Ah. Writing. I feel better when I do it. . . I feel conflicted when I don't. . . It requires a certain amount of mental clarity to accomplish anything satisfying. . . Yet, when I do write, it is the best way to gain the mental clarity I need. It's such a “Catch 22,” really. Ugh.
Overall, though, I am thankful for my ability to write. (Thankful #1) I am not great writer or author, but at least I don't completely suck at it. . . It seems, more often than not, when I seek to get a point across through written word, my objective is met. Whether academic, therapeutic, or recreational, writing comes relatively easy to me. . . (Thankful #2) I can only imagine what I could do with it if I actually put forth a tremendous effort, ya know?
So, earlier this week, the handsome husband & I broke down & got new cell phones. (Thankful #3) It's been well over two years since I bought him his last phone (a Samsung Galaxy S3) & I acquired my last (a Samsung Galaxy S2) nearly a year before that. We've been out-of-contract & biding our time for quite some time. But, lately, both of our phones have been more frustrating than anything else, bogging down when they should be lightning quick. You know, when you pay so much for a service, you kind of need to have a device that is capable of giving you the full effects of the service you're paying for. . . So, we upgraded to Samsung Galaxy S6s. While I am a little sickened at how expensive a damn cell phone is, overall, I am relieved to have it. We do rely on our cell phones for a lot of things & I have kept my phone number local for my grandmother, who still only has a land-line that will charge her extra for long-distance calls. It makes me happy to be able to do that. (Thankful #4)
While fiddling around with my new cell phone, I took a few “selfies,” trying out a new feature on the S6 that makes it easier to take a forward-facing photo. On a whim, I posted this photo on my personal Facebook page with a caption that read:
So, I am not usually one for “selfies” (& I am sure I do not have to go into the specifics of why), but the handsome husband & I broke down & got new phones the other day. Isn't there some unwritten rule that you must post the result of getting acquainted with your new camera functions? Oh. There isn't? Could've fooled me… 😉 LOL
(But seriously, this camera IS kinda neat.)
I really cannot stand taking photos of myself, so I am not certain why I went ahead & actually posted this one. . . (I just feel fat & gross & worn out & assume I must look that way too, I guess?) But, I do have to admit, despite the wild hair & cosmetics-free chubby face, I was pleasantly surprised to get a good handful of “likes” & positive comments from my Facebook friends. (Thankful #5) They were surprisingly comforting & empowering, I guess? I don't know. It felt good. . .
One comment stood out the most, though. It simply said, “Miss you. You always have a way of putting a smile on every face. You should be a writer…seriously.”
Insta-smile. Activate feel-goods.
LOL. But, seriously.
I know it's just one person's opinion. . . But, it's an awfully nice opinion & I am glad it was shared. (Thankful #6) It is amazing how such a simple gesture can be such a HUGE reminder that how we view ourselves is not necessarily how others view us. It confirms that I am my own worst critic. I am not sure anyone else could be as nasty towards me as I can be. The Bitch is debilitating. I need to work on that.
“You should be a writer…seriously.”
Also a tremendous compliment, to which, all I could say was, “if I knew I couldn't fail, being a writer would be one of my aspirations. . .” It is true. But, writing well requires a certain amount of creativity & vulnerability that I find difficult. I know I already write a lot about very personal things on this blog. . . .But, it is done in a very casual way. . . There is a reason I model most of my posts like journal or diary entries — it makes it easier to talk about some of the “heavier” (or sillier) stuff.
BUT, if it were anyone but me, I would respond to my comment by saying that I should pursue it anyway. So what if you fail? So what if the results aren't as fabulous as you could hope? If it brings you joy, why is it not a higher priority in your life? Life is too short to cower in fear.
The statement, “if I knew I couldn't fail, being a writer would be one of my aspirations” might as well say “I don't write more because I am afraid I would fail at it.” Epiphany. Damn. It hit me pretty hard. Such a simple thing. . . but so powerful. . . & I doubt the person that made that seemingly innocent Facebook comment even realizes the impact it had. I am grateful, though. Seriously, I am. (Thankful #7) It is pretty cool how that works sometimes. . .
So, I felt empowered. I pulled up my fiction work-in-progress & did a bit of research & pre-writing. It dawned on me that I was so frustrated with it, not just because of my fears of failure & of being too vulnerable through my writing, but also because I was approaching it wrong for me. (Thankful #8)
In the fiction-writing world, there are what some call “planners” or “pantsers.” Planners outline their stories & line up each scene in the proper sequences. Some are more detailed than others, but the general idea is there. “Pantsers” fly by the seats of their pants. . . They take an idea & just run with it. They start writing & see where they end up. I thought I was a “pantser,” but, as it turns out, I think I am more of a planner. I found the writing process so stressful, I think, because I didn't have a clear-cut plan — just a vague inkling of where it would lead. I need more than that. Huh. So now I know. (Thankful #9)
I am hoping this writing epiphany & confidence-builder leads to some actual consistent activity, especially since I have no academic responsibilities for a while, so I certainly have the time to devote. I've even looked ahead to another one of my favorite blog hops (Two Shoes Tuesday) & have a bit of an idea for a fictional piece to contribute. We'll see if I can pull it together to be able to share. Regardless of what I do with this feeling, it is nice to be reminded that things do not have to be “perfect” to proceed. (Thankful #10)
There are plenty of other things I am thankful for this week, (for example, the handsome husband & I celebrated our second wedding anniversary on Tuesday & it was a pretty amazing day), but here are my ten for now. . . What are YOU thankful for? Tell me in the comments, hit me up on Facebook, or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. When you're done, head over to this week's Ten Things of Thankful blog hop to see what's on the thankful list of others.