The Tale of the Sometimes Always Writer

Flannery O'ConnorI am a writer. I have always been a writer. Okay, so maybe when I was first born and not yet able to hold a pencil and all that literal shit, I was NOT a writer. But in my body, in my spirit, I have always been a writer.

Notice I didn’t say brain. Writing isn’t in the brain. Grammar, spelling, punctuation – that’s in the brain. Writing is somewhere else. It is ethereal.

When I was on deployment I always kept the pictures of my family put away. Tucked into my Bible is where they stayed. I didn’t pin them up, tape them to my bunk or inside my locker. I hid them. In order to remain sane so far away from them, I couldn’t look at those pictures unprepared. I had to be ready for it. Otherwise, it would throw me into a spiral of whatever that ache is that you get when you can’t put your hands on your children or kiss the forehead of your beloved. A person can’t live like that.

Such is the danger of a writer. You can’t always go there. Well, put a better way – I haven’t always been able to go there.
Private Thoughts

I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say ~ Flannery O’Connor

And I am not always prepared to know what I think. There are some moments, days, periods of life that are just not appropriate for in-depth contemplation. Sometimes after the spouse is adored, kids are nurtured, career is clocked, food is served, teeth are brushed, I am grateful to maybe have enough energy to fold the laundry, and, if it is a particularly great day, have enough left in the tank to carry on an adult conversation with a girlfriend who has been seriously neglected. To add an in-depth conversation with myself? Yeah, no.

I am not afraid of my truthSo, no writing.

As a point of explanation, that entire “not prepared to know what I think” paragraph had to be paused, rewritten, edited for content as there is too much left to say and analyze between the spaces and commas. I don’t have time for that.

In addition to not having time, I don’t have the inclination. I have a hard time with private writing. I heard somewhere that George Washington said, “Never write down anything you don’t want the whole world to read.” I don’t care enough to google the authenticity of that citation. The point is I believe the sentiment.

Therefore, I rarely write what I can’t publish. I don’t trust it. That being true, there is a ton of stuff in my brain that will never find the page. While necessary, the downside of that is periods of time where I just will not write. It is just too much to figure out the best way to balance authenticity with tact, honesty with privacy, truth with rant.

I am a universe of secretsIt’s a conundrum really. Which I suppose is only fitting. When I described myself as a conundrum in my skin to my husband, he reflected for the briefest of moments and agreed with a huge smile.

His response was enlighting for me. One, it affirmed what I thought and verified that I was not over thinking myself and on the track to being more comfortable. Two, most importantly, the smile gave me courage to embrace that odd cattywampus juxtaposition of self that so often feels…well…unknowable.

So maybe I will just have to write about it…

Embracing My Inner Sprouted Grain Waffle

I haven’t written in a while because I haven’t written in a while. Holy crap, can’t write a blog now. It’s been days…weeks…months…two and a half months, actually.

It has been 24 days since my last run…how much does that suck?

I am already 36 years old. Think of all the things that I am too old to try…to start…to hope for…

It has been nearly a year since my last serious bout with the blues. Who cares when it takes three days to get off the couch? 3 outta 365…that is 0.8%…and I let it define my whole person.

It has been 2 weeks since my last whole food juice…and only 2 hours since I nommed on some fried spicy chicken wings.

Do you see what I just did there? I spaghettied up a whole bunch of crap. I focused on yesterday’s shortcomings. I compounded little things to fabricate big things. I let a paper cut fester – then I decided to perceive it as a lost limb.  I know I am not the only one who does this. But I let it convince me that I am a weak freak.

Time to waffle it out…separate the actual from the trash. I have read the book and don’t think it is a dude/chick thing. It is a balance thing. I am over spaghettied and under waffled.

