Thank you for reading the words that I type. Thank you for mucking or trudging along my often convoluted and obtuse writings.
The ease with which one can click a button and publish can cause instant writer’s gratification. It can lead to a mystified sense of triumph and an illusion of capabilities. Perhaps at times, the triumph of following a thought through to the very end, does take place — yet as I write and write, the words form their own cathartic adventure (almost as if I have very little involvement in it). Perhaps at times a sense of capability takes over and I gain the feeling that I can write.
Being able to just start a thought, name an emotion, process it or acknowledge it, and share it with the world, there is power in that, in that action and that simplicity of just typing, auto-correcting some words, and hitting publish. What I have found from the experience of merely writing (without too much pre-thought or cleaning up), is that it has allowed within me a comfort, an ease, an honesty. Being able to publish and share — whether incoherent thoughts, rambling sentences, or poignant recognitions of my own shortcomings — has in its own way been cathartic. It has become comfortable and easy. Yet all of my English teachers taught me better. And as with any routine or hobby or passion that becomes easy with practice, there comes a point in time when 2 options present themselves (and if you know of any others, please share!):
- continue with the easy and thrive on that “capability,” coast for a while, become stalemate, and lose interest
- step it up a notch, see where you can take this passion, this hobby, where you can stretch, learn, fight and claw your way to a new plateau.
Back when I was in fifth grade, we had to watch a TV movie about a nuclear bomb wiping out the world, discuss it with our parents, and then be prepared to discuss it with our classmates and teacher. After seeing the movie, I remember standing in front of a wall heater in the hallway, and my mom prompting me with good questions to get my insights. One of those questions was “what would I do if I was stuck on an island, by myself?” I don’t recollect thinking twice before answering: “Nothing.” I think my mother was shocked (and concerned) and her questions turned towards the idea that surely I would do something, find a way to survive. I don’t recollect how the remainder of the conversation went, whether I changed my tune so as not to worry her, or slowly disengaged from the conversation.
I mention this historical anecdote because I can see how either of the two options (stay still or move forward) can be enticing. Staying still, doing nothing that really takes much effort, can be soothing, can be all that we are prepared to take on, can be all that we want to take on, at that moment. Moving forward, doing something scary and new can be exciting, a personal dare, can be just what you are ready to take on, at that moment.
There have been times in my life (obviously in the fifth grade) when choosing to go on an adventure was just not my cup of tea. Challenges and adventures take energy. Sometimes we are just too tired to simply stand up straight and are content being warm by the wall heater. And there have been times in my life when I have chosen to go on an adventure (like saying yes to life while still in utero and refusing to leave my mother’s womb too early – boy, did that take strength and energy!). I can look back at that past year of my life and choose to regret it, choose to prick and pick on my acts of not truly engaging with the world, choose to nit pick that I complained too much and did nothing to change either my attitude or my perspective or the situation. Or I can choose to look at last year as a time of rest, of preparation, of awareness. Both options can be valid and freeing: both give me a good starting point, where I can recognize my shortcomings (and what tactics I easily fall into when I don’t like something), and also recognize that rest is needed before any big journey (especially if you don’t know how long that journey or adventure is going to be).
So I say again: thank you for reading, for allowing me to share (easily) my thoughts during these past weeks — however they came across on the written page. The next part of the journey, the “stepping up,” is still writing thoughts out, but letting them ferment, compost, flushing them out, truly and honestly, and seeing where they lead. My brain will keep thinking — of this I hope and pray. Now I need to keep up with it, engage it and challenge it more.