On April 27th, I lost my father. It’s a deep sadness that I’ve only experienced once before when my grandmother passed, but this feels heavier and more profound. I always knew my father’s time was limited and his passing would come. I didn’t expect it to be so sudden.
I noticed that writing on paper, besides my messy handwriting, there is less pressure to get each and every word just right. That burden of making every word just right is nothing more than a form of perfectionism, which is why many writers fail to achieve goals. Typing to get every word right was an unconscious block for making progress. With handwriting, I’m also pushing past the urge to rewrite what I worked on the day before. It’s Newton’s law of motion – consciously moving my hand and thoughts forward keeps me moving forward.
Besides family, Christmas, and time off from work/school, I love this time to curl up in front of the tree and write. Christmastime always gifts me with creativity. It’s often the last of the year rush to get more words released like I’m making up for procrastination days or, in this case, writing days lost to COVID. It could be simply the warmth of the house from all the decorations. Whatever it is, I have a fountain of creativity flowing, and each year, I am more determined not to let the busyness of work and life take precedence over my writing.
As I regain my health, I am more aware of just how much I NEED my writing to become more than a hobby; therefore, I choose my life’s purpose over “getting by.” After all, whatever makes you happy is not a waste of time.
Building a mental health toolbox requires understanding how and why anxiety happens in the body. I recently learned about “leaning” into the pain and accepting that my body is sounding an alarm. It’s crying for attention. All the old habits and the physical pain stored deep in our cells comes to the surface in the form of anxiety and panic. My journey is not over; just my medical leave is over. And without ruminating about what “might be” or “could be” in the future, which is not real because it hasn’t happened yet, I am learning to be present, and I’m learning to be a defender of my mental and physical health first, even if that means redefining my life.
Breaking cycles is hard work. Anytime we decide to change, we must go through growing pains before the transformation can happen. This transformation process will leave you physically, emotionally, and spiritually spent. But, be confident and know that you are doing the work many refuse to do. Why? Because, peace begins with you.
Hell, most of the time I was never tall enough to ride the rollercoasters, but I did try a few and it was enough to know that it wasn’t for me. Right now in my life, this journey of battling anxiety with panic disorder is one big rollercoaster ride and I want off.
The healing process is a tug of war with my ego. My body and mind have been on a steady decline of brokenness and my ego kept me going for all the wrong reasons. So while the breakdown was slow, my ego expects a quick fix. Relearning how to be in rest is challenging but for a nervous system that is on hyperdrive, rest is necessary.
At some point in your writing journey, you may experience getting stuck in the middle of your story. It feels slow. It feels like you are walking through the heavy waters of the ocean. Remember it’s only temporary.
“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. Whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Whatever it is that you want to see changed in yourself or the world, YOU have the power to make a positive difference. […]
I want to keep this short as most people are feeling burnt out, exhausted, or are in some sort of phase of COVID. My thoughts are with you. My gratitude is with you. Thank you. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your understanding as I switched careers this last year and neglected this […]
In my classroom, disagreements come with rules because for them, it needs to be a place of trust. After all, they are still learning, despite them thinking they don’t English classes in high school. It’s a promise I make to them on day 1 of school and it takes time to build the trust but when it’s there, students trust me to keep debates and disagreements free from judgement, free from name calling, free from bullying, free from all the nastiness. At the end of those discussions I remind them that this rarely happens online. It’s not meant to be a scare tactic, it’s meant to protect them from the lawlessness of the online world.
The number one way readers judge characters is by how much they change. Do they change, or are they static? Most characters must change, especially the main character, but what about others characters in a story? Do they all change? No matter how slight of a shift, all characters should change. If they don’t, they risk not being in the story.
Static characters got me thinking about writing and writing habits. Has your writing changed over these last few years? Have your habits remained static? Is the thought of writing word after word too heavy? If so, how do we push or pull ourselves out of this rut? We must start by being honest.