All is not lost

I’ve fallen off the wagon, stopped writing every day. And certainly stopped making sure my posts had meaning. Now I feel as though I’m doing this to see if I can, not because I want to. Maybe that’s enough? 

In these writing classes I take, you’re asked to do all of these exercises like writing up fake scenes for stories handed down. I have zero interest writing about someone else’s stories, even as a learning experience. I actually hate it. Actual hate. And I don’t hate much in this world.

This blog is like a journal, that’s why it works. And MY stories that I write about are based on my life experiences… I just need to fictionalize a bit more and they might actually be interesting to a broader audience.

April showers

Feeling lazy, and kind of resentful that I agreed to do something every day and failed at it. I’m sure it’s some big lesson about how if I really wanted to be a writer, I’d just write. Nothing could keep me away from it – not family or health or work… because I’d have drive and passion and blah de blah.

It’s grey, and rained last night like there was no tomorrow. Sideways, even. Now recovering from some food poisoning I got from leftover Indian food. So. Tired. Grateful for a body that identifies a foreign object and says GET OUT, just wish it wasn’t so violent.

Had the craziest dream about Ryan Reynolds last night. We were tight but married to other people and had to show restraint. Proud of myself in my dreams…

I missed a day, so what?

It’s very, very easy to beat myself up for not doing something I said I would do. I agreed to write in my blog every day for 30 days and yet yesterday went by and I didn’t realize it until 11pm when I was too tired. I don’t know what it’s like for people who have really horrible addictions, but I do know what it’s like to hold the bar too high for oneself. It’s not perfection I’m after, I believe that perfect is the enemy of the good. And I’ve become much more relaxed as an adult than I was as a child. And still, it’s disappointing.

But the wonderful news is that I woke up today, I have the chance to do something great. Doesn’t mean it will be this blog entry, or showing up to my job, or telling my husband I love him. It could be something small and I may not even know I’ve done it because my actions may affect someone else. That’s what I hope for, anyway.

It’s been a year, now what?

Last time I posted, I was talking about how I was going to focus on my health in 2016.

Bwahahahahahaha!

Except I did, sort of.  The truth is that I was reminded of how there is no silver bullet for anything (save maybe rest and liquids for a cold, and Berocca for a hangover.) Every effort I make to improve some aspect of my health has a trade off. For instance – lose that extra 5 pounds? No more cake. Want less GI grumbling? No more hummus. More sex with my husband? Get up earlier since he’s asleep by 8pm. Now, I get it – all of these things are worth it, right? If the goal is to live a long, healthy life, then yes. But if the goal is just to live… that’s different – and there’s a lot of grey area there.

In other news, a year has passed since I’ve written about my bonus daughter with mental health issues. She is now a full fledged almost-14-year old. And what a complete bitch sometimes. I know. Its not polite to speak that way – about a child, about a woman, yada yada. But y’all don’t live with her. Even her Mom and Dad refer to her that way. Not to her face, of course. To her face, we are all kinds of calm, and say the things we’re supposed to say… the prep from the therapists, the parenting books, etc. We tell her we love her but no, its not ok to continue to berate us just for existing. Some stuff – the not flushing the toilet EVER, leaving all doors open, not putting her shoes away – I think its a byproduct of being raised like a princess and the last few years of asking her to change isn’t going well. She is honestly the laziest human being I’ve ever met. Again – this is not a secret in our homes. She genuinely has no desire to do anything better. The only motivators she has are using her iPod and walking herself to school. Her Mom is constantly fixing or ‘helping’ her with homework. The girl has never failed. When she does poorly, she complains to the teachers, who call her Mom, who works with the teachers to re-test and re-work and give more chances. I can’t see how that’s setting her up to succeed in life, but I can see how its setting her up to believe everyone else is going to clean up her messes.

Ah. Sweet release.

Day 7

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried keeping a blog or writing as a habit. Its not that I don’t write, I just write sporadically. I’ve kept a journal since I was about eight years old. In the last decade, I write in a journal on two different occasions… on planes, and when I’m super super stressed out about something and can’t sleep. Now, because I have traveled every 4-6 weeks for the last decade or so, I have plenty of entries. It’s a mechanism to deal with anxiety I might feel about flying and it’s also a way to reflect on what’s going on in my life at that time. Separately, I’ve taken numerous writing classes – memoir, screenplay, dramatic writing. I’ve done the Artist’s Way, taken workshops in writing + yoga, and free writing flings. In the moment, when I am working on my writing, I feel challenged and if I’m lucky, inspired. Sometimes, I even write good shit. The problem, of course, is consistency. I have spent most of my life believing that I am not a writer because hello, writers write. Every day. All the time. It’s the work they can’t not do, as Scott Dinsmore says. Or said. Isn’t that right? Isn’t that what defines a writer?

For me, though, I sometimes hate it. Yes yes, the blank page, the fear, the doubt. Moreover, though, am I wasting my time? Shouldn’t I know already? Shouldn’t I feel a deep compulsion, every day, to tell my stories? I think I used to. I have suppressed those feelings for the last 20 years. When I was young, I dreamed of telling stories through film and books, not being able to dream yet of an internet connecting me to the world. I had an active imagination, I had fun with my stories, and I moved to California believing without a doubt that I would make it in Hollywood. Boy, was I dumb. And thank god because if I hadn’t taken the leap, I wouldn’t have had such a wonderful, adventurous life. More fodder for the page, I guess.

Maybe I am more afraid that this isn’t the work I can’t not do (note: as a grammar nerd, this sentence tortures me.) But it’s the work I can do now. I’m in a position in my life where I finally have the time to find out. I am not trying to figure out how to avoid a late notice from the electric company. I’m not worrying about bouncing checks to my ex for rent and wondering how much interest he’ll charge me. I have stability despite the fact that I’m not working, because my supportive, generous husband wants me to take this time to figure out what’s next for me. And I do, too. Which is terrifying, of course, but also liberating – and I still need to find a way to see that I deserve it. That I don’t need to be suffering. And that just because I am white and educated and privileged, doesn’t mean I can’t also complain from time to time. I know who I am inside and what I believe, I know my level of compassion. Maybe the problem is that the work I can’t not do is work I actually can’t do. Humanitarian work? Diplomatic work? Or is it writing screenplays and memoirs about my life which I think is extraordinary but honestly it’s not. And isn’t that the point? That my stories will resonate, that despite our obvious differences, we are fundamentally the same?

So, today is day 7 of the writing challenge. I’m not ready to find out how to monetize my blog or get 100,000 followers by this time next year. I’m not ready to say this is the work I can’t not do. I feel that this work, this expression, much like my journaling, actually just allows me to get the spinning mind down on paper and frees it up for what’s next. I have to remind myself, every morning, that today is a new day, a new opportunity. I only need to see the 10 feet in front of me, I don’t need to know where the road ends.