You know what, I’m cooped up at home on a Friday night, my housemates both in separate rooms, wondering what to do next on my never ending task list.
I’m nearing the end of an 8-week creative non-fiction writing course, that has not only taught me all the things I don’t know about writing, but has worn me down with a mountain of assignments and reading tasks. I should be reviewing the work of my peers and reading about lyrical essays and mixed media. But I can’t. I just want to write without intent, or style, or consideration of a beginning, middle, or an end.
I’m writing tonight because I want to. To rid myself of that feeling of being under-qualified, or as my friend Chrissy so rightly put it, a complete literary fraud. I’m going back to the form I know and the voice I’m familiar with. There’s been a lot on my mind that I’ve wanted to communicate, so I’m writing because it feels liberating.
The writing course, of course, has been incredibly insightful none-the-less. I’ve learned to express myself in eloquent metaphors, but I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process. I’m one of the least creative, creative people I know, and I put it down to a life full of efficiency. I eat the same foods, wear the same combinations of clothing, and try to use every second of every day productively. I don’t take time to soak in the details, use clever language or colourful prose. I want to get my messages across succinctly, so I can move onto the next assignment before the next.
It sounds awful, but even when I’m not doing something it’s because I’ve scheduled time to do nothing – like meditate, or fold laundry, or speak to my housemates because it’s socially required. My life is one calculated move after the next, but it’s essentially what drives me. There’s nothing worse than an unproductive me.
The interesting thing is that I recently found my breaking point. The moment when I realised I’d tied myself in so many knots, I could no longer undo them all.
I experienced this in a number of ways; increased anxiety, inability to focus, moments where I’d burst into unexpected tears wondering what the hell was wrong with me. My life had become a series of tasks, and if I didn’t get them done I was failing.
The problem was overselling myself. There wasn’t enough time to do everything. But instead of prioritising, I just continued to steamroll ahead. Like a deflated balloon in much need of air, I began to sink instead of breathing.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned this year is that I’m not perfect, and that’s okay. Though I’m a strong independent woman, admitting that I need help has made me feel more empowered than I’ve ever been.
I’d always viewed help as a sign of weakness. I want to do everything I can on my own. But it’s amazing what happens when you accept vulnerability. Reaching out is often harder than going it alone.
So if I were to extrapolate a theme from this, as my writing coach would insist I do, I’d say it’s about accepting that I’m human. And instead of juggling life’s demands while sitting at my desk on a Friday night, I’m going to celebrate humanity instead, by setting aside time to share this story.
27 thoughts on “Taking ‘that’ step”
I “hear you”, my friend !
Sometimes it is easy to look from the outside in…and think “What is she talking about…doesn’t she remember that she is SuperWoman” ?
Anyone who has accomplished even ONE of your miraculous journeys or projects should never feel as you explain here.
Then reality sets in and we know that deep down we are all human after all. With emotions, doubts and fears.
In sharing your stories, through your personal writing style, you have always inspired me beyond my wildest dream ! Helping me through my own rough patches. Once again, I thank you for that.
Please….Remember that you are loved and admired by so many. And that we give you permission to feel any way you need to feel.
You are “who and where” you are supposed to be at all times. Live in the moment, where ever the fork in the road takes you.
Rest when you can
And Enjoy today !
Until next time
More stories from Alaska
Lyndella still sings
Thank you Lyndella! You always shower me with such generous words! I love your comment ‘you are who and where you are supposed to be at all times.’ There’s certainly a level a comfort in that. I’m sure you’ve got lots of stories from the past few months. It’s been a long time since I last wrote. Continue to rest, play and sing in the magical north!
Just sitting at my computer when I saw your post come through. I’ll be the first to comment.
Many of us have this in common; trying to not feel guilty about down time and being more productive. It’s a struggle. But I think as you (not you personally) age, we become more comfortable with who we are, and what we’ve become.
You have really striven to do many things to discover who you are and should be applauded, most of us get into a comfort zone early and don’t move too far out of it.
