Writing Sick

Today I’m spending a sick day at home. Somehow in the fever daze I found myself drawn back to a book I had written a couple years ago. I’ve written this book over and over again, I’ve torn things out, added things in, rearranged, edited, rewritten from scratch… You get the idea.

But reading it today I was somehow able to be a little less critical of myself, and actually halfway enjoy the story. It makes me want to consider picking it back up again, finishing the missing gaps in the second half, and maybe doing something with it.

I’m so afraid to show my writing to other people. This blog is one thing, I’ve tried to squash my perfectionistic tendencies by writing stream of consciousness and hitting publish. Occasionally I’ll allow myself to read over it, but oftentimes I don’t, because if I do, I know I’ll never post anything at all.

Because of the state this book is in, I really can’t do that. So I have to try to find a balance if I do decide to pick it up again. I’ve written a few books, but this is the one I really cared about, and I think sometimes that’s the most difficult type to write, because when the product doesn’t match our vision… It just ends up disappointing and leaving a lot to be desired.

I’m running completely off track though. I came here to ask a question.

So in this book I have two very different worlds. One of them is more the origin/backstory that lead to my character developing PTSD (one of the things that was “accidentally” added). In the current state, I have all the origin world in the beginning, and then transition away from it. But reading it again, I was wondering if it would be more effective to have that laced throughout in PTSD flashbacks. (There are already some of those in the later part.) And I was wondering what all of you think?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! I know it’s hard to give an answer with so little information, but which way sounds the most interesting to you at first glance?

Notebooks

I seem to have an ever expanding collection of notebooks and journals. I like to stay somewhat organized, so I need multiple notebooks for multiple purposes. I have one for the books I read/have read, one for free-writing, one for journaling, one for scriptures, one for a particular story I’m working on, one for brainstorming, and the list goes on.

Maybe I have too many, but I like having a place for everything. This also means that my life is scattered in little bits in all different places. Is that a bad thing? Or is it curation? So maybe my “organization” just ends up being messy. I suppose it does make it harder to find everything from one particular period in time, but I almost like it that way. It’s interesting to see how things have changed, and I like knowing that there’s more I could find somewhere else.

Well, I do love notes… And I suppose notebooks are the perfect place to keep them.

Do you find yourself collecting many notebooks? Or are you more organized than I am?

On The Bus Of Judgment

Yesterday on the bus there was a man. Not too unusual, I suppose. This one had a very gruff demeanor; his voice, the way he muttered under his breath, his clothing, the way he looked at the side of his seat as he repeatedly punched it lightly.

Right before he stepped off the bus, he stood there in front of the door, pointed to the driver and said something in a rough voice. For a moment my heart stopped in my throat and I was a little nervous about what might be going on.

Then his words registered with me, “Hey! You take care.”

He wasn’t being harsh, or rude, or angry, he was being nice. It got me wondering what his story is and why his general demeanor was so unhappy. But then it also got me thinking how quick we are to judge things we don’t understand. Or, maybe not what we don’t understand, but things that are typically thought of as scary.

I had always been really good at reading people, though I’ve felt as though I’ve lost that ability in some ways. I’m beginning to gain it back, but it will take some time. I’ve been suppressing myself for so long now…

But why, just because someone has a different tone of voice, or general look to them, do we jump to the worst conclusion?

I guess, before I get too far in this, I have to say that my first reaction was to feel bad for the guy, he seemed so sad and alone. I don’t know how to describe it other than that. He seemed abandoned. Isolated. And in that, I could understand his potential frustration at the world.

But maybe he wasn’t. Maybe those were just traits he had within himself. Or, maybe he was having a rough day, and chose to overcome it by being kind.

Either way, maybe we need to be willing to give others a chance, no matter their outer appearance, because we have no idea what’s underneath in the state of their heart.

Upon Self-Discovery

I think I knew it all along. My reaction to finding out I was an introvert was pretty much non-existent. I grew up in a large family that accepted each of us as we were. I never felt that I belonged, but I never felt completely… I was going to say odd, but I certainly did feel that one. But I suppose, I felt accepted even though I didn’t feel the same.

I don’t know if I had ever heard the term introvert before or not, it was so long ago. I first took an MBTI test because my husband (then boyfriend) sent it to me. (I guess he was more in the interviewing mindset than I was. haha)

Looking back on it, I’m kind of surprised by my reaction. I didn’t think much of it, though it was really powerful. I took the test and read the description, and it was like someone was reading my soul.

I had those four little letters, and didn’t think much of it beyond that. I suppose I didn’t really know that there was more to it than just a little test that people take.

So I went on a few years without anything really happening. And then I was working on a story, and I was stuck with the characters. Those four letters came up in my mind and I decided to look into it again.

I retook the test several hundred times, and also did it for characters. Suddenly things became more clear. I got so wrapped up in typing my characters that I forgot about writing them! And I learned SO much.

Everything in my life started to make sense and I wondered why I hadn’t looked further when I first took the test.

Learning I’m an INFJ has been so influential for my personal development. I had no idea that four little letters could provide as much explanation and insight as they have.

