Freaked out but happier than a pig in sh*t

pig

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” ~ Marianne Williamson.

I have been neglecting my blog for a while now, with good reason: for the past month or so, I’ve been doing a virtual Editorial Apprenticeship at Elephant Journal!  Most of what us apprentices do is receive submissions edit them (sparingly). We also do social media, and are to write (at least) two pieces a month.

It is a lot of work, and I am learning so much.  I’ve had to make some sacrifices (mostly in the ‘play’ element of my life, but also it seems as if chores and exercise are going by the wayside). Some days are freaking amazing, others are a bit of a struggle: what am I doing well? What can I improve on? Should I/can I write more? What can I write about? Am I learning enough? Am I fast enough? Do they like me?

It is the perfect thing for me right now. It is exactly what I need to do. I felt it in my gut the moment I hit ‘send’ on my letter of interest.

But at one point the other weekend I started to panic. I went into this sort of paralysed state as I faced the ele writing and editing work that needed completion, even though I’d created plenty of time and space for it. I’d even had a wonderful Saturday, complete with some morning work, a massage and some fresh air and social time at the horse races, one of my favorite places.

Yet my shoulders were pulled up to my ears, my forehead was crinkling up, and I was retreating into a ball on the bed.  I was paralyzed out of fear.  I had to go into myself and really investigate what was going on.

My life had been improving vastly over the past few months.  More and more I was realizing that I had (or could have) much of what I wanted.  At that moment, in actuality, there was nothing wrong.

So why was I feeling so…stuck, when everything was going perfectly?

I realized I was freaked out because I was actualizing the fact that I really do have the power to design a life that I love, to do something meaningful with it.  And although this required work, it was work that didn’t really feel like work.

Everything was (is) coming together, and this is the biggest piece of the puzzle to fall into place yet.

So when I fell into that funk and started to resist the work out of fear, I forced myself go to the computer and just start.

I realized, then, how talented my brain is at problematizing! My mind is (our minds are) really good at creating problems that don’t exist. In some weird way, finding something to worry about comes so naturally, it’s almost like some strange security blanket.  Like, neurosis is my ‘go to’ when I’m feeling some sort of stress, even if the source of the stress is actually good!

As I recognized this, I pushed myself into my work a little bit more.  Brain went wayward again…and I brought it back.  Slowly but surely, this became easier.

I worked through that fear, and I recognized when I started to feel better.

Then I realized then that maybe my fear stemmed from the fact that I could actually succeed. Maybe I was finally doing something that truly made me happy, and part of the stress stemmed from wanting so much to succeed.

I reflected then on the things that had brought me to the place I am at now, and a lot of the shifts coincided with me sharing my writing, and my passion for it.

It began after I broke up with my boyfriend and subsequently published my first piece at Elephant Journal. People saw it, people read it, people resonated with it.

Due to the breakup, I was also developing new friendships and strengthening some existing ones. These people were openly supporting me in my work, and truly interested in the things that come out of this crazy brain.

These were people that genuinely resonated with what I need and want in my life.

They know that this is my purpose, and they support it 100%.

Which made me start to believe in myself more.  So I wrote a little more in my blog, and I published a couple more pieces at Elephant Journal.  Then this writing helped to facilitate more new relationships and experiences.  It was me pursuing this, being vulnerable, that allowed others to see the real me.

As I reflected on my path from the last ~ 8 months, I made the most important realization, one that must continue to be a main inspiration for me on this journey (no matter how scared, or tired, or stressed out I might feel):

When I write, everything else falls into place.

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I blog because…

Today’s DP topic: Why do you blog?.  The question seems simple, but is loaded.

First I want to make the distinction between blogging and writing.  It’s easy to talk about why we write, but why, specifically, do we want to use this forum to share our ideas with the world?  What is the difference between writing publicly and privately?  (I’ve already talked about this here, I just think it’s a really fascinating conversation.)

I blog because I have this urge to get all these weird ideas that I have out into the world in a way that hopefully makes sense and is interesting enough that others can appreciate it.  The best is when other people read me and it makes them talk and think about the world differently.  I definitely like to challenge people’s assumptions about things.