I recently saw a quote by Dr Zuess, “Sometimes you’ll never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory”.
Not living too far in the past or the future is difficult at times, so enjoy where you are because I know you have enjoyed where you’ve been.
Bravo on the writing class, you’ll internalize what you’ve learned and be that much better as time passes.
Great to hear from you Tim and well said. That Dr Zuess quote is spot on!! Man if I could find that comfort zone wouldn’t life be sweet!! 🙂 I don’t think I’ll ever stop searching, for what exactly I’m not sure! It’s probably time to get back on trail and go back to ultimate simplicity! Your design of the trail still sits on my desk, in its plastic haha, one day I’ll get it framed! Hope all is well with you! Muk 🙂
I feel honored to know you still have the artwork I did for you. I have told the story several times of how I met you and provided some trail magic and goodies for you on your PCT trek.
My health is good and lots of major changes have come my way. Keep writing for fun and for work, and pretty soon there won’t be any difference and you’ll always be productive.
Your honored friend, Tim
Thanks Tim, I hope those changes have provided you with positive opportunities. I see your artwork everyday. I always smile because it says April to September, which it should have been. I never thought, nor did you, that I would finish in October. I love the idea of spreading trail magic beyond the trail and because of the generosity I received from people like you I strive to do that in my everyday. I will always be grateful to the angels who supported me then and continue to support me now. Best wishes always, Muk
I’m just learning that and I’m a lot older than you. Keep it coming, I want to learn more.
My dear Donna we have so much to catch up on!! I look forward to connecting soon! X
Huzzah! The mind sometimes forms it’s own Mobius strip. After the writing course is finished and all the ‘shoulds’ are complete . . . or not, there will still be the writing ‘because it feels liberating’.
Ha I didn’t know what a Möbius strip was until I just looked it up! Thank you for the insight!! You’re so right!
This is when you say, “You know, I have a place to stay on the Big Island of Hawaii, and I’m jolly well going over there right now to remind myself how to relax.” Just sayin’!
Hahaha sounds like the right remedy after this endless winter!! 🙂
Now have a glass of wine. I love the way to write in just these posts.Very easy and flowing.I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want to read what ever you write! Way to go!
Thank you so much!! It really means a lot to hear that!
Great post and it’s helped me to reflect. Best wishes Ros
Thanks Ros! So nice to hear from you!!
Write a book with your stories and adventures and sell millions! Greetings from Greece.
Haha thanks for the encouragement!! 🙂
I think you write beautifully. Always glad to hear you are plugging away at life.
Hey thank you so much for the note!! Hope things are chugging along well for you too!
I’m moved to respond in metaphor from my world. I’m my case when I design a building I work with function and efficiency, rhythm and proportion. I live/eat/drink all these things, but often find my soul drawn to the little leftover spaces…the things that just don’t fit, but somehow work, and can tie the whole together as more than the some of it’s parts. Enjoy the unplanned, the things that have no name or concept to frame them. Magic can be found there.
Gromit I love this! The left over spaces, the unplanned. Beautiful! I will keep this in mind so I can appreciate those things when they crop up!! Thank you!
Love your blog …
Hi there sweetness…I wrote a comment and the darn comment disappeared when I clicked on “post comment”…. so, I will try again..
.As all your thoughts and sharing are wonder-filled,I am amazed by your ability to express yourself so beautifully…
You make me think about myself and what it means to me to hear your heart….makes me want to keep on going on in my growth in this life….
Thanks again for sharing, sweetie….
Love and hugs from your old friend in Northern California…Barbie…
I love to hear from you Barbie! I’m so sorry your comment disappeared… again! 🙂 I really appreciate hearing that my words have such a positive affect on you. It definitely encourages me to share. This comment made my day. Thank you and sending you so much love!
I am wondering when we are going to see each other again so I can be the ear to your ‘word vomits’.
Missing you lots…
Haha, I don’t know if I should take offence to that or not?! I miss you loads too my beautiful friend. When I become a nomad again I must visit you!