Is this a bit of public therapy? Maybe. But what the hell, I pay for this space 😉 And, quite frankly, I know a couple of truths:

  1. I have never engaged in a public display of (tactful) confession (mine or another’s) that didn’t result in some type of good.
  2.  Support of friends is priceless…and…friends can’t support you if they don’t know you need it.
  3. I am not the only one who feels this way…and…having others speak it is helpful.
  4. Speaking it = accountability
  5. I now know better how I feel since I have thought a good piece of it out on paper.

So, now what?

I write – even if I feel like I have nothing to say and even if it has been two and a half months since I have done it. If I waited any longer it might well be three months – and that is worse. So this may not feel good, but it feels better now than it would tomorrow.

I run tomorrow 🙂 simply because it is already too dark right now. The husband will already say I have started back to soon 🙂 Don’t want to further it by going after dark.

I love birthdays. I will continue to enjoy their function of celebration of a person’s existence. But screw their relevance to time passed and remaining time on the clock. My life is not a football game. I am not limited to, nor am I guaranteed,  four quarters of quality playing time. I will continue to change-up the plays, enjoy the process, march up the field, and take a loss when necessary.

If occasional cycles of emotional unrest is the worst health complication I have right now, then I am amazingly fortunate.  It could be so much worse. The cycles could be more often, more severe. My self awareness could be lower and I could be totally at my chemistry’s mercy. I could be in a place with no support, no understanding, no love, no grace. I am not. I am blessed beyond measure and I will not forget that.

I will remember that my body will behave like garbage if I fuel it with garbage…after Mexico 🙂

See what I did right there 🙂

Getting Back in the Saddle – with a Big Dose of Real

There are times when I worry that I am not really a writer. Times like this, when I know that I should put words on paper and just can’t.

When I started this Lenten season, I decided that I was going to put some things down that distract. Facebook was an obvious choice. Turn Around Tuesday was a little less obvious. But both of those things have had me interacting with people on a regular basis in ways that I am not sure are authentically me. At times it seems that they are more reactionary and not so much creative.

So now that there isn’t so much reactionary writing, very little in the way of creative, spontaneous, or original words seem to come to mind. I worry that I am not really a writer.

I’m sure I need to commit to putting something on paper every day regardless of what it is. I’m worried that won’t work. So the fear of failure results in a procrastination of the effort.

I also think that some prompts might help. I’m also afraid that will fail. I also think that defeats the purpose. I also think that if I were truly a writer I would need it. I also think I’m just an idiot and should take help where I can get it.

I have a brain that feels like an incorrectly wound ball of yarn. The material is good. The possibility for craft is there. But it’s just such a mess. It makes it hard to see the creation in the middle of the chaos.

I worry that I am not a writer. Thinking about that statement as I look at it on the paper I think that may not be true. I’m fairly certain that I am a writer. I think what I’m worried about is who is the reader. And isn’t that some narcissistic bullshit. But truthfully, who doesn’t hone their craft, create, and work hard to put forth a bit of their authentic self with at least a little hope that somebody out there will affirm and appreciate? Don’t we all do that? And is that really so wrong?

No. I don’t think that the desire for appreciation and recognition is wrong. But I think that the fear of looking for that and not finding it has prevented me from creating at all. And that is terribly wrong.

I am a writer. I am a creator. But as long as I remain fearful, I will remain tangled.

20 Questions and the Vacuum can Kiss my Thumb!

Ok, so we know I am not a prude and have no problem with the word “ass.” Just figured this was more family friendly in the Twitter feed 🙂 I figured you would get the point. They can both kiss my ass, my thumb, my big toe, the curb – whatever.

It all started out really cute. On the ride home from picking the kids up from school, a great game of 20 Questions breaks out. It is funny to say the least. The littler ones haven’t quite grasped the strategy of asking eliminating questions and narrowing the possibilities. And the older ones are enjoying very much choosing topics that are abstract at best, unguessable at worse.

A small pattern has begun to take shape. Emily will always choose an animal. You will do better with Savannah if your first question is, “Does it have to do with Quantum Leap?” With Madison, it is the same except the qualifier is Anime. Morgan is the easiest. Just ask three or four questions, she will declare victory and tell you the answer.

