Ever since I wrote the post “Write it ‘Right’” and Other Reasons to Write last week something surprising has been happening, and I’m not sure it is a good thing.
I’ve been very conscious (if not obsessively so) about my eating, and in general I have done well. Of course, the Superbowl gathering yesterday distracted me with decadent temptations and when I spent the afternoon with a good friend on Saturday I found my hand straying to the potato chips one too many times. However, I am pretty proud of how I’ve been eating, and I am learning about myself with these bumps in the road. So that’s good.
When I’ve had cravings, I’ve written in my journal. I’ve thought about why I want to eat, and why I crave certain foods. I’ve begun to recognize the patterns and flaws as well as the challenges I face. So that’s good.
I’ve exercised every day except Saturday in some form or another. (I intended to on Saturday, it just never happened, but driving burns calories too you know ). I have a plan to incorporate at least 1/2 hour of walking every day. I just got back from a brisk walk where I didn’t hide behind my iPod. I just listened to the rhythm of my feet, the birds, the wind, and my own inner monologue (which isn’t the most pleasant at the moment). It’s hard and scary, but I feel like I can do this. So that’s good.
The first thing I do in the morning is grab my pen and start writing my Morning Pages. I try not to censor myself. I try to be brutally honest. I try to let the words flow, and find the sense of calm that comes from just letting it all out there. It is sometimes a struggle, partially because of distractions (I have to write before Sarah wakes and when the dogs are otherwise occupied) and partially when I hit on something so honest it hurts. But I’m doing it, and learning things, and facing things . . . So that’s good.
I’m sure by now you are wondering “where’s the bad?” The bad lies in the fact that I may be writing, but I don’t feel like I am writing anything worth sharing. I may be creating, but I am not creating anything exciting. I may be doing, but I am not doing anything that feels valid. I am obsessing about food and exercise. I am keeping my journal up-to-date. I am keeping a food log. But I am lost in terms of projects and blogs.
I know, someone is bound to say “You just started, give it time.” And you are right. But I also realize that one of the things I need to overcome to succeed at any of my dreams is my impatience. When the weight does not come off fast enough, I get frustrated and give up. When I was unable to find a publisher for my book, I got frustrated and gave up. When the projects I start seem too hard or intimidating or time-consuming, lately I get frustrated and give up.
I haven’t always been this way. I used to take on a challenge and go! go! go! until it was complete. I finished my complete doctorate in three years including researching and writing my dissertation, as well as planning a wedding and getting married in the middle of it. As part of my graduate assistant-ship I organized a three-day performance festival that reached hundreds of children in the Phoenix area, and while I didn’t do it alone my “boss” was useless and I still pulled it off. I’ve written a book and over 500 blog posts, as well as numerous academic papers and articles. I’ve directed shows and come in under-budget almost every time. I could keep brainstorming the list in this paragraph till it grows unwieldy, but the whole point is that I have not always been the person who gives up.
So why do I feel like I can’t finish anything now? Why do I feel so lost in who and what I am and what I am able to do? Why do I feel like I will eventually, just give up?
I don’t want to give up anymore. I don’t want to be angry at myself anymore. I don’t want to dislike myself anymore.
I want to be happy! This doesn’t mean I need to be rich, or thin, or famous, or anything like that. It simply means that I want to wake up in the morning knowing that I will feel proud at the end of the day. I want to take on projects that feel fulfilling and touch people in positive ways. I want to leave a positive footprint in my life and on this earth. I want to know that I can accomplish any challenges I put to myself. I want to have hope.
That’s a good thing, isn’t it?