I believe that is a good thing, and yes I can see that is being selfish.
Today I am going to see my GP and discuss with him about coming off the anti-depressants but also I am looking to be referred so see if I can get an official diagnosis of my particular form autism; if an expert agrees with me then I hope that will help other people understand what my life is like. So yes I am being selfish, but that is okay for the moment. My life is in flux (perhaps that will always be the case) but I see a future me more able to do things for myself and others but for the moment I need to focus on my writing, and on discovering who I really am.