Never never never give up
Our much awaited trip has begun. So many people asked if we were excited. Of course we are. And, it is much more complicated than that. We are excited. And, we are exhausted, burned out, done. After months of responding and reacting to our new life, we don’t quite know how to relax. We silly humans have the expectation that once on vacation relaxation will just happen. It depends on how wound up you are, really. We were (and still are) wound tight. Exhaustion hangs in the nooks and crannies of our being in ways we don’t even realize yet. David hasn’t really stopped this whole time. His travel schedule has been hellacious as he commuted to Seattle regularly and worked on the most demanding project of his career. Our brief stop over to be with my mom will carry some work hours for me. I am talking to a handful of clients to get them set up for our time apart. And, David and I need to work on our inventory with the now fading goal of turning it in before we go. And, I still had the goal of turning in my re-write before wheels up in Ft. Lauderdale on Thursday. Hmmmmm. I definitely don’t know about that one.
My cohort Ellen is on a tight deadline, working on chapters, sending to me with the plan that we work in tandem towards this goal. She edits, I accept or rethink and rewrite. She adds prompts for me to write more. At this moment, I am not sure I can do it. Have I mentioned the exhaustion?
Lying in bed this morning, I thought about grief. For us folks not grieving the loss of a human, we don’t really have a rule book. Yet, we exist. And, we grieve. And, we question whether we are doing it right. In ways, I feel more raw then ever. Thinner skinned, more sad, certainly more disjointed as we pack yet again and wonder where we will land when we return. Wandering around my mom’s house I see mementos of her life and of our life. Gifts I have given her, pictures of us, cards and letters – and objects that she has had as long as I can remember. This is what it looks like to be in a home filled with memories.
I had a wall sized bulletin board in my office covered with poems, pictures, inspirational quotes, cards from loved ones, memorabilia to remind me of who I am and what matters. Recently, I had considered removing it all and putting it in a scrap book. I questioned whether glancing at it really did anything. But now, it is one of the things I mourn. Handwritten notes and cards from my parents, best friends and David can’t be recreated. They were snapshots of a period of time that is long past and faded in the distance. How do I put a value on this? I can’t. A $5 greeting card expressing priceless sentiment is irreplaceable. Additionally, it seems as we move through our inventory list, for every thing I remember, there is even more I forget. Right now, I mourn it all. The fog has cleared and what is left are deep periods of darkness. I see the sun, I feel it’s warmth and I mourn more deeply. Especially since I have this internal battle of whether it is ok to still mourn. I know that judging my process does no good but judge I do. I want to retreat from the world, hide out, be quiet and alone. “I am not fit for public consumption”, I text Jessica. Thank God for the people that remind me to give myself space. Thank God. Thank you people. I need you. Badly. I need to know you have space for me to be how I am and where I am. I also need you not to be concerned that I won’t come back. I have met many opinions along the way. Some expressed, some withheld that show up in other ways. And, then I make up my own version of what you think and run with that for a while. Thank God I have places where I feel free to unravel. I saw my therapist for the first time in too long last week and I completely unravelled. I sobbed harder and for longer than I have in a while. I let myself go and be. She merely held space. Later, she helped normalize my experience. I know the real person that needs to give me space is me. Sometimes I can and sometimes I don’t.
This morning, I spoke with one of my clients about her book and as I reminded her to never give up, I knew I needed to hear those words myself. She is in one of the many places where it is easy for an author to stop – and to give up. I read a brief article on marathon running yesterday – a metaphor I often use with my authors – and was reminded of what that tremendous goal takes. To commit to something so big that while committing you have really no idea how you will do it is monumental. To sustain that goal over a period of time – well that’s just plain miraculous. Writing a book is like that. We really have no idea of how we will do it or even if we can. This question is a constant companion.
On Thursday I spent many hours working on my re-write. I was in the groove, on a roll, creating, editing and feeling good. Then, Friday morning, I went to review my work and it was gone. ALL GONE. I have no idea what happened as I back up my work to the cloud. After madly searching, rebooting, and retracing my steps, I came unglued. Sobbing in the shower, I knew my devastation was justified but also larger then merely the loss of my work. Although, all you writers out there know the pain I am describing. When we pour heart and soul and know we are touching on our own brilliance – and then it disappears. Painful. Awful. It happens to all of us at one point or another. I always coach my authors to double and triple back up but I had grown complacent and merely relied on dropbox. I am not ready to dump dropbox. And, I have no good explanation for this occurrence. I simply could not refocus after this and took the rest of the day off from my writing. Today, in reviewing Ellen’s suggestions, I simply closed my computer and walked away. Can I do this? Really? Do I have the energy? Do I have the resources? Can I be writing a book about waiting while I still wait for something that I can’t quite name?
So here I am, in the midst of this question. Can I? Will I? Should I? This could be a chance to launch into the inquiry of what I am doing any of it for? What is my motivation? Why play this game? Do I really have what it takes? Yet, even with all the noise of this, I still know that I won’t give up entirely. I may change the plan and take my work with me. I don’t know right now. What I know right now is today, at this moment, I need to be writing my blog, staying in my pajamas, feeling morose and questioning the universe. Shortly, I will need food so I will head to the kitchen to forage, then I will return to bed and start reading a book for pleasure. I may have a fresher perspective later today and choose to reopen those documents. I don’t know.