I’ve struggled with writing for some time now, beaten back by fatigue, depression, and that damned autocorrect. Occasionally I think to myself – hey, why not just give it up? You’ve given it your best try. You’ve sent things out, you’ve been rebuffed and rewarded about equally – surely that’s enough for now.
I’ve given up other things. Big things. Once I gave up my marriage. Other times I’ve given up friends, romances, volunteer responsibilities, pets, even tickets to an Elton John/Billy Joel concert (though I was glad I gave them to one of my best friends ever).
I’ve got a virtual room full of hangers-on that demand I give them up and move on – odd dust bunnies of objects, a piece of my heart, chunks of things I love but realize aren’t good for me, like far too much chocolate…
And yet there are other things I stick with. I am going to the gym three times a week, despite the exhaustion this causes my MS and despite the lack of any recognizable change in my form. I follow religion in my own wobbly way, despite questions and the everlasting silence from above (which is, I suppose, better than malevolent laughter). I’m persisting in learning to play the ukulele, in learning to felt and knit and make things. I keep on trying to write, even when it doesn’t come.
This week I started to wonder why I continue to work at some things, and not others, and I think it comes down to this – I persist with the things that make me feel better inside. The things that fit with my inner ethical self, my inner creative self, the self I think I am supposed to be. The things that seem congruent.
When I left my marriage, I left because I was becoming someone I didn’t want to be. It wasn’t so much about my ex as it was about how I behaved when I was with him. The other things I’ve left for similar reasons. I didn’t like who they made me be.
I continue to write because I see the world better when I write – I am more observant as I seek words to describe my environment, I treasure others’ writing more, I wallow in words. I feel more interesting, diverse, mentally strong.
I exercise because my lungs feel open, my back is straighter, my joints move more smoothly. And even though I have to stagger off the machines as my MS makes its presence noted, for a few moments I feel normal again.
I guess, as I grow up, I am trying to fit things into the internal picture I have of myself at my best. I’m not there yet. I still have bumpy protuberances poking out of my ethical self, my self self. I still have some pruning and shaping to do.
But I’m not pruning the writing. The truth is in there. Or under there. Somewhere.
PS: CL – I’m not giving up on you. Ever.