I have nothing to apologise for, but I do want to share a few things to support some continuity. And the first of those things is that I haven't been very well. I don't think until yesterday even I realised how unwell, but the depression and anxiety have been back pretty much all summer. The result of this is a little voice in my head telling me not to do anything that the positive side wants to do, making the spiral into the black hole even more acute. Going out into the garden, working the allotment, writing here are all things that demon stops me from doing, telling me that even if I do, it won't be good enough, and generally bullying me into inactivity. It's a hideous, sad and lonely space to be and the pressure it creates is beyond frightening.
But why? There's a question occasionally it's important to ask of yourself and deal with the answer properly. And one of the answers is that I have been beyond unhappy living where we are. We moved into our house 2 years ago, when my daughter and her partner were still with us, Des our little dog was still with us, and we were excited, or so I kidded myself, that we had a garden after just a courtyard in our city centre flat. But the reality has been much different. Our ward in Bristol was one of only a couple that voted to leave the EU, the provision for fresh food is dire, and its right up there in the most deprived areas of the city, and I had hoped to be able to work to support Incredible Edible Bristol into the area. But all I've heard is 'you don't come from round here' in various guises. Never have I felt so out of place.
So yesterday we visited what will be our new home. It's perfect. Views across the city from upstairs, and a tiny garden that is a completely blank canvas. Excited doesn't cover it. Reinvigorated, I have plans a plenty to really turn this into our home.
But there is something else I've battled with. An off the cuff remark by someone suggesting that, when I asked an online forum if others struggled to write at times, that my blog wasn't worth the effort if it didn't earn me any money, and nor was Incredible Edible Bristol. And that has brought about an internal, difficult conversation about worth.
A lot, if not most, of what I do is voluntary. I don't hide that and I'm not trying to be some sort of saint. It's just the way it is. Incredible Edible Bristol is a voluntary organisation and as such supports expenses but funding for core costs is nigh on impossible. I really feel like I'm putting my head on the block writing this, but my thing is and always has been that If something needs doing let's do it. Waiting for funds often means things don't happen so we just get on with it! I think supporting 40 public realm gardens to begin and prosper over 4 years sets the precedent that just getting on with it, involving as many organisations as you can, and creating a buzz across the city, is the way to go to make real grassroots change. Yes it's meant sacrifices but its never occurred to me to prioritise my earning potential over getting on with it. My bag. My decision.
Equally I write this blog, and my social media stuff for me. It's not my job. I'm aware of course that bloggers can and do earn a good living from blogging but although I'm not suggesting I never would, I never have.
So that throw away comment really, really bothered me. Is everything we do supposed to be about financial worth? And if it is how do I change this so people take what I do seriously? I still don't have the answers to this but if anyone does, please share.....
So here I am, today, feeling much better, reinvigorated if not slightly nervous that firstly we have to move house which is my least favourite thing in the world to do ever, and that yet again I am wearing my heart on my sleeve. But there it is. Out there.
Right now I'm on a train, off to a book launch in London and acutely aware I have books I've been sent to review, a garden and house to plan, and a very large project with Incredible Edible Bristol to plan. But today is a new day, those things will happen and the future is looking brighter.......