• Ash

Emotional Constipation, Silence, & Unscratchable Itches

If we were sitting down in a coffee shop, respectively nursing our hot drinks, I’d begin by saying how wonderful it is to see you. Because it’s been a while. I’d ask you how you’ve been; if you’ve been keeping busy and well, and to tell me what’s new. Because I can’t wait to hear all about it.

I’d say, 2021 has been a strange one. And despite the odd poem I’ve forced out, intending to rebel against a new-found emotional constipation, I still find a piece of myself disappearing into the background.

After publishing ‘Woman’ in July 2020, there was an initial sense of achievement, but also a huge relief. Some of the poems had been locked up in drawers from years ago, and a lot were brand new that was written during the UK lockdown between the spring and summer of 2020, but despite when or why they were written; once published, all the voices stopped. The self-criticism, the identity-crisis, the metaphorical image of standing naked for the word to see - it went quiet. And for a while I enjoyed the silence.

During this time, I took on extra projects at work, digging deeper into the more ‘technical-thinking and logical-built side of myself. Work was busy (still is), so for the first time ever, my creativity knew boundaries.

Towards the end of 2020, the silence became too much. See, sometimes when I take a break from writing, it helps to form new ideas and a fresh perspective, eventually ‘letting myself know’ what it is that’s coming next. But other times, it doesn’t come back willingly and it feels like an itch that can’t be scratched.

Unfortunately, my year ended and began with the loss of a loved one. There’s a complicated past there that ripped open some old wounds. And when that happened, there was no itch. I was numb. And I spent a long time with that numbness. But with it came: strength, patience, forgiveness, and most importantly of all, closure. All of which, I’d been needing for years.

2021, for me, has been about finding lost pieces of myself and putting them back together again. They haven’t all fit perfectly, and I don’t think they ever will, but I’m now confident enough to say: I’ve found myself once again. And more recently, that itch has come back. And it feels amazing.

It’s Sunday evening, 4.24pm - Christmas tree is lit, Chilli’s cooking, and snow is making its first appearance and settling for the night.

Wherever you are, I hope all is well with you.

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