The Dark Side of Grit
It’s been almost a year since I last posted to this blog. Things had gotten to the point that if I had any time to spare for writing it had to be for working on my manuscript. No time for free writing! It was also right about this time I resolved to let it go in 2019. And what let it go meant to me was to let go of work that I took on just because I could, because my impulse to prove my worth had become so automatic, and I was so run-down and divided. I wrote all about it in my igloo builder post, where I explored the darker aspect of what has always been a fond memory of my ability to persist. This is the trait that help me run a marathon. This is the trait that got me through college with a 3.8 GPA and a toddler in tow. But is there a dark side to this grit and determination? Turns out that yes there is, and thankfully nothing is fixed forever. I am still revising my story, after all.
Finding a Way
I spent the year cutting out work and consciously slowing down. I set up a meditation space and started using it. I started writing down three things to be grateful for every day. I added the most gentle yoga class offered at my studio to my weekly practice (thanks, Anne, if you ever read this). I quit my coaching job. Bit by bit, I quit overparenting and hypervigilance about little things that didn’t seem to concern anyone else, so why was I making such a deal? I have been learning and am still learning the power of knowing when to take a deep breath and let it go and when to hold fast and strong. I have also become more apt to ask for help around the house. In the process I’ve realized how everyone benefits from housework. Overachieving in that realm deprives family members of opportunities to build self-worth and connection to home and the people who cohabitate there.
It’s a New Decade, Friends
What has resulted? For starters, I have the energy again to write in the mornings, and I am finally learning to play guitar. I have longed to play my entire remembered life. All those memories of my mom plucking away and singing. Perhaps one of a few times I knew for sure I was safe. I knew those songs and even if they were sad, I knew what was coming. Those are the same songs that I sing to soothe myself to this day when right in the middle of life panic takes me and squeezes me in its unrelenting fist. I am working on a new book (working title: Scripts) and am deep in edits on another. I wrote for almost two hours Monday morning and again this morning. Pretty amazing considering it was the first Monday after winter break!
The peace and relaxation I feel has paved the path to eliminating my near daily habit of needing wine to unwind all the tension I accumulated during the day. I haven’t needed to do that in two weeks now, and at the moment, I have no desire to. It seems like such a waste of precious time.
Precious writing time!
My goals for writing in 2020 do not include making any specific accomplishments. I simply hope to make time for writing whenever possible and to enjoy the spaces in between. I will seek opportunities to get my work out into the world and take those opportunities without hesitation. I will invoke my spider muse.
I woke this morning and finished a rough outline of my new novel. All I ever write are rough outlines. I am one of those writers who doesn’t know the way until she sees her characters come to life on the page. This means I will never finish a book Kerouac style, and I am okay with that. Tomorrow I will write the prologue. My only goal is to have a few pages to bring to writer’s group next week.
Friends, I hope to write something that might inspire you in your creative goals this year at least once a week. If we aren’t making art in the face of it all, we aren’t truly doing all we can. So let’s keep making time.
Send me a personal note about what you are working on in 2020 and I will send you some inspiration in return. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.