Once home, the dear husband joins in the fun. And isn’t that nice? So cute to watch the whole family interacting. No TV, no electronics, no internet. Just us and our conversation. So nice.

It is my turn to pick. The kids have gotten better and, with the parental influence, the questions are more focused. I make my choice and the questions begin. Typical plant, animal, mineral type stuff. Then this…

Emily: Is it alive?

Me: It is not alive.

My dear husband: Do we have one?

Me: We do have one.

Savannah: Is it made of plastic?

Me: Parts of it is made with plastic.

Savannah: Do you use it everyday?

Me: I do not use it everyday.

My dear husband: Is it a vacuum?

No, ass, it is Elmo. I am going to watch my DVR’d American Idol episodes…

 

Lent 2012

It is weird not rolling out of bed, grabbing a cup of coffee, and logging into Facebook to chat with 1500 of my closest friends – especially since that isn’t my normal routine anyway. Typically the alarm goes off, I hit the snooze, grab my phone, and log in before I do anything else.

It took me a minute this morning to think about the alarm, think about the phone, and seriously consider, “ok, what now?”

Sounds a bit silly? Sure, if Facebook isn’t your thing, I am sure it sounds absolutely ridiculous. To understand, you will need to replace my thing with whatever your thing is. Don’t have a thing? Introduce yourself to me because I didn’t realize I knew anybody like that. I must milk your brain for the secret.

But for the rest of us, the thing(s) are real. When deciding what to do about Lent, they are usually the first thing that come to mind or the last. Facebook was the first thing that came to my mind some weeks ago. I spent much time in prayer trying to hear a different direction. I do business on Facebook, I have two babies coming during Lent, I am having my marriage blessed, I collaborate to solve all the problems of the world! (Ok, that last one is a small stretch)

But, prayer, as it is wont to do, only solidified and strengthen the proper path. And here I am. Facebookless. All the happenings of the world going on around me and I am none the wiser.

Or am I?

I still grabbed the phone. Couldn’t click Facebook since I deleted it from my phone last night (some temptations just have to be managed). So, I opened up my feedreader instead. It was affirming (which is still irritating as I get through the withdrawals) and encouraging (which is just what I needed).

 Debating politics and fighting the culture war are honorable endeavors, but they alone will not make us holy. The Lord wants a contrite heart. So for the duration of the Lenten season, I will try to write about spiritual things, things of the Faith, things that bring people — all people — closer to the heart of the eternal God who made and loves them.
~ Leila, Little Catholic Bubble

While I don’t think my Lent is purposed exactly the same as Leila’s (for those unaccustomed to Lent, this is not a bad thing as we are each called to pray, abstain, and give alms in a way that is right for our relationship), I hung out on her phrase, “they alone will not make us holy” for a long time. “Debate” and “war” tug at me as well. I think I will write about political things, but not in a political way…hang with me this season…I am not sure I know what that means quite yet.

At no other time are the paradoxes of the Christian life more evident than during the season of Lent. While the world looks upon this as a time for sadness and glum faces, the church sees it as a springtime of healing and restoration. While the world sees sackcloth and ashes, the church rejoices in the promise of forgiveness. Where the world sees a call for self-denial, the church sees an opportunity for greater intimacy with God.
~The Word Among Us

And there is that. The call, the obligation, the opportunity to be joyous in the sacrifice because the result and the purpose is good. That is still hard right now. I miss the forum. I miss the comfort zone. I miss the routine. But the ashes are blessed and the soul needs the renewal.

This will be wonderful.

 

Hello 2012!

Welcome, 2012.

I am really glad to see you. Thanks for giving me a bit of extra time to send off 2011. We really were great together. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn, grown, and experience. But, that was yesterday…rather yesterday yesterday. Call me fickle, but you, 2012, are now my true love.

