Sometimes writing is not therapeutic. Sometimes it’s hard, and it forces you to hear the cacophony of thoughts vying for space in your brain, (that is, if you read it out loud, like me). And they aren’t creative thoughts. They are thoughts of worry, fear, and anxiety. Thoughts that keep me awake at night, make me drink more wine, run like Forrest Gump, or just lay in bed, fetal position, covers up to my ear. Writing about such thoughts gives them life, and I just want them to go away. So when this happens, I stop writing. And that, I have found, is the worst thing I can do.
The events of the past nine months of my life, (and no, I am not having a baby), ranged from awesome to hysterical, to wondrous and heart breaking. Some amazing things happened, while other things made me wonder about the world and just what the heck goes on in it. Not trying to go all existential on you, but I’m finally ready to reflect upon and write about these months. I also refuse to let my emotions override the joy I get out of writing – and living.
Here’s the good stuff: an actual publication accepted an article I wrote. My kids continue to grow, make me laugh and desire to be better at life. I had a pretty exceptional year professionally, and I don’t regret any choices I made – personally or professionally. I crushed a couple of physical fitness goals, fostered positive relationships, and overall, had a damn good time.
Then some bad stuff happened: My best friend’s cancer came back. We pre-celebrated and thought she beat it. So far, we were wrong.
I lost someone with whom I was extremely close to in college. While someone I love began fighting for her life, someone else, whom I cared for deeply, chose to end his.
I’m not sure which of those events shocked me more. So I shut down. I got sad, confused, and even angry at times. I stopped writing because I didn’t feel like I could, or that I had the right to narrate my thoughts. Writing made these two events too real; they paralyzed me and overshadowed everything else. For a few months, I let myself be mired in the anxiety, sadness, sleeplessness, the running – and yes – the wine.
Then I realized something: This was not about me. Nothing is about me. My best friend has cancer. My college friend was in so much pain that the only solution he could find was to leave this earth. What the hell did I have to be mad about?? So I started talking to myself. This was not the positive, encouraging self talk everybody preaches. This was a reality check and a kick in the pants. And I was talking to myself the way I would talk to my best friend, because a best friend shouldn’t be afraid to tell you when you are being ridiculous.
I literally looked at myself in the mirror and, (not out loud), said Get up, Girl. You don’t have anything to be mad, or sad, or depressed about. You should be grateful – you have a family, a career, a healthy body and mind to celebrate. Don’t cry over your best friend, fight with her. Don’t say you’re going to reach out to someone, just reach out. Start writing and creating again. Start friggin’ cooking dinner again! (I realize that last one isn’t for everyone – I happen to really enjoy cooking things.) Live the best way you can for as long as you are lucky enough to do it.
So I’m writing. I’m fighting. I’m cooking. Yes, I’m still drinking wine, just much less of it. I’m also still staying strong, and I’m running – not from anything, but towards everything.