I’m sitting the break room between clients one day at work when something tells me to pick up the Glamour magazine laying next to me. I don’t feel like reading but the feeling persists so I open it, my fingers landing on a story that won a fiction contest Glamour held last summer. There is a new contest and entries are due Aug 4, 2011. First place receives five grand, a meeting with a literary agent, and of course, having the story published in Glamour. I salivate over this, brainstorming what I could write about and mentally decide to enter this contest.
A couple of months before this sighting, a client tells me about a half marathon that is taking place at the Chicago South Shore Cultural Center on June 4th. It sounds like so much fun so as soon as I finish her hair, I go sign up for it.
Months before that, another client and I decide before our 30th birthdays we’re going to run a full marathon. I find a race in Atlanta at the end of October, three weeks after my birthday, decide it’s close enough and ask for the time off.
I’m still making jewelry and finally set up an etsy store (www.sweetladybee.etsy.com) but have become so overwhelmed with the tediousness of getting myself out there, networking and trying to better my photography skills that it’s been really easy to somewhat abandon the idea. It doesn’t completely go away though. It gnaws on my brain torturing me slowly into some kind of action that I will inevitably take when I’m tired of being chewed on.
I still have a great love for my collage projects as well and wish sometimes to expand on the ideas I already have. I think it would be fun to make some that are more diorama than an image on canvas. I want to decorate a hat box with glitter, neon colored birds and fake flowers. I want it to be as obnoxious as I can make it. Again, this just stays in my mind though as starting can be the hardest part.
Then there’s writing here in my squirrel’s nest and I’m easily lost for words. My inner critic is awfully loud today telling me I have nothing to say and no one wants to hear it. I get wrapped up in wanting to write something specific, wanting it to be a certain length and acknowledging a desire to add pictures to the mix. All these parameters are paralyzing and I do nothing.
Also I feel I’m desperately stumbling around wishing something would fall out of the sky and tell me what to write when it comes to the novel project I’ve started and stopped and erased several times now. It would help if I turned on the computer, or opened a notebook to allow for this idea to fall from the sky, and give it space to land on. I always want it to work the other way around though. I want to know how it goes, how it ends before putting my pen to paper because it’s safer that way. There are no surprises and I can feel confident in the fact that I have a direction.
What fun is any of that though? There is nothing fun about having all the answers, about knowing everything. The mystery that resides in all of my creative endeavors is the hardest part to get through and accept. Losing Rob amplified my already intense desire to know all outcomes, to anchor down everything that is important to me so as to make sure nothing and no one were going anywhere and I can protect myself from ever feeling that kind of hurt again.
My creative endeavors once served a purpose ( and honestly, when done sanely still do) to calm me down, take me out of my land of crazy, of grief, of responsibility, of the mundane parts of life and place me somewhere where I could incubate for a little bit, heal the broke down parts and feel strong again to keep moving ahead. Lately, none of this is true. I have a list a mile long of things I want to accomplish and I go at them militantly at times at such break neck speeds that I leave no room for my ever changing moods, or life to happen. This builds resentment faster than anything. I resent people who are doing things faster and better than myself. I resent the ones who are doing them joyfully as they should, in my opinion be done. I resent my ever changing moods, my sometimes lack of energy and or fear of starting a project. I am a master procrastinator and a master of guilt trips, constantly trying to corral myself into some kind of schedule or plan to get something done in what I perceive to be a timely manner. Not to mention I still have a full time job, a relationship and friendships I’d like to hold up. There are vacations I want to take, family I want to see, meals I want to cook, movies I want to see pictures I’d like to draw, images I want to photograph, and more I’d like to learn. Part of me truly believes I can have all these things. Another part, the one I listen to the most makes me believe that I can only have part of these things. It has trouble deciding what to do next, what to write next and or what to make next. I am caught up somewhere in the storm of the decision making process feeling guilty for choosing one thing over another.
My therapist Beth has asked me twice now if I truly want everything I’ve piled on to my plate. I sure do. I want the challenge of running a full marathon, feeling that I can make it happen. I want the satisfaction of finishing another book. I want the experience of entering another writing contest and yes, I want to see my sparklies in stores one day. The critical part of me pipes up now saying “who are you to get to do all these things? You can’t have all of that.”
Well why the hell not? I forget to move slower, to take baby steps, and to trust that answers to questions I’ll inevitably have will appear. I forget that my life has been made up of choices and I’m still continuing to choose. My list is long but somehow I plan to check off every item on it.