My life has been some crazy out of control beast for the last year or so. Things have flown at me that I have had no control over, so I have had to stop what I was doing, and deal with it.
This is normal for most of us, especially when we have kids, or older parents. The difficulty I have found is trying to get some balance with what I would like to do (the things that make me sing and dance and just feel generally ace about myself), and getting on with the necessities (caring for people who need me to).
And I’ll be honest. My balance is way out of whack.
So I’ve been trying to sort it out, to get my write back. And in the midst of all this some super writers who are also super friends have been smashing it with residencies, awards and publishing deals.
It is so easy to get caught in the woe-is-me thing and be all jealous and green eyed. What is harder is to remind myself that this is their time. Mine is not now. Mine is when my life resembles something a little more normal. Even knowing this, it is hard not be eaten up by the green monster each time I hear of another friend’s accomplishments.
It is a conscious thing that I have to fight. I have to actively pull myself back up from the slumpy stupor (why not me, why can’t this be happening to me) and first of all celebrate them. All of them are so incredibly deserving. They’ve been working at their craft fastidiously and are wonderful writers. Then I need to excuse myself from this ridiculous expectation that I have put on myself; I can’t do it all and now is not my time.
So to help me with this I am stealing back time bit by bit and reminding my brain what it needs to do: create.
Now six months down the track of the intense treatment program for one of my sons, and just over a year since Mum died, it is time to remember who I am. I’ve taken up piano lessons, in jazz, to challenge my creativity and invest in my cognitive flexibility (I was trained classically with the flute and find playing jazz is like jumping off into the abyss). I am also writing three pages – of crap mostly – every day again to invest in my writing discipline.
The other thing I’m doing (which I now understand a heap of people seemed to know that this was an essential part of life) is self care.
I’ve got to this point with the great help from a wonderful psychologist and support from some very generous and loving friends. I’m coming to understand that self care is something that needs to be done every day and that it doesn’t have to be an enormous thing, it can be quite small. It’s three weeks now since I last saw her, and after that appointment I made a commitment to myself to tackle 28 days of self care (at which point I will be sitting in her office again). Being a listy kind of person I made a list of 28 ideas to help me through. It includes some pretty minor things like sleeping in, saying no to things I don’t want to do or go out to lunch with a friend, but these are big to me at this stage.
It’s working. I’m feeling more like myself. I’m still scared to open my manuscript that I finished last November in case it really is crap, but I’m getting closer. And I’m writing, gaining my confidence back.
In the meantime, here’s to my brilliant friends and their wonderful accomplishments.