Over the past few years I have galloped through unfamiliar forests of thought, hoping to find a break in the trees, sometimes with abandon, and sometimes with caution. My blog ‘Growing Sideways’ has been a cathartic and timely endeavor. I have been surprised by unexpected affirmation as fellow readers and writers have identified with my questions and ‘ponderings’ with as much curiosity and freedom as I have felt. I have been emboldened by others on more than one occasion, “keep going and keep thinking!”
It would be untruthful of me if I didn’t acknowledge there have been times where people have objected to my writing and actively discouraged my choice to freely ask questions as though it is a crime to doubt. It used to annoy me but I have since realised that it is okay to belong to a different tribe and respect someone else’s convictions even if they don’t respect mine. What helped form the callus on the tip of my soul throughout the last few years, is the realisation that I am responsible for my own convictions and therefore cannot be tempted to homogenise or dilute the process for fear of friction. There is a certain freedom that comes with a commitment to the search – I’d hum to myself with a careless melody, “I don’t give a stuff anymore, my journey is too important and I have chocolate and Nando’s to soothe the palate.”
My life has been full of transitions. Some have been painful, and some have come with an elevated sense of relief. I feel like these days I am more prepared to accept the dissonance of life and walk the tightrope and not pursue a change for the sake of it. I’d like to think I am now more present in the ups and downs of change. So much of our lives become about the task of adapting to the new rather than simply being – I have been particularly crap at ‘being’.
One change that I am actively pursuing though, is ending my Growing Sideways blog. It feels as though it is time to move on and use other means to keep exploring this grand life we live. The Growing Sideways blog was meant to be a platform to fatten out my memoir and further explore the journey I began in the book. Well… the blog went far beyond what I expected and people shared deep, personal reflections as though what I said counted for something. Interestingly, I was emailed frequently by people concerned about making a public statement on challenging topics, which demonstrated what I suspected was the case – some would say we have lost the art of exploration for fear of criticism. Instead of decent and respectful ‘round the fire’ conversations, many feel compelled to align with the left or right on a subject at the detriment of drawing wisdom by sitting in the unknown so thoughts get a chance to brew or be reviewed. Maybe that is another thing I have learnt; things change and thinking changes. I am less convinced than ever that you can arrive at a point and never have the need to revisit or test your thinking. There is no strength in dogmatic conviction, but there is plenty of strength to be found when pursuing courageous and open thought. I doubt anyone fully grasps the ultimate truth. We are all passing through and adding to a collective conversation that will continue to be mulled over long after our deaths.
As I read some of my blogs I can’t help but think, “what a bloody wretched journey.” The truth is, it is only a snapshot of my life – the Growing Sideways blog is just a small glimpse into my soul. So much of my life is filled with good things. Maybe that is my biggest lesson throughout the last few years – life really is a gift. Much can be learnt from grief or pain but there has to be a reward at the end of the journey otherwise what is the point of reflection?
I intend to keep thinking and writing but not in such an obvious and confronting way. Art is wonderful. I have made a living from it and it continues to to feed my soul (not so much my wallet these days!). I am working on new books and more music and I’ll leave it up to the reader or listener to deduct their own thoughts through that art. A set of lyrics can mean entirely different things from one individual to another and I like the magic of that.
Thank you for traveling with me on my Growing Sideways journey – I’d like to look upwards rather than sideways for now at least.
I will keep the blog open so people can sift through the archives. It is always interesting for me to read my own blogs years later – time has a unique way of gluing uncooperative thoughts together. My blogs are often laden with questions and unfinished paths which has been a fundamental anchor to exploring matters of the heart, I can only encourage you to do the same if you aren’t already.
I will occasionally guest blog on other peoples sites, but for now I’d like to venture out where I am most familiar and artistically express the adventurous world of nuance through story telling and music.
Thank you for your support. Whether you are growing sideways, downward, upward or outward – keep growing, it is worth the effort.