When I promise I will do something I am usually pretty good at doing it.
But clearly when I promised to write here every day, I over-estimated my ability to actually do it. So perhaps I am not as I thought I was at all.
There is just too much going on and when I do have time to sit and write, I meet resistance. All I want to do is read, or watch In Treatment on ororo.tv.
My brain is totally full of lists and plans and ruminations on how to resolve the damp problem outside the house, whether to lay tiles or a floating floor, how to get the internet connected. Then the sun shines and we make a dash to the beach to try and swim while there is still a chance.
Everyone is saying what a bad summer it has been but really it doesn’t seem too bad. Isn’t this just what it is like in Cornwall in August? I seem to have forgotten what is normal any more. Obviously it is not hot and dry like in Catalunya but isn’t this a typical summer here? And when the sun does shine as it did two days ago, it is quite hot. Finally we made it down to Roskilly beach and had a swim. The water was warm-ish and as always, you felt so much better for having been in. But the thing with the weather here is that you can’t depend on it – it is changeable and not reliable. Like me?
What I wanted to write about tonight was the programme, Future Proofing, I heard on Radio 4 this evening. They were talking about identity and how much it is affected by the communities you feel a part of. Family, home town, work place, country. So, if you are away from those familiar groups you can begin to wonder who you are. The positive side of this separation is that you are free to explore who you can be, outside of who you have always been.
Interesting thoughts. I certainly went through a crisis of identity when in Catalunya as I felt people mainly saw me as a foreigner, a stranger and an older woman in a youth-based society. I wasn’t funny any more – just a quiet person with British reserve. It took a long time to begin to feel I had any other identity that was unique to me.
But also I felt free to be a different person – to speak, dress, behave, think, communicate in a more relaxed way. I did things that I had never tried to do when I lived in the UK. Like dancing in the mountains.
And now that I am back do I feel the old identity pulling me back into line?
Yes, I do although it is self-inflicted and no-one is monitoring me but me. I feel a stiffening up, a tightness in how I walk, speak and act. I don’t hug people as much. I don’t smile as much. I feel more rule-bound and less experimental. Something seeks out the safe and familiar and rejects the strange and new.
Sunshine! I miss it and how the warmth melted away my tensions.
But the main question that nags me since my return from Catalunya, and even more accurately since walking the Camino is ‘Who am I?’ and can I find more honest answers to this now that I am both returned from abroad and not yet fully back at home?