I have an ongoing ambivalence about how or to what extent I blog about M.E. On the one hand I want to speak the truth, or at least my truth; it is important both for my sake and the sake of anyone who might be looking here whose life has been affected by M.E.; and in any case every aspect of my life is affected by it so to pretend otherwise would be like not mentioning the elephant in the room. But on the other hand it would not interest me to write a blog that tells each detail of how it is in my daily life. It may, actually, be an absorbing thing both to write and to read, but I wouldn’t have the heart for it, preferring often to “tell all the truth but tell it slant”. If an image can speak for me then I am satisfied, and what I leave out is probably as eloquent as what I might actually say.
Despite everything, though, I find myself challenged. I have resisted, as many do, allowing the illness to define – to become what I am, even though there is so much I have been obliged to give up because of it (for it does seek me with a great and purposeful passion and intent). I have said that it may hold sway in my life but it is not what I am. A certain Process I engaged with last year encouraged us to think in terms of “doing” M.E. rather than feeling it was something laid upon us. This is obviously, in theory, an empowering idea and I can’t argue with those who have taken up their beds and walked, but though I gave it my best shot the process didn’t work for me. I am still taken, however, with the idea that M.E. is something I am “doing” – in the sense that I am trying and, in some respects, succeeding in living a life that is fulfilling and creative in spite of, and in the context of, an illness that is, as I say in my profile, against all things creative.
Yes, it is the very devil. I have just spent the best part of this month fighting a losing battle trying to push it away so that I could get on with a writing (extended prose) project because something in me refuses to accept that this (M.E.) is what I now “do”. But I can’t help remembering what Quentin Crisp once said:
“It’s no good running a pig farm badly for 30 years while saying, ‘Really, I was meant to be a ballet dancer.’ By then, pigs will be your style.”
In other words, we might extrapolate, you are what you most consistently do. But is that true? Because, folks, right now I am not properly doing much of anything – well, unless you count seeing Shrink (who is in my bad books at the moment, but more of this anon). And though it’s not what one might call fun, I don’t feel any less connected than ever I was. I still hear voices. Think the fir trees are speaking to me. Am probably going bonkers. Which might not be good for prose but is ok for poetry.
Back to the drawing board, I reckon.