For a while now, all that has been concerning me is how every aspect of my life plays into my creative process. I could see in myself how certain areas of my life were feeding me negativity and distracting me from my most important work. I could not create when these things were clogging up my mind with bullshit.
The tub in our kids bathrooms was clogged with dog hair a couple weeks ago. I had gotten distracted as soon as we finished her bath, closed the curtain and forgot to clean out the tub. A couple days later, the restroom started to reek a horrible smell. I avoided it for a day or so, and then decided I needed to investigate and solve this problem. I couldn’t live with the smell any more. When we discovered it was just the clogged drain, my husband decided he’d pour some drain-o into the standing water (which is not recommended, but whatever, nfg) the water cleared and I could see white dog hair just packed into the drain. While I was avoiding the issue I kept thinking “If only I had a wire hanger I could fix this” which is true, a wire hanger would have helped me fix this much easier than I did. But I didn’t have a wire hanger, so I lived with a nasty avoided problem until I couldn’t any longer. Then I started digging through my garage and junk drawers basically looking for anything that would help me clear out the drain. I found a paint can opener and a screw driver that looked cheap and unimportant. I got on my hands and knees, stuck my fingers and tools into that nasty drain and cleaned it out. Thankfully has a hairdresser, hair clogged in drains doesn’t effect me as much as the average person, but the smell left behind was what really got to me. After it was cleared, I cleaned out the tub with disinfectant, closed up the curtain and the problem was solved.
A couple days later, my washer stops draining. I’ve already been avoiding calling the plumber on my drippy shower head, because I’m an avoider if you cannot tell already… I didn’t want to add this to my list of ‘need to be fixed’ items as well. I have the idea though, that maybe my husband can fix it. My husband, no mechanical training whatsoever, who has is incredibly stressed by fixing broken appliances, and has told me that he doesn’t want to be responsible to fix anything. Yeah, that guy can do it! Begrudgingly, he goes to look at it but frustratedly cannot solve the problem for me. He sets it down, we walk away for a couple hours, and come back to it that evening, him and I. I was determined to fix this ourselves. We almost gave up, we almost called a plumber, but I knew this had to be easier than it seemed. Fixing this washer was the team building exercise my husband and I didn’t know we needed. We snapped at each other, we were annoyed, we stopped talking for the last half of fixing it, but once we got it working again we were relieved. We said what we felt about how to other handled it, we apologized for our faults in making this problem worse than it was and we happily washed laundry the whole next day without the fear of the smell of mildew setting in too quickly (That clogged drain was CAKED in yucky black sludge! Uck! Glad we could clean it.)
Then a bigger problem came. Our neighbors kids were vandalizing our property. Throwing rocks at solar panels on our roof that were hitting my car, writing on our trashcans, dropping glass in our driveway and leaving it behind etc. I had to say something about this. I bit my tongue the first time and thought about what it is I would say. I wanted to communicate clearly, without emotion, and with the authority of a property owner that this was NOT ok. But here was non-confrontational, avoidant me, trying to do a really big, really hard thing that I have never done before. I wrote out my thoughts in my notes in my phone, I worded a letter the wrong way and then reworded it to be more honest about what I wanted to say. But I sat on it for a day, feeling too nervous to stand up for myself, or maybe even too nervous I’d be too angry about this situation and that would make this all a lot worse. When they had crossed a boundary again for me, I knew it was time to stay something and I let my impulsive anger grab the wheel. Thankfully, having those notes written in a less emotional state, I was able to deliver a logical/reasonable message but the power of my emotions were what actually got me to their front door. I printed out my favorite one of the notes that I had written previously, left it on their doorstep and forgot about it. A couple hours later, the mom and her boys are standing outside our gate. Her kids looked scared, she looked pissed and I was ready to confront this once and for all. (I mean hopefully, kids are kids, they make mistakes) It was a good, easy, and open conversation. I felt heard and understood and I felt the mom was handling the situation the best she knew how. I was pleased with the outcome but even more pleased with myself for once again handling a big scary thing I was avoiding.
Now that we are moving into November, I figured I’d tackle one of my biggest problems in my life. All that goddamn trauma. All that old conditioning, clogging up the drain of my creativity. A really good idea came to me the other day, a story about a woman facing fears that were similar to me, only in this story I knew how she’s conquer her fears. So I started to pen out the idea, I wrote about character, captured little scenes scrawled onto some notebook paper. I wrote chaotically, frantically, tiring my right hand and forearm in the process. Something was coming alive here and I wanted to wrangle it, catch it, and keep it for my own. At this point I have started and regretfully never completed too many stories to count. Inspiration will hit, I ride the wave and then crash without any sustainable energy to finish. It was frustrating but I see it now as just learning how my process works. I kept getting better and better, I got all the way to a 10,000 word story, before scrapping the entire thing. I was salty! All that hard work and dedication and the story was shit. That dreadful writers block settled in. This time, I wanted this story to be different. I knew too much, I could see so much more of this story than any other before and I was able to understand who the characters were, what they wanted and how I was going to settle this whole thing. And possibly, just maybe, setting myself free of some terrible shit that likes to terrorize me every day. That’s when I remembered November is NaNoWriMo! National Novel Writing Month. 1,700 words a day for 30 days and you’d have a 50,000 word first draft to begin building a real novel off of. This was just the push and challenge I wanted to give myself to complete this.
So I’m learning all this real life stuff about setting myself free with confronting issues and simultaneously inspiration is hitting me at all hours of the day. I could feel my life and responsibilities simply falling into their proper order of priorities. It was like the stars were aligning. I know what has been holding me back, I know what I want to complete, and I know how I’m going to do it. I’ve been waiting for the stars to line up for me in exactly the right way, and finally the time is here.
With this new moon, my intention is to WRITE A DAMN NOVEL. That’s right. The whole month of November, I plan to sit my butt down here every damn day and type out 1,700 words of freedom for myself and for others who have struggled like me. It’s going to be hard, its the holiday season is here and family is around and everyone will want to be close and merry and all that bullshit. I’m happy to close myself off from the world, in fact, I quite enjoy living in a cave untouched by the world, but I’ve got kids and their family life is important to me. This means my next month will require strength and discipline and structure and that is what I believe will help me be successful in achieving my goal this month.
While working on my writing routine and structure has taken me about a year, I’m finally happy to say, I know my peak working times, I know my resting times, I know what time is best for me to wake up and go to sleep. I just have to actually do those things. The next step in creating routine as a creative, is being unaffected by the world around me. My mom might call to go to lunch (my best writing time is from 12:30-2:30 nearly every day) so I’d probably need to say no or plan ahead. Sometimes I have no motivation to do chores or run errands until later in the day, but I can’t let that happen if I want to stay committed. I am not good at these things. Committing. But this is one of the times in my life where I don’t wanna quit. I want to dig into myself and find a part of myself that I have never known before. That committed tenacious and unrelenting side of myself that I have been looking for. The professional behind the creative. She’s almost ready to emerge and all I’ve got to do is sit here and type.
P.s. this blog is 1732 words long. Maybe I can do it after all.