Sunday, 13 January 2019

Recall message - what do you mean I can't do that ?

Do you ever wish you could edit in real life ? Like when you prepare a document or write a message and you read it over to make sure you haven't made an error or said the wrong thing. Isn't it difficult when you can't do that with things you've said or done ? The conversation that didn't quite go as you had hoped. The message where you pressed send before really thinking it through and now wish you had the capability to get it back. Even email can be recalled if you get to it quick enough.

There are so many times I wish I had been able to say something in a different way. To have been calmer, kinder, less emotional. Whenever I am a the end of my tether with the boys, when I am overwrought about something and spiralling or even when I am so excited I just can't stop myself. It's not healthy to live with regret, I know this. However, I often think if I hadn't done it this way things would be better. Not the big things so much. More the every day actions or words that didn't have to happen. I have discovered that you can delete messages in WhatsApp, which is a blessing really. Messenger and text messages are irretrievable, so I now take my time to reply in case I get it wrong. Often I start replying to a message and then decide against it until I'm sure about what I want to say. Sometimes it takes so much effort to craft a response that when I get a reply I feel cheated as I know the respondent hasn't struggled nearly as much as I did.

Face to face is much harder to edit. I will practice what I want to say when I have a potentially difficult conversation, but I can't predict what the other person will say. I once spent an entire train journey getting myself increasingly distressed about meeting someone. I knew they wanted to talk to me about something important, but I was upset with them and just wanted to yell and say, "how dare you do that to me !" I didn't, but as I walked over to them at Victoria Station I thought I was going to throw up. I wished I hadn't come. It was already far worse than I could have expected. I couldn't speak. I was shaking with nerves. At times like this I just want to disappear. I want to edit myself out of the situation.

When I post photos to instagram or facebook I take my time to get them just right. I think about what I'm doing it for, what it says and whether it is good enough. Sometimes I decide not to. I'm posting fewer images of myself as I don't feel the need to share myself so much. It's not like a genuine anonymity because I'm still behind the image, but I don't want to be in them. I know what I look like - for better or worse. Instead of a heavily edited selfie I would rather show where I am or the feeling it evokes. Editing photos for me now is about how to arrange a series of images to best effect.

How I look in real life is also an act of editing my appearance to suit the situation. Ok so I'm at work and that is a particular look, but if I'm going out it's different. Having been a stay at home parent for so long I haven't needed to adapt from day to night and got used to being pretty low key all the time. If I went to the theatre I would just change my jumper, but still wear jeans. I didn't want to draw attention to myself so I didn't dress up at all. As it's Sunday I have been in scruffs all day. We've been building a bunk bed and I've been sorting out the house so it hardly warranted getting properly dressed. I do like to have my armour when needed though. Whether that is make up or clothes that make me feel powerful. I've had some pretty tough meetings at work lately and I go into them dressed and made up in a way that makes me feel self assured and strong. It isn't how I really feel, but I'm not letting on that I am nervous or out of my depth.

There may not be an edit facility in life, but I am making it my ambition to recognise when I need to and doing it anyway. It's a work in progress so if I still get it wrong just bear with me please.

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