This may not make sense. It's jumbled. But sometimes you just need to write. Or blog. And so you do.
I love when stories just flow out of me. When I don't have to wrack my brain and consider this and that, and wonder about the other, and then go back and make sure that everything is plausible, or realistic, or coming across the way that I want. When I just sit down, and the words just pour forth, like a cup running over.
That's been happening to me recently on some pieces I'm working on and I'm quite pleased. Interestingly, and maybe not by chance, these pieces are ones I've been doing by hand. I wrote 1600 words, and then another 1200, and then a third set I've yet to transcribe into type. But it's the old writing - the way writing used to be for me. The joy is there, and that's so, so important to me. I can't boil it down into a sure-fire recipe, but I know enough to know when I can put my thumb on it; and this is working. I hate how sloppy and unreadable my handwriting is, and I can type so much faster than I can scrawl. As well, whenever I want to go back and fix something, or add and change, it ends up being scribbles and arrows and asterisks all over the page, and it's a mess. Typing is neater, tidier, there's less residue. But it also effaces some of the process of creation, and maybe that's what I've been needing to get back to. And I am now.
Last night as I lay in the bed I'm borrowing listening to S read the story of a magical bunny to her two young daughters, I stared at the World Map that takes up the entire wall of this bedroom. And I marveled. At the tiny white dot the size of a pinhead that says "Cork" next to it, on an island the size of fingernail, called Ireland. And how TINY that island is. Look at the UK, or Europe, or North America... or the world in its entirety... and I just balk. It's just soooo big. How could I not help but feel small? Is there any other way to even consider myself?
I remember when the plane landed at Cork Airport and was pulling up to the gate. A wave of excitement hit me, that felt exactly the same as what I was taught as a child to understand the Spirit to be. I may not be a particularly Orthodox-Mormon anymore, but I know spirituality and the importance of its remembrance and cultivation. And I think that's what travel is for me.
This, out here, the world, seeing one tiny speck of it - take Zanzibar, for instance. I spent five days there and it's smaller on the map than the speck that marks Cork. And I marvel. I am so small. Wanderlust, which I joked of having, is now a understanding with myself. I feel pulled to go and see all the places I have not, but how could I possibly? How will there ever be enough time? Enough money? I want to see everything. How?
Exploring Cork today, I felt the same way: small. Especially when I climbed up St. Anne's church and stood next to the bells at the top, and then ducked around them to go into the stairwell carved barely wide enough for me to fit and went out onto the roof. All of Cork lay before me, and I just stood there and marveled.
This world is absolutely amazing, it's almost beyond comprehension. And being here with this family who don't know me form Adam, who love and care for their daughters, who are just doing their best to survive... I feel the connection. That invisible, all-important thread that binds us together in this common struggle; we're all just doing the best we can to get by. One day to the next. I want to find a way to tap into that energy, to build our creativity, to unite us with one purpose... one without, division, prejudice, or malice. Just people.
Where I'm staying, once a year, they have a "Spring Clean" where everyone turns out from their houses to help clean up the neighborhood. They start in their own yards, and then go door-to-door helping for those who are away or still at work until it reaches a critical mass. Of people. Working together. To own, and appreciate, and honor their space. This sense of community was incredible, and unlike anything I'd ever experienced as a child in America.
Bedtime stories, world maps, small airports, city centres seen from towers, and people working together: these are my religion. They are my heart and soul and I find peace in them.
Psalm 46 - God is our refuge and our strength - He dwells in his city, does marvelous things, and says, Be still and know that I am God.
In all this, I am still.
I see, I hear, I feel.
These words have flowed out of me, without planning, thought, or worry like the best of stories that come to me.
More than anything, in being still, I give thanks.
For these moments, these experiences, these people, this marveling, everything.
I got up this morning and knew that today, for the first time in about a month, I was going to work. I was going to write. And that it wasn't an April Fool's joke.
And the absolute, most infuriating thing about that is that I cannot tell you why or how today is different from yesterday. It's actually mind-boggling. If I had an inkling, then I would know for next time. I would get there faster, I would break down less, I would not waste as much energy and effort getting absolutely nothing accomplished.
And part of it may just be waiting. Everything should be balanced. Play is just as important as work. If you push and push and push to work, then you will fail. Some people have developed an ability to dig deep and "push through," but I think those people are white-knuckling and they are gonna break down. When I broke down, I just embraced it. I struggled, sure, and I said, I don't like this and I want this go away and I want to get things down and have the desire to work and love this again and twelve million other things. But I stopped fighting. I quit. Throwback to #nofilter. Seven months later. Oh hey, history, kind of you to repeat yourself. Not. And then I watched so many hours of television I can't even count them all. And when that didn't keep me entertained, I gamed.
And I'm sure there are people that would argue that I was just running away from my problems, that I was simply procrastinating, but I've been around the block enough to know that there was something else there. Sure, on the surface that can be the answer, and you can chock yourself up to understanding me and move on. I'm not saying your argument is false. I'm just saying it's more complicated than that. Something deeper. Something unsettling enough to paralyze me completely. Make me question myself to the core. An out-of-the-blue impactful thought that gave me pause today: if it's about achieving balance, and part of that definitely involves play, then what's to say my current overcompensation (literally the only thing I want to do) isn't just trying to balance out an earlier deficit from childhood I'm not even consciously aware of? Where my space for play and imaginative discourse were stifled? Who knows if/how being sooooooooooo closeted/repressed for so long is still affecting me?
I just knew it was bad. Unsettling, as I said. I went so far as to get my blood tested. Something must be wrong. But the tests all came back negative. What then? Why did I break down to the point I was missing deadlines? That the things I enjoyed just made me angry and frustrated? Why do I stop believing in myself? Why do I question, and doubt, and reconsider everything - and I mean, literally, everything - like to the point where I am ready to give up on ever writing another word and change careers, chucking my 1.85 degrees in the garbage along with all my incomplete, imperfect work?
I lost my confidence in everything. Not just writing. I felt completely shattered. I'm not over that. I'm not healed. I'm not fixed. I'm not just flipping a switch and now I'm going to just pick up where I left off like nothing happened.
Lying to myself is one of the most pernicious things I can do. And not a way to believe in myself again. I don't know how to get back to where I was. I may not for a long time. I'm trying to accept that. Which isn't easy. But sifting my imperfections and my failings has the ashes of the answers. I know that much.
Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light (6)C'mere darkness. Let's have a cuddle.