There are no photos in this post

I had another blog, a long long time ago.  Maybe two or three. This latest, ragepotter, is an attempt to keep sane while I’m taking time off to be with baby M.  The blogging world then was much different to the blogging world now.

Then, nearly everybody was anonymous. People guarded their privacy and rarely used their full names or posted photos.  Now it seems to be the norm to be completely open about every aspect of life.

What used to be periphery is now front and center. Photos and videos for every post. You need to tweet stuff at readers, like stuff on Facebook, tag stuff on Instagram. Engage with people everywhere.  The side columns on the right of blog pages go on and on — mailing lists, brand endorsements, widgets for this and that. You can no longer just have words on a blank page. Unless they are very short words.

My old blog used to be a graveyard for the longest time, until I put effort into promoting it. No one ever stumbled over it by accident, or even when they tried.  I remember having to work hard for my first visitor, my first comment, my first follower.  It was comforting. Just my secret corner of the internet that no reader cared to find.

But here on ragepotter, you were here from the fourth post. I certainly didn’t expect you to find me here so quickly. I thought I could hide, that little bit longer. But if you are here, dear reader, whoever you are, however you got here, welcome my old friend.

It’s okay if you don’t stay. I don’t expect you to, no. There is so much else out there, and anyway you probably don’t have the attention span to stay for more than two posts.  I get it.  It’s so shiny over there. And it’s not flashy here. There are no photos of me and baby M walking the dog into the sunset. We don’t leave footprints on Facebook posts, or swap faces on Snapchat. Here, there are no faces, no names.

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What is ragepotter, you ask

potter

What is ragepotter, you ask.

The only hobby I had growing up was learning to play the piano when I was around six. I remember the smell of the studio, the stickers my teacher used to place on the corners of music books, and the crispness of the pages as she turned them one by one.

As soon as she started me on the left hand, I quit.  Life, for a six-year-old, was too short to use my left hand for anything other than picking my nose.

When a friend encouraged me to pick up a hobby to escape my perpetual depressive state when I was in my early twenties, I picked pottery instead. It was hard work and took a lot of discipline, not to mention physical energy. I would sweat just wedging, kneading big chunks of clay by hand to knock out all the air, slamming it on the bench, and wedging it again and again with the arms, the elbows, leaning my body into it. I would get lost in the rhythmic motion, heaving back and forth, knocking out all the toxic pockets of self-loathing and doubt.

No sooner had you shaped the clay into a ball, as round as you can, than you smashed the ball onto the wheel, as hard as you can. Take a breath and splash water over it, step on the pedal to spin the wheel, and watch this shapeless but bumpy mass spin out of control. You have to use all your might to hold the spinning lump of wet clay, hold it steady, guiding its rise and fall. You channel your hurt into all this, like a madman, emptying the dark, grunting and cursing — becoming the ragepotter — until the clay is centered, until it’s perfectly round, and moulds to your hands as you encircle it.  Maybe that’s what zen people mean when they talk about being centered. When the room is still, when all your energy is spent, and all that’s left is the murmurs of the studio behind and to the left of you.

I used to sit there and admire the little dome of round clay, anticipating dipping my thumb in the middle to open up its center, and steadying myself in the stillness to pull up the wall, heady with the possibilities of all that it could be.

I hardly have time for this anymore, and anyway I don’t have as much rage as I used to. Before M was born, I had countless appointments with my therapist talking through what postpartum depression would look like, what signs to look out for. I even had to drag the husband to some of these meetings so he could be schooled on what to do or say, and what not to do or say. Now I’m blessed with this bundle of cheeks, I am more calm than I’ve been for a long time. My doctor even joked that M cured me.

I am no longer a potter who rages, but the name kinda stuck. I let it be a reminder of what I no longer want to be.