Well, half of July is behind us. That means it has been over a year since my last post. Not what you were expecting me to say is it? You were probably thinking I’d say something like Summer’s practically over or we’re half way through the year already. Nope. It’s about me. And my failure. Or my ‘time off.’ Whatever you want to call it. I’ve been calling it – this ridiculous amount of time spent not writing – many, many different things. You know, the way you quickly slap a label on something. I guess that’s what I’ve been doing every time I’d count the months since my last post. Oh labels. What a bunch of garbage (Ha! See what I did there?!). Well, when I consistently use the “Cheap Crap” labels anyways.
I’ve been struggling with my worth as a writer for a little while now. All during the process of writing It Doesn’t Have to be That Way, I had to remind myself that I wasn’t a Danielle Steele or Stephen King (geez, not by a long shot) and keep writing. My subject matter wasn’t what most would want to read about and my inexperience in regards to writing something others would be reading, unlike my journaling, created an even greater obstacle. I didn’t like reading what I had written at times and I know there were many others that probably wouldn’t like what I wrote either. There were so many moments I’d ask myself, “Why am I doing this? Am I doing the right thing?” But I just kept writing. Whether it be good or bad. The story had to be told. It was the story’s worth that had greater value than the Cheap Crap label I kept putting on myself or my writing.
This past year has been filled with so much high value/low worth moments I just stopped writing. One year had passed since we stopped seeing our counselor providing many moments of grief, but more on topic another time. I had a fantastic Fall semester at school but the Spring semester, not so much. It was my final semester, so a bit of that was do to what I’ll call senior-itis. A bigger part was due to a very disappointing class. It was an experience I hadn’t felt to-date and just kept me utterly defeated. Another item to cause some discord was my lack of running. The last race I ran was a half marathon in Kansas City. Holy hills was it hard. I finished and in okay time considering the constant hills and the rain, but the rest I felt my body needed to recover transformed into a lack of motivation to get out and run. The coming winter months made it pretty easy to lack motivation too. But then there’s what I had been my #1 priority for 5+ years prior. I just plain stopped writing. I hadn’t posted anything here on the blog. More importantly, I hadn’t journaled. I had writer’s amnesia.
After It Doesn’t Have to be That Way was published and we had a small release party, I began feeling like “Maybe I shouldn’t have done that. I just exposed how horrible of a writer I am. It might be a decent story but it’s not reality.” My worth became very little in this favorite task of mine. The labels I slapped on myself when I thought about writing and the time that had lapsed from doing so, went from dumb to ill-equipped to un-interesting to inadequate, loser, scatter-brained, unworthy. So I didn’t write.
Here I am these past couple of months, watching the one-year anniversary of my ‘not writing’ quickly approach and I keep asking myself, “Why? Why are you slapping these labels on yourself? More importantly why are you letting them stay glued on and why are you believing them?”
I’m certain I do this with all the things that require vulnerability and transparency at times. The things that mean the world to me. The very things that I put my worth in. My Cheap Crap label on my ability to carry out the one thing that I’ve cared so much about created quite a conflict. The label got in the way of acknowledging the true worth. The worth not only in the ‘story’ but in our individual brokenness. The worth in our brokenness as a community, a society, a culture. The worth that comes from our absolute need for one another.
My need to write has always been to fulfill the longing to be vulnerable and honest. And yet I turned my own vulnerability on myself. I should know better. Shame will keep me from being courageous. I opened myself up the world and then quickly shut the door. Shame is no longer a means of protection for me. It hasn’t been for awhile, well, until I published a book. I’m acknowledging that now, here with these words. My craft is not perfect. I never expected it to be. But I sure ripped it to shreds when I did. And then I stopped practicing my craft. I became small.
My heart misses writing. Maybe you gave up on something due to the Cheap Crap (inadequate, unworthy, un-interesting) label you gave yourself. Don’t give up. I’m in it with you. Practice what your heart longs for and it won’t steer you wrong. In fact, it will only get better at getting you to those places you’ve wanted to roam around in and seek adventure amidst. We can help each other get there. But only by having the courage to be vulnerable and love for the very act of doing so.
Cheap Crap? How about Free Encouragement? Yeah, I like that a LOT better. I guess this was all part of becoming Better Now and therefore, offering much value to the project I set out to live by so many years ago. Here’s to you living, Better Now.