While I wait for questions to roll in from my post on Tuesday, I thought I would share a little of what's been going on in my personal world. I'm not sure I can tie it into writing much without sounding like a broken
record cliché from the last years or so. ("Hey life happens, folks. But you have to write. But you have to be kind to yourself. But not TOO kind. But not too mean. But kick your ass. But gently….)
One thing about the anxiety that came up for me after cancer and surgery was that I had a hard time being still with my thoughts. I was restless and had trouble concentrating on anything. For months afterwards, I really wanted to keep busy. I couldn't sit still (I would just lose concentration and start thinking about things I was anxious about if I tried), and I would dread being alone. So I was antsy, and mostly kept trying to keep busy.
Somewhere in there I started planning little trips.
They weren't big vacations. A road trip here. A couple of days there. One planned a couple of months ago. One in the works since winter. One that wouldn't have been possible because of a train trip but then suddenly was when the trains went on strike. One practically a 17 hour (each way) road trip on a lark.
And because I wasn't paying attention to where I was putting the short trips compared to the trips that had been on the calendar for a lot longer, suddenly I had four trips lined up almost back to back in the span of about three weeks.
If that weren't enough, somewhere in there, we lost a hamster. Which….like okay it's a hamster. But for the five and eleven year old, this is some of the biggest grief they've had to contend with. The feels were big and the impact wasn't easy.
Maybe the worst part is that right before these trips started happening, I felt a shift in the anxiety. Like I know I'm not all better or done with my mental health journey or anything pollyanna like that, but I definitely felt like I was a little more comfortable in my own skin and could probably sit with my thoughts a little better and didn't need every moment of every day to be a distraction from the thoughts that would creep into my head if I dared to slow down.
So there I am in a better headspace, and just a little better able to process and maybe starting to confront that I don't even particularly ENJOY having every moment filled up with socialization, and I have four trips out of town planned. (And though I wouldn't know it until I was half way through them, a very emotional funeral was going to be happening in there too.)
It's been a weird month—nourishing and rejuvenating in many ways—but also stressful in others and a difficult schedule to carve a writing routine out of. I've had to keep reminding myself that not every day is going to be ten pages on the work in progress and promises to all my patrons, but at the same time, I've tried to keep writing a little something every day so that my skills didn't get too rusty.