Sunday, May 20, 2012

A love letter to my brain

Dear brain,

I love you.

It’s true, we’ve had our differences with ourself over the years. You’ve often let me down – sometimes horribly.

It’s taken me almost 44 years to fall in love with you, and it happened – unlike shampoo promises – overnight.

I’ve been finding things a bit tough the last few weeks. (See when I Lost My Shit). Things culminated in last Thursday’s Bingle.)

Last night I felt quite low. I’ve been trying to kick start you to get writing again but I was feeling seriously intimidated by my worldly, educated writer friends.

I remembered watching the radiant, charismatic Professor Karen R Brooks talking on film about her favourite books. I tried to picture myself answering the same questions the interviewer posed.

My favourite books? Umm. Doctor Who when I was a kid. Sara Douglass and some other fantasy writers whose names I can never remember. Some great books I’ve read. That I can’t remember. A book I read last week. No, can’t remember who it was by. It was about… something.

My answers wouldn’t be erudite, witty, full of wonderful examples of timeless classics and newly found wonders of the literary world, because I have a dysfunctional memory. How then, can I ever be a writer?

My darling brain, you have, at any given moment, at least four subjects of thought happening. Let’s call them tracks. Sometimes it’s more like eight tracks, but not in a cool-alternative-look-at-my-retro-stereo kind of way.

In a holy-god-how-can-I-keep-everything-in-my-head-at-once-and-not-have-a-melt-down kind of way.

And then I have a meltdown.

You’re filled with any number of internal conversations at once at any given time. Like now:

  • Trying to focus on this post so that it doesn’t suck too much.
  • Lamenting the tiny missing diamond in your ring.
  • Wondering when you’ll get to see the next Game of Thrones episode and whether Tyrion will be in it and OMG WHY DID THEY TAKE THE KHALISI’S DRAGONS?
  • On the alert for the sound of thumping feet as The Child comes storming in to demand food/drink/cuddles/help with Paper Mario on the Wii. (Ah yes here he comes. Writing about him must cast a Summon Sprog spell).
  • Considering whether to wash clothes, given the craptastic Melbourne weather.
(And don’t think I didn’t notice that you made me open up the GoT Wiki to have browse in the middle of writing this post. Yes I know you needed to check the spelling of Khalisi but that doesn’t take 20 minutes.)

No wonder you go a bit funny when I add external conversations to these multiple internal ones. No wonder you often start one conversation and skip tracks during and end with a completely different conversation, giving everyone the shits confusing all and sundry.

Brain, you can’t learn in-depth information. You’ve made me a dilettante.

Or maybe a fairly rubbish polymath.

A half-arsed Renaissance Woman.

I know a little about a hell of a lot. Look up Jill of All Trades in the dictionary, my picture would be there. If I’d remembered to send it to them.

Looking back I see a lifetime of Anxiety Disorder and depression. You, my brain, have been on high alert in case you forget something for as long as I can remember.

I see difficulties with the most mundane domestic crap. I see the light, noise, frenetic activity of Saturday morning grocery shopping. I see the stress of keeping all those balls in the air while having four internal conversations, two external ones, filtering out all the other conversations around you and remembering to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I come home cranky, overstimulated and exhausted. Yay for weekends.

So here’s the deal. I forgive you for the challenges you’ve given me over the years.

The way you’ve left me feeling like an idiot, somehow different to everyone else. Somehow sub-standard.

Somehow not in the SMART PERSONS’ CLUB.

Somehow unable to do basic stuff everyone else finds easy.

I forgive you for being a disappointment compared to my highly educated, intelligent and spectacularly qualified family.

I forgive you because finally, I get it.

In the middle of the night, I had an epiphany. I realised that, well, actually, you’re my brain. My answers to those literary questions would be crap because I can’t remember anything. But they’d be my crap, in my voice. With a little dose of batshit crazy self-deprecating humour in there.

If I come across as a scattered, batshit crazy person instead of an intellectual, professional, intelligent individual, so what? Maybe THAT’S my brand. THAT’S my voice. Batshit crazy person with no memory.

A while ago I wrote about being truthful (and warts).

My truth is scattered across a canvas of chaos, anxiety, and unhealthy doses of Shiraz.

And that’s OK, because a four track mind has to be better than half-track one, right?

Brain, I love you because of all the things you do that make me different. I love my batshit crazy, convoluted, crowded internal landscape, and I’m going to embrace it.

I love you because you finally found my – our – voice. I don’t have to compare myself with anyone else anymore, I’m free. Free to be my dippy, hopeless, forgetful self.

I get YOU.

Which means I get me.


PS – I tried to find photos for batshit and crazy but Microsoft clipart let me down. I think that's discriminatory. I blame the Republicans.

Have you told your brain you love it lately?


  1. YES!!!!! One of the best quotes I ever heard (and I can only remember it because I wrote it down in my quote book - my memory is USELESS too) was by a Swedish Transvestite (and no, I can't remember where I heard it, probably on an SBS documentary - my hubby likes to watch those). She said:
    Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.
    SO true.
    I love this post.

    1. What a great quote! And a great idea - a quote book. *runs off to write it on a list*

      I guess I realised that I was defining being a writer by how everyone else does it. Why bother when I'm not them?


  2. I really relate to this. I'm struggling with this (self-acceptance) BIG TIME too. I'm 41, does this mean I still have 3 more years before it 'clicks' for me?

    1. It's a good question Ness! It'll happen at the right time I guess. Just know it will happen (and overnight maybe too LOL)

      Good luck - and thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more batshit crazy stuff :-)

  3. I too am the other side of crazy and constantly comparing myself to others I admire. Some days I like me, others I loathe me but then it is all me ;o)

    PS. I had to look up half the bloody words you used so never think yourself unable to express yourself ;o)

  4. Wonderful epiphany!!!! Congratulations!!!

  5. YOUR grandpa used to say "dare to be different". Just because "everyone" does/says/wears/goes to a particular thing does NOT mean YOU have to. This was the grandpa who encouraged his daughter to be interested in practical things (you can fix taps yourself) and to drive a ute when none of her mates could not even drive at all, and to enjoy going into hardware shops (still do) and actually be interested in the world around you. Formal education does not matter as much as these things do - you can read, so you can always"educate" yourself in different areas. Well done that girl - always had a way with words