25Oct

Walleyed

Here’s the truth, if you care to know it—I am paralyzed by my own mind more often than not when it comes to this blog.

I might be spilling over with observations and realizations and hopes and stories, but when I make a move to sit down and transcribe them for you, I hit a wall so hard it leaves bruises. This is what I hear:

Are you kidding? YOU? You’re nobody! Why would you presume to have anything worth saying?

Or…

Seriously. You’ve already written 15000 variations on that theme; come back when you have something original.

Or…

If you can’t manage to post consistently, you might as well just give up. Leave the writing to the professionals.

Or, if I’m considering a gutsier topic (i.e. – anything in the category of religion, politics, cultural comparison, or Glee)…

Oh, yeah, this is gonna be good. I’m sure everyone’s just dying to hear your opinions on Controversial Hot Topic #3. Oh, and I’m equally sure you’ll handle the resulting criticism with confidence and stoic grace.

NOT.

See? Instant paralysis, which is a real bitch when you consider that my sanity hinges on writing. I can’t not write. I’ve tried, even for months at a time, but I keep coming back to the truth somewhere deep in my foundations that says giving up writing will mean killing off a part of myself, and I’m unwilling to put my loved ones through that. Soul-death vs. paralysis, rock vs. hard place. How does one summon the fortitude to plow through her own mental barriers? Why does creativity have to be both lifeblood and obstacle?

Feeling out the barriers like this, surveying their shapes, letting them know they’re not as invisible as they’d like to think… I want to believe that it helps because I want to be writing here again, often, even if what I have to say is nothing original or deep or safe. I’m trying to take steps toward self-care these days—eating well, easing my legs into a healthy rhythm, sitting a few minutes in the sun after lunch—and the best mental self-care I can imagine is to get past this bruising cynicism and start creating again.

So I’m going to try, and I use the word “try” with fear and trembling; it’s both promising the improbable and admitting to a staggering amount of weakness. Regardless, I’m going to try writing regularly here again, even if it means tunneling through the barriers Tom Sawyer-style with a spoon. In the meantime, would you mind leaving me a comment or shooting me an email about your own experience with self-paralysis? I could use a little community right now as I try to get this lifeblood coursing again.

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8 comments

  1. The best writing advice I ever got is eerily similar to the best parenting advice I ever got: Every day, just SHOW UP.

  2. Um. Yes. I haven’t posted in A LONG time. I can’t remember when. And every time I think about it, I think it has to be… I don’t know. I feel like I need to “catch everyone up” but: B-O-R-I-N-G. And then I have to choose. And then, what is too far in the past now to even think about writing about, First day of school? Who cares? And then there is the TIME. I don’t have it. Is that an excuse? Yes. (LALALALA…I can’t hear you…) But that whisper to write is almost constant. And here is the worst omen: I SHOULD be posting, I know that. But still I don’t.

    Is that enough? Because, I am not making any sense and I am getting anxious.

    NOW: I am SO EXCITED that you will be posting more. You could write about brushing your teeth every day and I would linger on every word. Yes, you are that good. Maybe I could, you know, be inspired by your example? (Don’t count on it or anything….)

    Sending you LOVE and HUGS! xoxo

  3. I’m glad when you write. About anything.

  4. Liz – That’s such a good one, I KNOW it is… but my brain cheats its way around that one, claiming scribbled grocery lists as “showing up.” Must needs work on that one.

    Megsie – Isn’t the catch-up panic the worst? I know that’s part of my problem too, because I feel like I can’t post about the small things if I’m not up to date on the big ones. (By the way, YES, time is a doozy, and I know for a fact that you have yours filled to the max.) Thank you so much for the encouragement, sweet friend. I’ll remember it every time I brush my teeth. 🙂

    Eliot – Thank you, really.

  5. I experience self-paralysis almost anytime I *try* to make a decision. For instance, I’m in the market for a tablet, so the following goes through my head every time I think about it – If I wait a month, the price might go down or something better might come out or maybe I’ll convince myself that I don’t need one. If the first two happen, will I wait another month for the same reasons? So I should just buy one now. But Christmas is coming up and someone could purchase it for me. If they don’t, how long will I wait to purchase? I should buy one now. Sigh.

    But enough about that, I agree with Megsie and Eliot – I enjoy *every* post that you publish. Your writing helps me see the see the world differently, whether you are writing your girls, travels, or other aspects of life. Often, I read a post and realize that you put my thoughts into words. I’m not sure how you do that, but I like it. 🙂

  6. I wonder if the difficulty in writing is part of why it is so important to you. You describe it as plowing through your mental barriers; maybe getting through the barriers is what makes writing so worthwhile. Is it possible that creativity is lifeblood precisely because it is such an obstacle? You have a real gift to spin words together and connect with your readers through them. I’m glad to hear you don’t plan on giving up any time soon. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Zippy – Your brain sounds so very, very much like mine (except for the whole engineering aspect, in which they are nothing alike). 🙂 Thanks so much for your encouragement — it makes more of a difference than you know!

    Tom – Thanks so much for your comment. Maybe you’re on to something there, about this being so worthwhile because it’s so hard. All the same, I wouldn’t mind if it got a little easier one of these days… 🙂

  8. oh darlin. yes. right here sister. i’ll be lurking in the shadows cheering you on. send some muse my way when she comes, k? i’ll send back chocolate and wine….

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