How to paralyse me totally for over a week? Praise my writing, as Anairam did. (In return, please follow that link and say "ooh" over the lovely things to be seen there.)
Who am I then? A reasonably competent knitter. A fairly competent sewer (although I don't entirely display the evidence of it, because sewing takes more time to set up and put away than I generally have to spare). A somewhat incompetent taker of snapshots, who has known some really good photographers, and is therefore painfully conscious of her inadequacy. But writer?
Writer is what I want to be, have always wanted to be, since I knew that the words on the page were composed by an actual person, not 'magic'. Much as I enjoy the various crafts I practice, I will never be more than a copyist of greater or lesser skill. I do not have that extra spark that would enable me to design for myself, and I would actually rather pay someone else do the hard work (because good design does not just happen, and it deserves reward). I used to draw, and became competent, but I never really moved beyond still-life or landscape. I could copy what was in front of me, but I could not add to it. I could draw a figure as it was posed, but I could not make it live as a portrait. I can't sing, I can't play any musical instrument, and my only musical accomplishment is that I feel physical pain when the wrong note is played.
Words are my tools. They do what I want them to. Not that writing is easy - when I get to the point of putting words onto paper (or screen), the process is fast, and I rarely need to revise, but getting to that point can take hours, days, weeks, and it hurts.
Tomorrow it will be a year since I started this blog. It's taken most of that year to find a voice, and I have no intention of going back to re-read my early posts, where I fumbled around, not sure who or what I was. I would probably delete them out of hand, like the sheaves of paper I have binned over the years, too trite, too pretentious, too anything for me to bear.
It's not just the writing that has changed over the past year. Last September I was doing a job I hated but had had no way out of. I did whatever it took to keep going, to get out of bed and walk to work, to earn the wage that bought my food. Now I have a job that I almost always enjoy and occasionally love. For the first time in years, most of the strands of my life are going well, and so I find myself feeling safe enough to begin to strip away the layers of self-censorship that have accumulated over the years. I have disguised myself, told the world to overlook me, pass me by, just leave me alone. I survived, but I had begun to wonder who I really was. Now, perhaps, I am beginning to find out.