A couple of months ago I started to miss writing publicly. It’s been four years since I developed a chronic illness. A few times throughout those four years I attempted to start writing again, and with each new post or submission I’d promise myself that this would be the time I’d get it together and start writing consistently. Each of those time I meant it, and each of those times, that’s not how it went.
What I wanted was out of alignment with what I needed. There have been too many times in my life when my wants and needs butted up against each other and I overrode my needs in order to do (or have) what I wanted. If this is something you only do once in a great while, it’s not so bad. It can even be worth it. When it becomes a way of life, you’re in trouble.
While there’s no way of ever knowing these things for sure, I’d go so far as to say that in my case, not tending to my needs (on every level) for many, many years, probably played a large part in getting sick in the first place. It certainly didn’t help. I was completely leveled for a very long time. I’m still not 100% well, but slowly I’ve been getting better. The better I felt, the more I missed writing.
The reason for the lag between feeling the pull to start writing again and actually doing it had less to do with my physical health at this point than it did with the inertia of perfectionism. For every day that I woke up feeling determined to sit down and write I came up with at least half a dozen reasons for why I couldn’t. So I didn’t.
My excuses and rationalizations ran the gamut from not having anything worth saying after spending two years alone in my bedroom to needing to revamp my blog because it’s ugly and outdated. Oh, and of course, there was the urgent need to declutter my closet and deep-clean my pantry before I could possibly concentrate. The reasons don’t matter, because they’re not fucking real.
The real reason?
Fear of being seen. Fear of being vulnerable and visible. Fear of being criticized. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of not being perfect. Fear of no one reading. Fear of too many people reading. Fear of rejection letters. Fear of pieces being accepted, my words sent out into the world in all directions for anyone and everyone to pick apart. My life being sent out into the world for anyone and everyone to pick apart.
Fear is a normal state to move through, but it’s no place to put down roots and spend your life. I’m back to working on my novel. I’m also plugging away on a couple of essays to submit to various places. I’ve put up a Patreon page, which is where I’ll be doing most of my writing about my health and healing. I’ll also be writing here again.
There will be no perfect offerings, but nonetheless, the offerings will be made. Just me, showing up with what I’ve got.