The hardest thing has been the psychological effects. On this road to recovery, I have been really revamping my lifestyle. It's something that, looking back, has been a recurring theme of my posts. I had this continual feeling that I was trying to keep pace with my expectations of myself. I had my life mapped out and I knew where I wanted to be and how i wanted it to go.
But nothing happens according to plan and when life hit I think it took awhile for me to catch up to the changes that the last few years wrought.
My writing changed, as I said before, and the other big thing that I'm figuring out how to do is forgive myself. I got into writing because I loved it. I kept writing because the expression of self was addictive to the point of becoming a necessity for balanced daily perspective. But somewhere in there I entered a transitional phase. When I started writing in that phase, again, my writing had become darker and heavier. Certainly depression and despair had become easier to write.
Then, I got a job in a bookstore. Depression had limited my reading for over a year. Then, in a bookstore, serving customers who loved to read as much as I did, I was struck again with book greed. The surprise?
I've never read much nonfiction outside of school. Now I gobble it up like my favorite custard dessert. For many years, little fiction outside SFF appealed to me. Now I'm reading much more broadly. I want to read so many things, and I haven't felt that way in a long time.
In the depression, there was only one thing I managed to continue with great fervor and to teach myself. Cooking. All of my insecurity poured into an interest in controlling diet. I fixated on food as the thing I could control in my life, and most other things I started to shut out. Piece by piece.
Now, that the wounds are vanishing, I have to deal with scars left behind. I'm not who I was. My goals can't be what they were. I have to pull my together the core of me-- which transcends the distance from then to now--with the me that was formed by the last few years.
I have to be realistic, now. I never really was good at this before. I was raised for a world where a college degree should win entry to a basic position, so I never planned for anything other than a job to pay the bills until I got my writing off the ground. I was hard on myself to meet self-imposed deadlines for a very long time. I'm no longer able to do that. Reality got so real that it intruded on my peace of mind. I once was able to shut out concerns for long enough to meet my writing goals.
Now, I have learned that I can't do that anymore. I love my writing, but I need to give myself time to fall back in love with it. I need for the same joy to return to me, which can only happen as I get the rest of my life together. I have been alternating between obsession with writing, toward indecision. The sign of a transitional period where I'm not quite certain what road I'm taking.
Knowing my own mind is the best key to falling back in love with my writing. It is forgiving the me that needs reality to be set straight in order to write.
So i'm letting myself slow down and letting my mind and newfound interests carry me. I have a direction now, for Real Life, as opposed to Writing Life. The balance, I think, is all I need to actually finish a project. It never was about the writing. It is always about me.
And perhaps, at those times when writing is hardest it comes from the same place that finds liking myself difficult. Those demons may never be fully dead, but i can put them to long sleep as I sort myself out.
I have made a big decision this week. It has helped bring clarity. I am choosing path I would never have ever considered a year or so ago. But I think this is the right one. Moreover, paradoxically, it will be good for my writing for me to know that I will be working towards such a necessary and, well, employable job.
These are needs that I, raised for a world of plenty, never thought I would have to make--and decisions I never knew I would find such joy in making.
Here's to new goals for a new me--and the allowance to change the old goals to fit my new life.