Hi. Remember me?
Needless to say, it has been quite a while. I fell off the writing wagon quite a while ago. First, it was because I was so blissfully happy with James that we couldn’t get enough of each other, and every single spare minute was devoted to basking in that glow. Then, it was because things started getting hard and I was so confused and overwhelmed, I didn’t even know how to write about it. Then, finally, life got so busy and full that there didn’t seem to be enough time or energy to devote to writing. It, along with my yoga practice, faded away and became a silent part of an earlier chapter in my life.
I now earn a living being creative. I have a 3o-hour-per-week job doing marketing and communications, plus I do freelance writing and website development another 10 or so hours per week. I no longer need a creative outlet. I spend my days — all day, every day — being creative. In fact, all these creative outputs contributed to a bit of creativity fatigue that fed my ambivalence about blog writing.
But I missed my blog and the outlet it provided. I have always missed it. I never felt that it was over or considered pulling it down. This is the only writing that I do entirely for myself. The memoir I wrote and revised for hours was ultimately for an audience. As is the novel I’ve outlined and started. This, and only this, is purely for me and you. Not for a publisher or an agent or a client or a boss. Just some words here, in my little corner of the internet, where we can connect and explore the mundane and profound.
Oh, have I missed it.
Many times I have written whole posts in my head but not quite found the time to put them to the screen. However, inspired by Oh Jenni (once again), I am picking up my laptop and dedicating myself to getting back in the writing groove again. The 30 Days of Truth Challenge is a great way to do it. I’m a day behind Jenni, so this is just my Day 1. I’m rusty, I know, but hopefully you’ll bear with me as I rediscover my groove and my voice. And don’t worry… I’ll be sure to bring you all up-to-date with the ever evolving soap opera that passes for my life. But you might be disappointed; things are much quieter these days.
But I digress…
Day 1: Something You Hate About Yourself.
Boy, whomever created this challenge didn’t start easy, did they?
I spent the day contemplating this question in the back of my mind and then the answer was suddenly so clear to me: the thing I dislike most about myself (hate is frankly too strong a word) is that I don’t know. I don’t have a solid, tangible sense of who I am. My sense of self feels ephemeral, gossamer, translucent. What I think of myself, how I think of myself, what I see of me, seems to come and go, fade in and out, with the kind of fluttering inconsistency of fog at sunrise or clouds sweeping a windy sky.
I understand and appreciate the psycho-babble that answers the question of why I am this way, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating or strange. So much of the time, in between rare moments of grounded certainty, I feel like I exist only as a mirror of other people’s ideas about me. I fumble to sketch the basic outlines of who I am and end up with nothing but eraser marks and ripped paper.
I’m not talking about knowing what I believe in; that I know. I know what my values are and what my feelings are. What I do not know is what I am. I know what people say about me — the good and the bad — but I have a terrible time discerning the truth within those accusations and accolades. I don’t seem to have the ability to hear these things and simply know whether I agree with them or not. I have observed people my whole life and seen how most people do this constantly and usually without much thought. But not me. It takes endless hours of journaling to sift through what is their stuff, what are their projections, and what are more evidence-based critiques of me, and finally determine what I think about their thoughts of me. Do I agree with them or do I think their assessment is just plain wrong?
Look, I know that too much belly-button gazing is often worse than too little, and I know that life is a long journey of self-discovery, but it seems to me that, having reached the other side of “middle age” at 47, I should have a better and more immediate grasp of my identity.
And truly, not having a grounded sense of who you are and (perhaps even more importantly) who you aren’t, makes it all too easy for other people to project onto you their own ideas of who you are. It’s as if you are simply a green screen onto which they projec their images of who and what you are, without any resistance from you. After all, if you aren’t sure whether you are bossy or incompetent or inspirational or kind, how do you know whether their projected images are true? Or is truth merely relative in this context? Perhaps the old psychological theory about there being three “real” identities for each person — Me, Myself, and I — is actual and factual and the only real “truth” is that we there isn’t only one truth to be divined about who each of us is.
Has your head exploded yet? Because mine is starting to hurt.
Anyway, I really, really, really dislike this about myself, and I am chronically envious of pretty much everyone else in the world, who don’t seem to struggle to figure out who and what they are.
It’s okay if none of this makes any sense to you. That just means that you’re one of the people I envy.
See you tomorrow for Day 2.