I've been doing a lot of re-prioritizing lately. Having a 40-50 hour chunk taken out of your week causes a lot of rearrangement. Of course my family gets the largest chunk of my remaining free time. Today I found myself frantically hovering over Cal when he was clearly happy to be playing on his own, because I felt like I had to give him every second of my non-working time.
I've always been someone who has a lot of hobbies and interests. I love to read, play the piano, work on photo books, write, blog, take free college courses on the internet, spend time with friends. And to me, especially in the last free-time filled year that I've had, those things have come to feel like necessities. I am such a planning oriented person that every little activity found a space on my to-do list and burrowed its way in until it no longer felt like fun, but like an obligation.
The last week, I've had to let several of those things go. It's actually been easier than I thought it would be -- I look at something on my list and realize, "That's not going to happen," and off it goes into the atmosphere like a balloon. Studying Italian daily. Writing in my book blog (although I haven't given that one up all the way). Exercising for 90 minutes a day. Making everything from scratch. Up, up, up and away.
I also thought that writing was going to have to go. Writing for me often seems like an unproductive activity. While I'd love to get published, I don't have the time to make the edits and revisions necessary to put it anywhere pretty. Also, I often feel stuck between the feeling that I should edit myself into a mold-fitting, perky blogger dishing out the Anthropologie-wearing, gourmet-dinner-cooking, perfect life that we all wish we had, and the desire to get it all out there, the good, the bad, and the ugly, so that I'm left feeling cleaned out and refreshed. I've never been good at happy mediums. I'm an intense, all-or-nothing person, which is usually to my detriment.
Here's the thing, though. I was reading the blog of a friend today, and she is so refreshingly open and honest. She has been through some brutal struggles, and she has turned them into something beautiful, and something that she shares. And I think about all the times that I have felt left out and alone, wishing I had a friend that would confide in me and trust me with who they are and what they've experienced. When I have a conversation like that, I feel so grateful to have a connection with someone else, to learn from them and share with them. Also, so many of my burdens have been lightened by sharing them with someone else, by knowing someone else walked that path. I'd so much rather be connected than invulnerable.
The problem is that sometimes I am paralyzed by others' judgments. To clarify, I am paralyzed by what I imagine others' judgments to be, which is probably much harsher than what they actually are.
But here's the thing. That drive to keep writing never goes away for me. That drive to tell my truth, to share my experiences, to open up and be real. And being a writer isn't about being comfortably cloistered away; it is about speaking uncomfortable truths. Even if I'm the only one reading them and I'm the only one who is uncomfortable.
This has gotten long-winded and I've veered from the point. The point is: I need to get real. (Cliche phrase, but there's a reason that cliches become cliches -- they express something succinctly and perfectly). There are private things that belong in my journal and stay there, of course, but I also think it is important to express and share, and because writing is a main way that I do that, it is going to be happening here. So, yeah. That.