Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What Writing is For Me

I received an early Monday morning email from the digital news editor at, titled "Unfortunate news". It started by saying, "I'm sorry to have to send this email, but unfortunately we are going to be discontinuing our blogs." It ended by telling me I could quit blogging immediately or I could continue until the end of the month.

You have no idea how relieved I was to get this notice. Writing on demand is not my cup of tea. I have considered handing in my notice for the papers I presently write for and make way for someone who has new, fresh thoughts and ideas.

I like to write for the fun of it. Sometimes, to release a little pressure. Other times, to be whimsical and just write for the pleasure I get from writing. There are times when my brain to hand connection helps me untangle my thoughts and see things from a different perspective. The odd time I really have something to say.

I'm uncomfortable with where I am at in my life right now. I'm fighting to regain my footing and find the "me" I was five years ago. I know I can't be "that" person again but I do want to feel good about the person I'm evolving into. I haven't quite found that spot yet and I honestly don't believe my struggle out of the quicksand of life is something people want to "pay" to read.

I like writing in my own little corner of the world where readership doesn't matter. I can just be "me" and it is enough. I can write or not. I can be happy or sad or anything in between. I can be "nothing" and let the words fall out of my nothingness onto the page and it is enough.

Writing under pressure makes me feel like I am not enough. Every single month, when I rummage through the archives of what I have written, I try to find something that is good enough to send out into the world. I feel like I have been submitting scraps of who I used to be and who I'm trying to evolve into becoming, but I'm a little bit lost as I go through this phase of evolution.

I see glimmers of where I want myself to go, how I want to retrain my thoughts and I think I see a way of getting there. Then I lose my train of thought. That's "life".

As we go from day to day, we are sometimes forging our own path. Other times we are following an old path that has become overgrown and it's hard to find our way. When things feel clearer, it's like driving down an old familiar country road. Other times, we are exploring new roads others have built.

I don't like new roads. I like well travelled, double lane highways where I know the route without having to think. I stop at the same places along the way. My destination rarely changes. I love my ruts. I always have and probably always will.

I scared myself this past weekend. I love my ruts so very much, that packing up and leaving this rutty, familiar life of mine was harder than it has ever been before. The anxiety levels I felt as I tried to make my way out the door were alarming to me. It shouldn't feel this hard to pack up and leave the house for a few days.

I know I need to shake things up in my life. Get up and do different things each morning. Travel unfamiliar routes and reroute some of my brain's wiring. Taking a different route should feel like an adventure, not the opening sequence of a horror film.

See? This is the stuff that no one wants to read. Not even me. I think I need to pack up my pen and write in private again. Or is there a market for writing that is going in circles and terrified that it may hold clues as to what it feels like as one walks the walk into the years leading to dementia? Yes. That's it. I'm feeling just a little bit shell shocked at the revelation of what this "brain fog" may actually signify.

I haven't had time to dig deeper into what I can do to prevent this. Life carries on no matter what else is going on. That is a good thing.

I walked into this week feeling worn down and beat up. My daycare family walked in the door and the week could not be going better. We managed to walk through our exposure to "Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease" relatively unscathed. One of my daycare family came down with it but, to our knowledge, no one else has (we realize now, that everyone was exposed to this all last week). Yee haw!! That means my obsessive compulsive lessons about "not putting anything in our mouths" and our current hand washing routines are enough. This brush with a contagious childhood/daycare disease opened up a dialogue between my daycare parents and me which has reassured me that "I am enough". It has been reiterated enough times for me to start believing it.

At one point, this past weekend my mom asked me, "Do your [daycare] kids like you?" My immediate response was "I don't think so". I confessed this revelation to my daycare parents and was reassured on many levels that I was wrong. I know there are definitely moments when my daycare family aren't very fond of me but when they walk in the door, they are happy to be here. They are content most of the time. We have many more positive moments than the drama of the moments I describe when I'm frustrated at behaviours which feel out of my control. But the soundtrack of most of our days is that of contented white noise. I actually stopped to listen for it this week. Contentment is in the air.

My predictable little life is a busy (enough) one. I have cocooned myself from anything extra-curricular since my return home Sunday night. I'm saving my strength for the next hard thing I must do. I am meeting up with a friend on the upcoming long weekend. We are meeting at a mid-way point between where we both live. This means I must take a new road. It is only a single lane highway. I have only travelled it once before so I know it will take me where I need to go but our destination is brand new to me. Am I excited? No. Am I terrified? Not yet. Will I become paralyzed in fear in the hours before I blaze this (almost) new trail? Quite possibly.

I am fifty five years old and life still scares me. I think this thought and I think I am all alone. I write this thought aloud and often I hear the echo of "Me too!" when I go out into the big scary world and speak my truths out loud. "This" is why I write. It takes the fear out of living when you hear the words "Me too" come back to you.

To feel like I was alone in this journey called life would be the most terrifying thing of all. By speaking our truth out loud we often hear the answers we wouldn't hear if we kept silent. This is why I am such an open book. This openness has saved me from myself. Time and time again. Do I fear the day when the echo I hope to hear becomes a statement: "I don't feel this way. You are alone. Maybe you should call an expert in the field ..." That is my greatest fear of all.

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