Did Churchill write on his black dog days?
No one wants to hear that when you woke this morning, you rolled out of bed the wrong way and hit the wall. Or that the kids ate all the porridge, and apparently, the loo roll! That the dog stepped in her own doings in the yard because you haven’t cleaned up after her. Or that your mother is ‘being difficult’ (even on the other side of the world, it’s a worry) that your sister’s just had an operation, that your Aunt is dying of cancer and your husband has been whipped with the grumpy stick as he struggles to get everything done at work before the holiday season.
YOU HAVE BILLS!
That your skin has broken out in some kind of hormonal siege, just in time for Christmas photos, and that your jeans have shrunk four sizes (quite possibly due to an over-indulgence of Christmas mince pies!) That your kids are about to fly to New Zealand for four whole weeks and you feel too young to have empty-nest syndrome. That every time you hear this song from Tim Minchin – about drinking Christmas white wine with family and friends in the sun – your smile droops.
How much of ourselves do we share?
I suppose the questions bloggers (like me) need to ask are; ‘how much of yourself do you reveal?’, and ‘is it ingenuous?’ As a global community whilst we celebrate ‘the reveal’ whether in the cosmetic surgery journey, or in the Jeremy Kyle styled ‘he said, she said’ show, I think we can overdo it a tad. Being real, revealing our innermost thoughts and feelings, is a fundamental part of online communication, not to mention broadcast communication. Of course you have to ask, how much of what is portrayed is ‘prepared reality’? Was Simon Cowell really surprised at Susan Boyle’s singing performance? Wasn’t there an audition he must have heard? Call me a cynical old media tart, but I couldn’t help noticing the delicious flourish of ‘revelation’ that Cowell’s surprise at Boyle’s talent stirred. That kind of commoditised ‘honesty’ doesn’t really cut it, in my opinion.
I think for blogs to be successful – and by success I mean, they really communicate and build a relationship between writer and reader – they have to be raw at times (but not all the time!) The reader needs to be able to identify with the writer, if ever so privately at home in front of their own screen, and that means sharing in all her ups and downs. So yes, sometimes you have to fake it, just enough mind to put on a happy face and get the words out. Sometimes you need to take the black dog out for a walk, even if it is securely fastened on a leash. It’s this courage to allow yourself to be openly vulnerable, that breaks down the barriers not just between me and you, but also between you and the others around you.
Are you feeling a little un-Christmassy? It’s ok. Hang in there! Maybe we all need to fake it, just a little bit. And if the seasonal stress, or the stress of moving, or travelling, or kids, or work is twitching your ‘black dog’s tail’, remember this wonderful quote from Herman Hesse:
You are a bird in the storm, let it drive you’.