Every time that I write here these days, I feel like I am saying the same things. “I’m sorry.” “Will write more soon.” “It’s just that life is so hard, so demanding at times.”
But this is not always true.
“I’m back…for now…maybe.”
But this isn’t always true either.
This is what I hear in my head when I write here. But maybe I don’t say these things at all. It’s just that every time I come to write here, I feel these things. Every day, I feel these things about this blog and about writing here.
For five years, blogging has been like my other digital plant, the one I over-watered in the beginning, under-watered in the middle, and outright neglected and loved and neglected again in the end, or not the end but right now. Every day, this plant (since my blog is always metaphorical in my head) needs more watering. It needs to bear some fruit. The soil feels dry and the leaves are browning. But before they brown, I write something unplanned, usually like this. Or when I don’t write, I usually do something visual. I change a header. I change a font. I change something to make it easier to not feel guilty about what I am or am not doing with this plant that could grow but won’t grow because I don’t water or love on it nearly enough. But I still do water it some, love it some, still after all these years.
I once had a friend at my first professional job who took lunch breaks with me every day. We were just out of college and ambitious and overly confident in who we thought we were back then. So these lunches were always so serious, long (usually over two hours), and memorable. One lunch break, we were walking down 7th street in DC and talking about how people in our generation should learn to stick to things. “Yeah, exactly, if like they just committed to a job instead of looking for a new one every five seconds, they’d grow.” And “Yeah, exactly! Can you imagine what would happen if we changed…if people in our generation just paused and learned to enjoy and grow where they are right now?”
We both left that job five months later. Onward and upward.
The older I get, the more children I have, the more I try to make it a point, however, to do what I once said people like me should do more of.
I sit still. I focus on growing in one thing before moving on to my next thing. Motherhood is my thing that I’m sitting in right now. It’s a chair that demands so much that I’ve learned so much in sitting there, or here. I’ve learned to sit in all things, especially in my writings.
I used to be in such a rush to publish, publish, publish. Faster, faster, faster. Now, I take my time. I start an essay or article and unless I have a really good reason to leave, I stay there. I keep writing until I’m done. Getting “done” is always hard for me because 9.8 times out of 10 , I have no idea what I think until I really start writing. Or usually I think I do know what I think. And then I’ll start writing and realize how much of what I think I think is usually not what I really think at all.
I think we all have these things in our head about why we do the things we do, why we think what we think. We all tell ourselves different variations of our truths not because we mean to but because it’s far more easier to do so.
It’s far more easy to reflexively say when asked “I know who I am! I know what I believe!” It’s far more difficult not to do these things.
It’s far more difficult to come to terms with the idea that usually we don’t know why we do the things we do. Usually we don’t know what we believe until we really confront what we believe, learn to be critical of it, and then come to terms with what really remains after that. This kind of work is hard. This work comes with age. This work takes time.
But it’s worthwhile.
It’s worthwhile to be critical of yourself, to practice being a spectator of your thoughts and ideas and decide that rather than being “right” in your head, you just want to be close to “the truth,” or what really resonates in your heart.
Writing isn’t spiritual, or it isn’t intentionally that way for me. But sometimes I get there, or to my truths, through writing.
When writing, to get there, this is what I do: I write until I read what I’ve written and can breathe new air. That’s when I know I’m done.
And when I’m done, it’s like I’ve finished a meal of steak and potatoes. I don’t eat steak and potatoes. I mean, I have eaten a steak. And I have eaten potatoes. But never together in one meal have I eaten steak and potatoes. But when Americans talk about steak and potatoes they talk about getting full, feeling satisfied, wanting nothing more. I think. Right? Yes, for the sake of this post let’s assume that steak and potatoes does that for Americans. Well, when I write I get to the place when I’m really, really, really finished. But I don’t feel bloated in the way I imagine red meat and starch would do, so maybe that metaphor isn’t apt . When I really write what’s within, I feel most human, most myself.
Once I’m there, then I can use brain energy on new things.
I was stuck in an essay last week (or really for the past months). But I’m close to getting “there” with it. I can smell the new air. And this is why I am writing this today.
So, until next time.
Love, Jessica ♥