I’m curious, do you know your MBTI type? (If not, you can take a test here, though they don’t always give accurate results.) How has knowing your type influenced you?

Over And Over

I write the same things over and over and over again. Maybe it’s in a slightly different form, but it’s still the same. I deal with issues of self-doubt, insecurity, fear, and trusting God through life’s storms. Is there ever anything different or unique in what I say? Will I ever break free from this cycle of repeating the same steps, the same message, over and over again?

I want to be important, I want something useful to say. I think we all do on some level. Maybe we have different ways of expressing it, but everyone wants to be seen, and heard, and loved.

It’s not always easy to admit that. And it’s even harder to admit when we feel we fell short. I’m grateful that God’s grace is not dependent upon me or my shortcomings, because I know if it was, there wouldn’t be any way left for me to win.

There’s an inner struggle I seem to face time and time again. I’m not sure what the solution is, or even what each of the sides is. What am I fighting for? What I do know is that it does no good warring against myself. But maybe that’s easy. It’s easier to face conflict internally, when I know I can look at it and make it right… Someday… Than it is to deal with the possibility of an external conflict with others.

Maybe writing and saying the same thing over and over is part of finding a voice. Maybe it’s part of the path to healing and understanding. I know it’s cathartic. And maybe this is my way of expressing something inside me that I haven’t been able to fully face.

What if the patterns and repetitions are just ingrained into us. Like a series of fractals, or a spiral staircase. Always upward, always deeper, though the resemblance can make each level look the same. Maybe it’s part of the fabric of who we are. A new way of processing old information, or peeling back the layers that have yet to be discovered.

Maybe my perspective just needs to be different, and that’s what I’m subconsciously aware of, so that’s why I repeat. Slowly changing, and evolving, with every step I take.

Snow Day

It’s a snow day today. The world is coated in white, and I’m cozy inside, writing the day away with a cup of tea nearby. The tasks pile up like the snow outside, but today, I’m oddly feeling more calm and peace.

Sometimes we need a chance to step back, take a break (or just be more planned and intentional), and refocus on what truly matters. I’ve gotten more done this morning than I have the past several days. I find it interesting how when I loosen up and let go of the pressure I put on myself, how my productivity is far greater. Why do I still struggle to step back and take rest when I need it?

I’m thankful for the snow day today, and thankful for the calmer mindset. Sometimes we need to be snowed in to realize that what we have inside is enough. Why is it so hard to just take time for me?

I have a hard time saying no. That’s one of the things I want to work on this year. I feel pulled in multiple directions, so I end up standing still, breaking beneath the tension and only doing the bare minimum. This leaves me feeling more worthless, and more like I’m not enough, because nothing I ever do is good enough, because nothing I ever do is my best.

I’m slowly learning to breathe, though there are plenty of days I’m still caught up in the lies my mind whispers. I’m thankful for days like these that force me to step back and look at things from a different perspective. And I’m thankful for the time to self-reflect with a blank page and whatever time I need.

What things are you thankful for today? What lessons are you working to bring into your life?

Anxiety Writing, Triggers

Everything’s moving too fast. It’s moving too fast and I can’t keep up. Life swirls by around me and I’m left staring into the blur, attempting, desperately, to catch my breath.

I’m frustrated that anxieties still haunt me. Every time I think I’m beginning to break free, it pulls me down again. Even good things can serve as a trigger, and I’m frustrated with myself and disillusioned at the world. Left wondering if I’ll ever truly be able to have hope and peace again.

No warning, just shell shock that reverberates through my being.

I know these things are in the past, but it can still feel so vivid. I know it’s likely never going to return to the horror it was, and yet, the fear of going back still leaves me paralyzed and breathless. Just knowing that there’s any possibility that it could happen again, it’s too much, and I break beneath the weight of it.

How do we move forward to face a life that’s nothing like what we thought we’d have? How do we pick up the little pieces and just move on as if none of it ever happened?

Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning. Today is one of those days. And I consciously know it isn’t going to last forever, and yet, the fear still whispers to me that there’s no escape.

One step up, two steps down, and we’re still moving backwards. I have days like today where I fall down again, but it’s becoming increasingly less frequent. I know this fear can’t ultimately win. Perfect love casts out fear. And someday, I may not know when, but someday, God will provide the way of escape that death so cunningly tells me does not exist.

And with that knowledge, in this moment, I take a step back. I don’t have to have all the answers, and I don’t even need to be okay right now. This moment is not forever, and tomorrow will bring a new day.

Goals

I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect; more often than not, based on others opinions and values rather than my own. I’ve realized that it is the most anti-productive thing to do, even if it were by my own standards.

I’ve done my fair share of reflecting, and goal-making, but I’ve never really been into typical New Year’s resolutions.

What’s the difference? Well, I had always thought a resolution is something one makes up their mind to change about themselves or their lifestyle with blunt force starting on a particular day, while a goal is something that one wishes to attain, check off a list, or move toward. Maybe they’re the same thing, maybe not. I’m not really sure anymore.