You will understand if I decline to make “resolutions.” Seriously, I have enough stress and pressure in my life. You will allow me this one simple pass. I have shared with you things that I have learned and plans I aim to take. That really should be sufficient. Thanks.

And I will promise to attempt to respect you more than the ones before you. I appreciate that you are the holder of time. You dispense  at a constant rate, you do not allow additions or withdraws. I am understanding more all the time how valuable you are and how much I take you for granted. I will do better (so don’t let the stories 2011 told you matter in the least.)

And that is the deal you and I can strike, dear 2012. In lieu of ridiculous resolutions, I will instead not bring the ugly and unfortunate from 2011 into you if you promise…oh dear, I guess you can only be who you are and do what you do…

But yes, we will strike the deal anyway…because if I hold up my end of the bargain, you will naturally give me your best…and in turn, you will get mine

Yep, it’s good to see you…

Daniel Fast Breakfast Day 1

God in the Chaos

Alrighty, so we all grow and evolve right? I too grow and evolve. Some folks don’t like to talk about it too much because they feel like, well I don’t know what they feel like. I do know what I feel like.

  • Go public and mess up – that’s always fun
  • Put it out there and change your mind – flip flopper
  • Make the statement and be misunderstood – there goes those hurt feelings
  • Have the conversation and be berated – party in the house!
  • try to do better and then be picked apart and judged – number one on my bucket list

Well, here’s the deal. All that stuff is scary and all. But, I have come to the conclusion that scary does not make my choices for me…and scary certainly isn’t the way I wish to run my life.

So I will tell you I have been VERY occasionally posting on another blog called “Shared Quiet Moments.” Very occasionally because writing about faith was difficult for me. Sometimes it still is…but, it has become obvious that I am supposed to write about it more…at the very least it should influence my writing (and everything else a bit more). In fact, dealing with this idea has slowed down all aspects of my writing – professional, personal, the book…that cannot be allowed to continue. It is time to move forward.

What does this mean? There will be a bit more God in the Chaos. It also means if you also read Making Life Work for You, you may notice some changes over there as well (but maybe not so obvious).

What does this not mean? I am not attempting to convert or push…I am simply sharing. I am also disclosing my bias. If you are single, that is your perspective. If you own a dog, love hunting, own a business, enjoy wineries…that is your bias. I am a Catholic and this is one of mine.

It also does not mean that I am instantly perfect. My husband will attest to that 🙂 Honestly, I am not sure what exactly it changes, but I just wanted to warn you. I am fairly certain I will still call bullshit bullshit. Oh lookie there, I will 🙂 I am certain my sarcasm level, while dimmed a bit because I do not wish to go back to negative or mean, will still be a major characteristic. I am certain I will still discuss beer, skanky girl toys, ridiculous politics and the like. I am certain I will still be me…just as always…with slight upgrades…

Chaos 2.0 (or ver. 12 – I lost count).

Super Pissed at Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Savannah 2011

Ok, so maybe I am not pissed at them…maybe I am super pissed at me.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Savannah was this past weekend. However, it has been sold out since August. I didn’t even run my first under 10 minute mile until mid September. It wasn’t on my radar.

Ok, so maybe it was on my radar. I get lofty like that. I had a bunch of friends that were running it. Some were doing the full and lots were doing the half. I can do a half. 13.1? Sure, why not? I had already scored a 10 mile run (it was slow, but I finished). Yeah, too bad it’s sold out. Because I could so do that. Yeah.

Then came the day I logged an 11 mile run at a 9:43/mile average. That was cool. Then came this tweet from Bigbie… (one of the best running buddies. Ever.)

The “this” he is referring to is The Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. Evidently some spots had opened up. As in not sold out. As in Cinderella can go to the ball. As in me. As in 13.1. In front of people…really, behind people.

Yeah, no. Quick brush off about registration fee and work and volunteerism…blah, blah, blah. End of subject.