Writing in general is the main way I exercise my brain, but when this morphs into connection, conversation, dialogue…I am blown away.  It’s so inspiring.  I love doing this face to face as well, but there is something so unique about conversing via the interwebs with virtual strangers.

I blog because I like to talk about myself and am not ashamed:  I mean come on, admit it, don’t we all?

Also, though, I like snooping.  I really like getting into other people’s heads, hearing about why you write, or, just making that guess myself based on some of the stuff you write about.

Here are 5 random picks of blogs I follow and why I like them.

  • I like Play Outdoors’ various details about how she came to blog, especially how blogging is good for writing about screwing up and laughing about it.
  • I like reading about hobbies that other people are passionate about, even if they are not things that I personally do (check out Stacey’s Knitting!).
  • I like how the act of blogging is an avenue to be admittedly self-involved but at the same time we are still offering this amazing gift to others.
  • I like how bloggers like Wisejourney  share bits and pieces about their own creative processes, including photos and tips about writing.
  • I admire bloggers like Knocked Over By a Feather for being so open and raw in writing of her struggles with depression and Fibromyalgia, while still keeping an awesome sense of humor.

It’s such a strange phenomena, being able to share our personal details with the world like this.  The ways that blogging can connect us (sometimes on a very personal level) and forms little communities with people we might never otherwise meet is just the coolest thing ever.

Smudge!

Daily prompt: Do you have animals in your life? If yes, what do they mean to you? If no, why have you opted not to?

Hi everyone: meet Smuuuuudgge (aka Schmo, Smudgella, Schmoley, Schmolina, Poohead, Boobface, Sweetie, etc.).  You have to say it in one of those really silly ridiculously high-pitched voices that girls tend to use when they are talking to pets or babies.

smudge

I’ve had her since before she was born, and I believe she turns 17 this year!  She was the runt, but is huge.   Her mother (who was also my cat), never taught her to hunt, and she’s always been a sweet, gentle thing.  Never a fighter, more likely to run and hide.

We’ve been through a lot together: moved to a few different places, lived with a few different cats, boyfriends, roommates.  I’ve also discovered I’m allergic to her, so I’ve had to minimize contact in many ways.

She is a handful, and I get irritated at her frequently: she poops in the corner daily, she scratches at my door every night at 3am.  She is whiney, crotchety, scruffy, eyes and ears no doubt failing.  She has arthritis and weird warts that are making her fur into gross sticky little dreads.  She snores.  She is getting more and more senile — sometimes I catch her just meowing loudly into a corner.  I wish I knew what she wanted!

She’s been overweight forever, ever since she was in a house full of cats when she was much younger: I honestly think she ate the other cat’s food out of insecurity!   I have tried to put her on diets, but now she is old, food is one of her few pleasures and I just feed her little bits whenever.  I feed her good quality food and I think that has been key to her relatively decent health.

There was one time years ago where she was missing, and we found out that she crawled through this teeny little hole under the front steps.  I could hear her meowing, but I could not get her out.  When I found her, her back legs weren’t moving.  I was terrified that she was paralyzed – and the vet that we saw didn’t know at first either.

As it turns out she had just damaged her tendons very severely and eventually started to walk again.  Yup, she’s a tough little cookie!

The thing is, I love her like crazy.  She has been this constant companion, and she is just so bloody cute and sweet.   She practically purrs on command, and she gets really excited when I whistle.  The way she rubs against things (really hard) is also just so cute, and the way she turns in circles as I feed her (she whines for food many, many times a day).

Even though it makes my nose itchy and breaks my concentration, I love how she lies down on the floor with me, purring loudly and rolling around playfully when I do stretching.

She always crams her cheeks into my extended fingers, essentially forcing me scratch her.  It is the cutest thing ever.

I have lived alone alot, and she has been my most constant companion even through dark times, sometimes coming up to me with such love and innocence, and the loudest purr ever, during a darkest hour.

I think she’ll be my last pet, at least for a long time.

I love you Smudge!