Ok, I've put the Top 5's to one side for the time being because I'm in a bit of a ... reflective mood, I suppose you could call it. I've just been doing a lot of thinking, something I do quite frequently due to spending so much time on my own. And as I was vacuuming the hallway this morning and debating whether the downstairs loo could go another day without being cleaned, I began thinking about me. Not because I'm some egotistical narcissist, but because I'm about to turn 43, and hitting my 40's has been a particularly reflective time all round for me, a time when I've really begun to think about where I'm going, what I'm doing - and who I am. Am I the person I always wanted to be? Am I happy with myself? The answer to both those questions is probably, on the whole, no. And to be honest that makes me quite sad because I'm at a time in my life when I really should have found the real me. Faffing about is usually something you do in your 20's (or possibly even your 30's nowadays) but by the time you hit your 40's most people are usually quite comfortable with who they are. Aren't they? Or am I just being paranoid again, thinking I'm the only one who could still do with some faffing-about time?
You see, my problem has always been that I've conformed to being the kind of person other people have always wanted me to be. Call it a low self-esteem problem, crippling shyness, I don't know. It could also just be because I've always just wanted to please people - be it my family, my husband; I've always wanted to make other people happy so I've kind of always done what they've wanted me to do, played it safe, gone with the flow and all the while putting myself second. The real Michelle has never actually come out to play, well, not since the early 90's anyway. For some reason - and I think a lot of that had to do with the Performing Arts course I was on - I had bucket loads of confidence back then and for a few years I honestly thought I could do anything. That course taught me a lot about being my own person, coming out from behind the shadows of others and stepping into the limelight myself. But once those happy days of dress rehearsals, running orders and stage management meetings were over, I (quite annoyingly) let that confidence slip and the old, quiet me came back with a vengeance. And she's still here really.
I mean, I'm not complaining. It's my own fault, I should have put my foot down a lot earlier and said to those around me look, this is me, if you don't like it then bugger off and deal with it because this is who I want to be. But then, if I'd been left to my own devices I'd probably have a sleeve tattoo on my left arm and be found hanging around with bikers at Foo Fighters gigs so maybe I needed a little reigning in. But I know, I absolutely know that the real me isn't who I am now. I'm shy, but I don't want to be. I find it really hard to talk to people, to strike up new relationships and that sometimes comes across as arrogance but it really isn't that. It's just plain and simple shyness. And I want rid of it, because I want to be confident again, I want to be able to talk to people, make connections, make friends because, as an independent author I need to be able to do that - to network, get talking to people, but I find it so, so hard. It's the most difficult thing I've ever had to do because my confidence levels are so low it's crazy! If that "wild" side of me had been allowed to come out now and again, if I'd let that person inside me loose for a little while, would I be happier in myself therefore allowing me to be a more confident and self-assured person? Who knows. Maybe I'm just over-thinking things again because of the way I'm feeling right now.
But it hasn't actually (in my opinion) been a bad thing as far as the writing of my actual books is concerned, because I've taken that hidden "inner me" and channelled that person I really wanted to be into my characters - all the female characters in my books have quite a bit of the "real" me in there; call it sad, but they allow me to live as that person for as long as I'm writing about them and I guess that's why writing makes me happy. Selling the bloody books is another matter though and that's when I realise I've got to step up, stop living life through characters in a book and start being the stronger, more confident person I know I can be because, if I don't, I'm not going to make any kind of success of this at all.
So, I need to take a long, hard look at myself as I hurtle towards my mid-40's and start to make that journey towards being the kind of person I actually like - because I don't always like myself at the minute. I don't like that I'm, well, weak I suppose. And I'm laying myself open here, telling people this, but in a way it's making me realise how important it is to finally - finally - find the real me. Before she never gets a chance to appear.
Anyway, self-analysis overwith, I'm becoming slightly paranoid that that downstairs loo really could do with a clean ... you see? I want to be one of those people who doesn't worry about that ... right, sod it! It can wait! Yeah, I'm getting the hang of this ... give me a week and I'll be dancing on tables in a tiara swigging Moet out of the bottle ...
If you'd like to see the kind of person I really wanted to be (give or take a little bit of artistic license!) then pop over to my other blog http://michellebethamindieauthor.blogspot.com/
to read excerpts from my books, see reviews, and buy copies for youself! All books available on Amazon for the Kindle - and all for only £2.29! Bargain!