I mean really, those things are a big deal. And who wants to run a race they have never even seen before, right? And really, isn’t it more responsible to not hurry these kinds of things and just make sure you are super prepared? Right?

Whatever. I chickened. Worse – I self sabotaged. I worked so hard to convince myself that this was a great decision that I had almost convinced myself I wasn’t really a runner. My run log last week was seriously lacking. Why? Because maybe I would never be prepared and maybe I started too late and maybe there are all those folks out there who really are runners and won’t that be embarrassing…

Now it was Saturday afternoon…Sunday…reports, stories, pictures are coming in. It was great, it was fun, it was wonderful. And none of them got handcuffed by the imposter police because they didn’t score a 6 minute pace.

And I missed it. Worse than missing it. I chose not to do it. I allowed my brain to jack up yet another wondrous capability that is mine.

So this morning I said screw it. I laced up my shoes and went for a run. Some where around mile 2 I felt better. Somewhere around mile 5 I thought about when I would turn around. Right around mile 6 I realized – I am going to run 13.1 todaybecause I can!

And that is exactly what I did. In under two hours.

I didn’t get a medal or a picture to post on facebook. But I did get a front row seat at life lesson reminder number…well, it’s a big one.

Forget fear. Forget brain jacks. Forget made up lies about inability and substandard fortitude.

Guess who will be there November 3, 2012 ready to eat 26.2 for breakfast. Until then, I have some new words to remember.

“Do it for fun…even if it is Monday.”

The Big Why…

As most of you know, I have returned home to Keller Williams. As much as I loved my new construction family, when an opportunity comes along that speaks to your heart, you gotta just take it. I have had a few of those. And, in all honesty, I am really hoping one will stick. Not since the Navy have I found a place that I felt suited me and, in return, I suited it.

During these times of transition, there inevitably comes a great deal of soul-searching. Just to make the decision to move takes a great deal of introspection on what is important, what are my priorities, what goals am I trying to accomplish…

WHAT IS MY BIG “WHY”?

And I don’t know really. But I do know I figure stuff out while I write. I also know that putting it on paper is a good (although sometimes uncomfortable) practice. I also like recording the thought process – maybe you guys will see where I jumped a thought. Maybe I will see it myself.

I think I basically want to live my life to its fullest potential on my own terms.

HA! The “Big Why” is actually pretty easy. The explanation of is what takes a bit of work. And I intend to talk about it in no particular order.

I like being in control of my own time. Nothing is worse than having your schedule ruled by someone else. Now, that is not to be confused with submitting control of time to those I care for and enjoy doing for. I do not mind bed time stories, helping on the farm, making a big dinner, taking long walk and those things which are done for the benefit of others. However, it is my choice to offer up that time. It is not demanded of me. My livelihood and financial well-being does not depend on it. My calendar is mine.

I like being in control of my own choices. Money helps a great deal with that. Outings, excursions, hobbies, recreation, community enrichment – these things have greater opportunity with greater funding. So I am looking for some greater funding. Do I love money? No. I love the greater breadth of opportunity that money allows.

I like being in control of my own work. I am not one of those folks that say, “work should never feel like work.” Frankly, I like the way good work feels. I honestly like the way good, tough work feels. I do not mind working hard. I do not mind the challenges. I do not mind stretching capabilities. I do, however, want to be doing all those things in a field of work that I believe in and is a good fit for me. I want to be able to choose which tasks I do and which I delegate. I want to be able to control which challenges I take on and which I leave to those better suited at the time.

I like being in control. Period. While I understand and appreciate the purpose and appropriateness of relinquishing control in many circumstances, that should be my decision. Knowing these things are important. They contribute directly to overall wellbeing of your mental state. I should know – my mental state is in constant need of attention 🙂

I am going to live more positively. Part of that is understanding boundaries and enrichment. These are things that build up and these are things that tear down…I am focusing on the things that build up…with occassional distraction by those things that tear down.

But hey, nobody’s perfect

I live my life on my own terms.