I wonder when anyone ever feels they have arrived, and whether they ever do and how would they know?
I don’t suppose anyone is going to reply to this saying ‘I have’ so it’ll have to be reflections from the ‘not made it’ side.
If I think about it I have to concede that many people in the very tiny world of gardens would be likely to think I have made it and should shut up and be grateful. I have a half decent garden which quite a few people visit and which has featured in the odd book and very odd television programme. I’ve published a book and I founded and edit a website which attracts a lot of readers, if clicks represent readers. (nice space for self doubt here..)
I’m married to a successful garden photographer who takes great pictures of the garden and other people’s gardens and did the photographs for my book and one of his own. So I get some reflected glory.
I have a lot of good and supportive friends on twitter, who frequently delight me and cheer me up.
I do manage to get occasional garden pieces published, if not widely, in very respectable places – and, best of all, in my own voice with my own opinions. I no longer have to write vapid garden stories about other people’s depressing gardens.
I am also frequently thoroughly disliked, and in some circles this would appear to represent great success. There are a great garden magazines and newspapers who wouldn’t publish a piece by me if that was the only thing that stood between them and bankruptcy.
So I think I should be ashamed of myself for frequently feeling a failure. It is a kind of self indulgence. Self pity – yuk!!! Thinking about it, it really seems that way and I feel very embarrassed. But I think that awful feeling is bred in my bones and I may never be rid of it. I can always instantly return to the feelings of humiliation and shame that dogged my childhood and which have clung to me like goosegrass ever since. Like a pit that is always there behind me, waiting for me to step thoughtlessly backwards.
It opens up when an article is rejected. When I get the figures for the sale of my book. When I get little response to my blogs. Or when I think of other people’s infinitely greater successes. If a plant dies or looks sickly or a part of the garden fails to live up to my intentions. Or gets weedy. Or if only a couple of people visit the garden when it’s open.
So why do I keep sticking my neck out and risking the bad feelings by doing any of these things? The truth is – I don’t know, except that I think I imagine that if I do enough I can one day escape feeling bad and feel good about myself. And then love everyone from my place of happy contentment.
Not going to happen, is it?