I’m not saying that I don’t have aspirations to change or to be a better person, but those are things that are a lifelong journey, it’s a process of transformation, not something to force or change all at once. Far too often, resolutions are only to be abandoned when all the energy is gone and we’re left feeling weak and weary from putting too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. We then give in and give up, leaving those items on the list until the following year when we pick it up again.

Try and fail.

Changes in life happen one step at a time, not all at once, and I, personally, believe this is the downfall of resolutions. It’s too much pressure all at once, we bog ourselves down with too much to handle until we give up, and berate ourselves that we couldn’t follow through.

This is where patience and understanding for ourselves come in. We have to be willing to relax and give ourselves a break, taking one step at a time, not trying to take them all at once. It’s no wonder we get so discouraged and burnt out by the end of the year!

So I suppose I do like resolutions in the sense of having a direction to move in.

I do have goals and a to-do list for the year. I used to make monthly goals. They worked quite well for me and I loved seeing one item being checked off the list at a time, ending each month with a burst of encouragement that all things were possible.

One step at a time, an ebb and flow that allowed me to take a deep breath, knowing fully well that all my tasks were completed, or would be on time, and if not, could be easily transferred without much harm dome. Each month, I would start off fresh with a clean slate.

Somehow, in the chaos of moving, I dropped this habit. And I’ve felt somewhat directionless ever since. There are some things I’ve been meaning to do that require uninterrupted time, time without travels and visits, time alone and to myself, where my mind is clear and free to wonder wherever it may wish.

My intention was to begin my goals again after the holidays. That is still my intent. I’ve made a master list, then I will go and once again create specifics for each month, one at a time.

I noticed something different though.

When I first sat down to write out my goals, I had a list of mundane, boring things, that honestly, were rather self-absorbed and shallow. They didn’t quite hit on what I wanted, but they came close enough, and from the outside, I would appear successful if I were to check off each one.

Something was wrong with this picture.

I realized that I needed to get to the core and the heart of the issue. If I am to actually complete my goals this year, I have to be accurate in my motivation. In order to do that, I would have to break down the things that I wanted, and why.

The why is one of the most important things, and, often, one of the most challenging things to deduce. One thing leads to another, and deeper and deeper it goes.

But what was my underlying motivation? What was at the heart and soul of these things that I thought I needed?

That is what I was determined to find out. And so, I tried again.

I made a list of all my basic goals, and realized that they weren’t as bad as it had originally seemed. Sure, there were still some mundane things, but they weren’t all like that. Once I had that list (a very long one, I might add), I needed to break it down. Common themes, the motivation behind wanting each particular thing that I wanted.

What did I find? At the root of it all, it comes down to purpose. I want purpose, I want inspiration, I want to be a light and inspiration to others, and I want to be inspired. I want to be a support and encouragement to others, and I want that field of positivity to surround me.

I want to be a light. Not only to cast out the darkness in my own life, but to shine bright in others’ lives as well.

I don’t want to be perfect by the world’s standards. I want to be perfect by God’s standards. And He’s in the process of making me complete. I have a very long way to go, but I’m taking it one step at a time. And with this, comes accepting a transformation rather than a sudden change, being patient through the growing process, and having some directions to head in, rather than a strict list of things I must do.

This journey is such a blessing, such a gift. I want to use it wisely.

How do you feel about New Year’s resolutions? Are they something you keep, or do you have another method? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Dear Monday

Oh Monday, it seems that no matter how many weeks go by, you’re always the one to have to start it off. It must be exhausting! To always take the lead, to be the one that people dread. And yet, you carry more opportunity than all the other days combined. You set the tone for the week ahead, you lead and carry the other days.

I’d say you’re the most unappreciated day, and yet you always remain constant. Like the tortoise racing the hare, you dust yourself off, and you try again, one slow and steady step at a time, always moving forward, propelling the week ahead. Your patience is unparalleled. Your persistence ever showing.

There’s so much I could learn from you, dear Monday. You never give up, no matter the opposition. You show up anyway, fully real and authentically you. You never complain about the task ahead, you never shrink beneath the weight of attack. You never give in to the bitterness around you. You stand strong, ever constant, a faithful catalyst, launching even your haters into unfathomable potential.

You may be overlooked, despised even, but I see you, dear Monday, and the impact you leave. Ever humble, and I thank you for your precious gift, a new beginning once again.

Coming Up For Air

For so much of my life I’ve felt like I’m drowning. Fear, anxiety, depression… All things that have come and gone, and some have grown worse over time. There’s something about the idea of a new year that feels like a reset. We have a new year, a blank slate, and we can make it whatever we want it to be.

I’m finally coming up for air. I feel hopeful about the future, but I haven’t broken through the surface yet, so there’s still that subtle fear that I’ll never taste that sweet air again. But I know that God has plans for me, for my future, even when I can’t always see it. I’m apprehensive, but hopeful.

I was surprised with how quickly 2017 rushed by, so many things happened, so many changes, yet so many things still seemed to stay the same. New years always bring fresh surprises and perspectives. I’m excited to see what this one brings.

How are you feeling about the new year? I’d love to hear from you! 🙂