I have been absent from this space that is most dear to me. This nook in life, where I can steal away under the blanket of thought and expression and open this journal between us, warm and glowing from within the pages. A private sharing of myself with a close friend. It is where I always wanted to be, and yet I let myself be taken away for such a long time. It isn’t because I didn’t want to write, or even because I had no ideas. I had many. But none were ever good enough. Or there was so much research to do before I could really start to write it that I didn’t start at all. Not that everything I have written here has felt especially inspired, but it is easy to get caught in the tumble of wanting the next piece to feel the way Judy and the Universe felt when it was written and lose sight of the importance of simply doing.
This morning I was texting with a friend and was reminded that it was time to put a deadline on something I had been waiting on that was not coming to fruition, and so I did. Just like that, I was struck by how easy it was and how easy it could be to apply the same to myself and get back to writing. How I had been holding on to this thing for so long because I wanted it so badly. Because it had come to me with such promise and in such a beautiful way, it felt destined. How I could continue to want for as long as I allowed myself to, or I could decide it was time to move on. That small moment of resolution rippled through me and moved my hands to write this today. As disappointing as it is when you don’t get something you want, it is exponentially more so when you don’t do the thing you could have, should have, done.
I read somewhere recently about the “impossible task” that is so prevalent in depression. It is almost always a simple, easy thing that one cannot bring themselves to do, no matter how much they may want to. It could be as mundane as taking a shower, sorting the mail or putting away the dishes. It is an irrational paralysis that even the subject cannot explain. They simply cannot complete the task. I think you do not have to be clinically depressed to relate to this. I am, overall, a happy, or at least contented, person, but I have pockets in my life where impossible tasks reside. They show up in my bedroom and my desk. Both spaces are veritable disasters and sources of shame for me. Shame is a very powerful element in my life, for reasons I am still exploring and discovering, to the point that it paralyzes me into doing nothing. This same cycle can translate into anything. Sadly, even dreams and desires.
It feels good to write this. To expose the wound and all it is festering. There really is an alchemy in the doing. The more I write, the more I write, and that is the goal. Malcolm Gladwell uses the 10,000 hours theory in his book “Outliers” to demonstrate the importance of practice in order to become great at something. Thomas Edison was quoted, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work,” and “To have a great idea, have a lot of them.” Which he did. In turn, one of my favorite singer/songwriters is Ryan Adams, who has a prolific catalog, and I can assure you I am not a fan of everything he has ever written. However, he has many, many songs that are just brilliant and have a lifetime home in my regular music rotation. So, maybe today I won’t write my magnum opus, but I will write and let it kindle the fire that I let slow to an ember over the last few months. Then I will write again on Sunday, edit on Monday, write on Tuesday, edit on Wednesday, and on and on and revel in the gentle, consistent fanning of the flames until the next bright spark bursts forth. Create more, better the odds of greatness.
I didn’t intend to start making changes for the New Year. This is not about resolutions that will fall off in two weeks, a month, although I am sure that the turning of the year has probably seeped into my subconscious to give me a timely nudge. And I’m OK with that. I will accept any triggers that bring forth happy and healthy changes.
What is it you are not doing today that you so want to do, friend? Are you envisioning the whole of it and letting the sheer mass consume your drive? Can you break it into smaller pieces? Just start with a paragraph or a text message. A five-minute walk, or just place the bowls in the cupboard. Read the first page. Play the first note. Write the first letter. It’s OK that the carpet needs replacing and the walls repainting. Vacuum the carpet for today. Paint the walls another. Choose one small space, be it physical or mental, and make one small move. I have faith in us.