The Exams Are Done And I’m Back. Sort of.

Dobby is a Free Elf!
My exams are over and there are no more on the horizon for the foreseeable future so I’ve finally got my evenings and weekends back and the nagging guilt that plagued me whenever I had a break from studying has now disappeared as I am legitimately allowed to do whatever I want, whenever I want (within reason – I do still have a day job and responsibilities that mean running off to live in the wilds of Scotland with only Dog for company is not an option).
I know that many of you are expecting my return to the land of the living will mean my fan-fiction/general writing output and social media involvement is going to return to pre-exam levels and that I’ll be back to whizzing around the place doing all the theatre, friend and fan meet ups and Sherlock/Tolkien/Western Front society stuff that I was doing before. This expectation is unsurprising given what I said when I disappeared off into exam-land way back in April last year but unfortunately in this case expectation and reality aren’t going to meet at all in this case.
Over the last year a lot has happened besides my studying taking up most of my free time; I received a promotion at work that opened up one possible career path that needs serious dedication if I want to pursue it; plus there have been problems with the house and health scares (for family members, friends, and most recently for myself) which have really made me think about what is important and take note of a few things.
And the four most important of those things are:
1. The enforced neglect of maintenance in my home cannot continue. There are things that now need to be fixed ASAP if I’m not going to end up with a pile of crumbling bricks and mortar that will steal my cash from me more swiftly and effectively than the most stealthy and powerful of dragons.
2. Some of the projects that gave me joy when I began them have morphed into millstones around my neck that are causing anxiety and guilt I neither need nor want.
3. There are things that happened during the course of my marriage that I had completely shut down and boxed away in my mind because they were so upsetting. I’d hidden them behind locks and bars so effective that – until a particularly pertinent piece of writing shook the foundations of them and set a few loose – I had even managed to convince myself that they were not remotely problematic and could be ignored forever. Which is simply neither true nor possible.
Consenting to something because you do not believe you have the right to refuse is not actually consent at all and the number of things that I participated in simply because I was not able to say no means I’ve been carrying around a huge amount of hurt, sadness, guilt and shame for far too long. It has also become apparent that the effort of keeping those memories locked away has become so exhausting both mentally and physically that I am in danger of making myself very ill if I do not face them head on soon.
4. The life I have been leading, whilst perfectly pleasant in its own way, isn’t the life I want forever. There are elements missing and a discontent deep in my soul that will only grow and poison all it touches if I do not address it now.
All of which basically boils down to the fact that not only do I have a lot of things to sort out in my house (which requires time and money that can’t therefore be spared for more exciting pursuits), I also I have a significant amount of work to do with regards to my mental, physical and spiritual health which cannot be put off any longer.
I’m now in my mid-thirties and if the “three score years and ten” is true, I’m half way through my time on this planet; basically if I don’t do it now and I don’t do it right then I’ve set myself up for . I need to truly come to terms with everything and work out how to move forward in the best way for me. I do not want to look back in five or ten years’ time and regret not taking control when I had the opportunity.
I know that it’s not going to be easy, or quick, and I’m very aware that the person I’ll be at the end of this journey won’t be the person who’s sitting here typing this now. However I know that I’ll be a happier, healthier, and more fulfilled person who is confident in who they are, what they want from the rest of their life and how they’re going to get it. And that can’t possibly be a bad thing at all.
So what I’m asking from you all – friends, family and readers alike – is a period of grace to do all of the above. I’m not going to be as available as I was before the exams, I’m going to be saying no to a lot of things that I otherwise would have jumped at doing, and although I’m still going to be writing (and writing, and writing, and writing) I doubt I’ll be sharing much of that with the world in the next twelve to eighteen months.
I hope you all understand and don’t judge me too harshly, or take it personally, if I turn down invitations and my social media feeds sometimes appear to have been abandoned. I’m not turning into a hermit, I’m just doing what I need to do to become the best me I can be. I’m very grateful for the patience and forbearance you’ve shown whilst I’ve been studying like a mad woman and I’m hoping you can find it in your hearts to continue to put up with my erratic schedule as I go on my journey of self-discovery and acceptance.
I can say with certainty that I’ll be at the Sherlock Picnic in London on 16 July, so hopefully I’ll quite a few of you then. On the writing front, I’ll still be doing my monthly WWI blog posts and I’m also bringing back my Monthly Musings as well so I can keep you all updated as to how I’m getting along with everything and ensure that you’ll be able to get your fix of The Doings of Dog (which I know is the really important part of it). However this is the greatest level of commitment I’m able to make at the moment – I might be around more, I certainly hope to be, but I’m not going make any promises I can’t keep.
And that’s it for now. So I’ll signing off by sending love, virtual hugs, and masses of gratitude to all you wonderful people who read my ramblings and stories and have been so positive and encouraging over the year:
You’re all stars and I appreciate you more than any words can say!
PS Dog is very pleased that there will be more long walks in the woods in the foreseeable future and wishes you all to know that she’s very fond of you too.

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