Hi Mom (A post from the archives)

It’s almost five years since I wrote this and posted it at my other blog.  In  many ways I feel like I am still stuck in the same place. But I also know that I have  made progress in my journey toward wholeness.

When I wrote the post below, I had recently turned 50. In a few weeks, I’ll be 55. Kind of a milestone birthday, one that is arbitrarily dictated by society, but a milestone nonetheless. I am still learning to accept myself as I am.

You could get away with calling me a navel gazer. It’s true. But I believe my introspection helps me to be a better person, which directly accrues to the benefit of my family. That’s really good. And it keeps my belly button lint free.


I’m fifty.

I’m sitting here today having such a hard time doing anything productive. I’m doing a lot of thinking when I really want to be doing. I’m supposed to be writing a book, but I’ve just been thinking about it all day long. Thinking about how unqualified I am. Thinking about how I don’t have enough material. Printing out all the writing I’ve done over the last 15 years to prove to myself I can write 50,000 words for a book. Not believing it. Not buying it. Checking my email, checking my Facebook; checking anything else I can think of to avoid having to write something because I’m so damned afraid and why? Why am I afraid?

Someone said, “life sucks and then you die”. And it’s not really like that; my life hasn’t sucked, but there are elements of it that are disappointing. Kids don’t stay kids. They’re not supposed to, but it hurts when they leave. Youth goes away; whether it is your child or your body. And sometimes, when it is a rainy day and there’s no sun to warm your head, you start to wonder if any of it is worth it. And this is not a good thing to be wondering when you have a book to write that is supposed to encourage, enlighten, and motivate people by the dozens. Or more.

So you reach out to a group of people who are writing books too and you share your insecurity and you get back a comment or two that just make you feel more shitty. And you think, well, should you have expected any different? And it is ok. But you delete your reaching out post and try not to feel inferior all day. And the Mac tells you every hour that it is another hour later in the day and you haven’t done anything yet of value. You wonder what the heck is wrong with you, why can’t you live in the positivity and flow with optimism and… what do you really believe anyway? Maybe, you start to think, maybe the reason you can’t write anything is because you’re trying to be something you’re not. Maybe you’re trying to be all Eckhart Tolle in an effort not to be John Hagee. But maybe you’re somewhere in between and maybe you need to just be that. And maybe it has been far too long since you were just you.

So, hi mom. I just wanted to write you a letter and tell you that I understand how you must have felt. I’m about the same age as you were when all the shit of your life hit the fan and I want you to know that I know how it feels to be this age and to feel like you’ve done some things you wish you could undo. I know what it feels like to struggle with things that you can’t seem to shake. I know how it feels to start feeling the wrinkles and the dry skin and the hips and hurting feet. Oh, and I know how it feels to have teenagers and big flashing billboards flashing in your face about how you failed here, and there, and there. I just wanted to tell you that I understand it must have been supremely difficult. My husband didn’t leave me like yours did. On top of everything else, you had to try and live through that. And I get it. It was really just too hard. I just wanted to tell you that it is ok, I’m not mad at you and I understand. And I love you. Wish we could have coffee together some time.

 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Do you want a breakthrough in your writing work?

I sure do. I got one this morning. It feels so good to just let the words flow with nothing hindering. What worked for me this time? I think there are a couple of ingredients in this soup.

First, I’ve been working hard on allowing myself to write imperfectly. Normally my inner critic/editor is right there with me, reading as I write, constantly interrupting me with her opinions and directives. This is maddening and makes me give up more than anything else. I’ve been in talks with her to convince her to allow me to just get it all written and then I will hand the project over to her. She doesn’t really want to do all of her editing and criticizing at once. She’s a bit low energy like me and prefers to do it a little bit at a time in real time. But for now she has agreed to step aside. This really helps me to let down my guard and just write.

Second, I’m taking off the masks. I’m not trying to “be good” at what I am doing or make it sound like any certain “good writer” that I’ve read. I am not trying to do it like Jeannette Walls or Ann Lamott or Cheryl Strayed or even Elizabeth Gilbert. I’m going to do it like ME and I don’t care if it doesn’t look the same or look like what a memoir is “supposed” to look like. There’s no law. So I am committing to a.) being myself, right to the bone, and b.) telling the truth, as impoverished as I may think it is. I never made anything up but I did try to make it sound a certain way. Not doing that anymore.

The result? This morning I sat down and poured out 1000 words and could have gone longer but I wanted to get a blog post in before it is time to take coffee to my man. It feels so good. I hope it lasts this time.

What do you do to get the words flowing? Do you ever struggle with your inner critic?

Photo by Alexa Mazzarello on Unsplash