There’s a reason why I love writing. It’s because writing, as I discovered at a very young age, is infinitely preferrable to standing up and speaking to a whole bunch of people. And for someone who really doesn’t like speaking to a roomful, I’m not doing very well.
Monday sees me on BBC Radio Wales – yep, live! – talking about mountain safety (zoom forward to 1.53.30 into the programme and you can have a listen… and a laugh). My producer friend texts me at lunchtime to ask if I can come in at teatime, and in a nano-second I think of at least five people who would be much better at it than me. But I find myself texting back “Yes!” and it’s absolutely fine; slightly enjoyable, even. The teen and teen-in-training tag along and sit behind the studio glass, marvelling at my producer friend at work, and I’m wonderfully calmed by a lovely guy called Martin, who heads up a drugs charity and is interviewed ahead of me. The teen’s in charge of ‘iPhone photos of Mum at work’ and, as you can see, she really captures my best side!
Thursday sees me in the Speaker Slot at the Action Business Club, talking about the things I’ve learned in love and PR (the two are remarkably similar, starting with ‘know when to walk away’). It goes… well, it goes. A fellow member cries; she says afterwards it was very moving but I think really she’d looked at the time and realised there were another 17 full minutes to go. And on Friday I’ll be one of the ‘speakers and doers’ (their words, not mine) at The Big Retreat Wales, ‘the feel-good festival’ that’s returning to Pembrokeshire after last year’s inaugural success. I’ll be in the Talk Tent at 5pm, chatting about getting the kids outside and why it’s so important.
The Big Retreat Wales is all about wellbeing and balance (oh, and gin), and it can’t come at a better time. I’ve been juggling too much for too long and it takes the jolt of Mental Health Awareness Week to help me acknowledge some familiar signs; the kind that not too long ago led to burnout and recently saw me calculating, quite scientifically, the quietest half hour – and therefore the least disruptive to the busy-ness – to visit A&E after being badly bitten by a dog.
A very small, but wise, part of me knows that not having time to stop for a damn good cry over a couple of teeth marks in my thigh isn’t really ok. So, after my slot on Friday, I’ll be switching off for a blissful Big Retreat weekend of yoga, walking, gin, reading and lying in a hammock doing, quite simply, nothing, on the banks of the beautiful Afon Cleddau. It’s good to talk and, sometimes, it’s amazing not to.