Leo Babauta asks: What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
I used to be vivacious for life.
Yes, I still have moments where fragments of the old me glimmer. But by and large I struggle every day to find the passion that once belonged to me. I play hide-and-seek for words I sense are there, but are buried beneath the rubble that crumbles when you experience significant loss.
A writer was what I wanted to be. That was the plan. To move back to the East coast and write for a travel magazine. To see the world and meet its people and write all about them. To write about the way they live and breathe and how we’re all connected across boundaries and boarders. How despite differences of race and religion and and socio-economic background, at the heart of this world population, there is humanity and love and goodness. How we can affect each other and teach each other and can be irrevocably changed because we met one particular person on one particular day, even if only for twenty minutes.
But my path took a different turn. A turn I know was meant to be. A turn I am grateful for.
It was important–what I did. I worked. I learned. I grew. And somewhere along the way it became the thing that defined me. Probably in a prideful way, perhaps. I liked answering, “Director of Marketing,” when asked, “So what do you do?” Yes. I was proud. And it’s where all energy went, both given and stolen. And since there was nothing else, that was fine.
Until I lost it.
And then I had nothing.
No answer for, “So, what do you do?”
I pretended like it was fine. Like it didn’t affect me. Grief: Stage 1, I now know. I dove right back into life, without acknowledging the near drowning I’d experienced the day before. Because that’s what I do. I keep the pieces together. For myself. For my family. For the people around me. I don’t have the luxury of falling apart. I’m the one who keeps it together. And puts it back together when it breaks.
But the pain and the anger and the confusion kept knocking. And I found it easier to sleep a little longer, mindlessly browse the web, or watch Hulu from 9 to 5, than to acknowledge what I was feeling. Avoidance disguised as distractions. And with it, the words disappeared.
I felt like I had nothing to say. Sometimes I still feel that way.
But here’s the thing. Despite the flatness I feel, deep down I still know.
I’m a writer.
I’ll always be a writer.
The words–I can feel them, pushing past the dust. Reaching out and up from the depths of me. Slowly simmering into a rolling boil.
The distractions are losing their hold and avoidance is no longer easy.
I am a writer. And I have a story to tell.
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