On Writing, Surviving Stuckness & Living Lighter

Updated: Jul 10


pink flowers in mason jar on window sill with sheer white curtain
Photo Cred: Sixteen Miles Out / Unsplash

I was convinced that I could write my way out of this.

The broke years, inner angst and fear of living. The self-doubt, coping mechanisms and avoidance of success.

At the heart of my existence in this lifetime, I found my greatest fulfillment from writing. Sure, other things brought me Joy. Gardening, style, home deco-ing, yoga . . . I could always get down on a binge-watching marathon of teenage dramas or devour Preston & Child books — but those were superficial loves in comparison to the deep desire I had to create in writing.

I wanted to tell stories with depth and humor. Heartbreaking, embarrassing, 120% relatable tellings fashioned from my own life experiences. There was no doubt in my mind that this was what I was meant for.

I tripped up on tenses and knew I could be so much better. Reveled in writers of all kinds that were more intelligent, full of references from the worldly to the musical. Sometimes I read a book or article and was overcome with inferiority. But I clung to the knowing that there was something there. I had a gift, enough of one to make something of. It wasn’t just in my head. I knew.

That pulled me forward through all the times I’d procrastinated, walked away, quit or felt utterly hopeless. While people had been giving me positive feedback on my writing my whole life, it was a drop in the bucket compared to the belief I had to have in myself in order to keep doing it. All the deepest doubts were from me, about me. Not feeling smart enough was a primary, especially in an industry all about intellect. I was the kid that made it into G.A.T.E., because the teacher saw a creative spark within me — she ignored my scores in math and science so I could have a safe space to expand my mind in ways that typical classes would never provide. It was in that class that I discovered creative writing, and quickly came to know that I wanted to indeed be, a writer. Fast forward a few decades+ and the dream remains the same. I still feel, at the core, not smart enough, worried I’ll never have the business savvy or be able to properly adult like everyone else seems to do so easily.

How have I survived this long?

Then, I’d write, and my fixation on life circumstances and perceived failings melted away. I could be writing about my own stresses, dysfunction, relationships gone to shit, major mess-ups, and it was O-K. Writing released the sting these nasties threatened in my mind. I still feel like a mess, why not write a story about it?


 

The bridge I now wanted to cross as a writer, was solo mission to collaboration. I wanted to work with a team that filled in all the gaps. Eyes on my work that could point out holes and weaknesses that I was too close to — I was bored with chapters of my book I’d combed over hundreds of times, that read dull and flat as a two by four. I was too twined into them to see what they needed in order to be better. I was ready for an agent, publishing deals to weigh, an editor to guide the vision to its greatest . . . I was even ready for promotion — interviews, book tour — sign, me, up! I was nervous and intimidated, but ready.

I’ve heard the consciousness source on manifestation, Abraham Hicks, say that by the time you voice your desires, they’re already 99.9% complete, the universe has wrangled together all the ideal components, your vortex is primed for swift realization. For years, I’d been saying I wanted these “next steps” before I really meant it. The universe was no fool. It wasn’t my time, yet.

When I peer in the rearview, the last five years of my life have been a complete reintegration. Almost all my friendships died off, and the remaining were both unhealthy and unsatisfying, had been for years, but something kept me going back like a moth to flame.

Maybe it’ll be different this time . . . This is what being a good friend means, it’s just what you do . . . We have a history . . .

Same thing for family obligations or side jobs I’d enlist myself for, and immediately resent because the pay sucked and they pulled me away from my real work. It simply wasn’t what I wanted to be doing, and didn’t support a positive momentum in my career, finances or personal well-being — but I kept saying Yes until I was spiraling so bad I couldn’t anymore.

Why?!

For the same reason anyone does anything they don’t want to for another human being — to be liked and maybe even loved. I wanted to be a “good” daughter, friend, Samaritan.


Basically, to not be a dick.

That fear of rejection, disapproval or abandonment kept me engaging with that which left me empty, and oh, so angry.

I put myself in situation after situation that left me drained, scattered, resentful and really fucking frustrated with a life that seemed to be repeating with the familiar drudgery of a Groundhog’s Day loop.

Part of my experience has been rutting in occasional grooves of seeming stuckness. That could last a day or two, months, weeks — back in Las Vegas, where I was born, raised and aching to get out of since, always, I lived for about three years on a loop. Everything slowed down, friendships terminated, I isolated. It was like I was closing off all my options so I had none, other than to leave. Looking back, I see how self-imposed misery isn’t the greatest way to catalyze change, but for Vegas, I needed it. It was the storage epicenter of my longest, darkest history . . . guilt, shame, striving, trauma, inadequacy. My pre-move hibernation came off of years of entrepreneurial pursuit that entirely felt like a big, fat failure, and I was depressed, in need of deep-rest from the character I’d been trying painfully hard to play. On some level, I felt like I had to cling to the suckiness of my life there to punish myself for all the rage I inflicted on others, times I drove blackout drunk or ways I hurt myself, over and over. Right before we moved, I had stomach pains, my legs ached so bad I couldn’t sleep and I generally felt like I was dying. It was like being torn in half, the part of me that wanted to stay stuck in it, and the other half that had already taken flight.


 

Someone told me once, “You’re so much better when you’re writing.” It stuck with me, because it felt true. Even with the doubts that piggybacked writing, I felt more confident, even-keeled and, most of all, fulfilled. I did it for that. The feeling of richness it cultivated within me.

When I’m not writing, I fall prey to tiny annoyances, inner angst, stagnancy and the fridge. I get really wound up by insignificant dramas and feel like all other things are just shiny, frivolous distractions that do a shit job at biding time. And to think, I’ve known since third grade I wanted to be a writer, but for most of that time, I’ve avoided writing. That’s lotsa filler, folks. Sometimes I feel like I’ve wasted so much time, I’ll never catch up to myself. But I don’t respond well to pressure. The lighter I live, writing freely and often, keeping up on life stuff — simplifying, tidying, tending to the physical body, really sinking deep into my Self — How do I truly want to live? — the shorter I weather these rutted periods, and life moves on with purpose and ease. Challenges become exciting, not paralyzingly stressful. Miracles happen. Life gets better.

Maybe as much as I’ve thought I use writing to heal my problems and smooth the tumults of my past that still feel so very real within me at times — to write my way out of it — I’m just as much stepping up, coming around and writing my way into a life I really want to be in.

Boy, I like the sound of that.


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