I feel I’m in some type of murky transition these days, slogging through mental mud that weighs me down and confuses me. Mud is an apt spring metaphor (except that we are dry and dusty as a bone here in New Mexico) and I’ve decided to take drastic measures to ensure something inside me flowers.
Wonderful and witty blogger and consultant Colleen Wainwright often does a writing exercise called a 21-Day Salute to get herself going on a variety of things. She’s done it on writing, gratitude, cleaning her apartment, improving her finances – all over the map. The idea being that it takes three weeks to change a bad habit to a good habit.
I need to change into the habit of trusting. Make it the muscle I use every time I breathe, instead of breathing with the fear muscle. That’s obviously more than a mere blog can handle, but writing and mothering — the focuses of this blog — are two fundamental places for me to start.
I started this blog with a specific vision – to get myself back into a writing place – after a decade of stay-at-home parenting. I was so unsure of myself that I didn’t know what my writing would be like. I hoped that it would have matured and seasoned into something closer to the writing I’ve always wanted to do. I also wanted to see if I could actually maintain some type of regular commitment. Well, I have. The blog’s not huge, but for me, it’s been a success. I’ve regularly put out something that interests me when I re-read it – my personal test. Years ago when I was a columnist, I wrote so fast, that several months later, I’d cringe at what I’d wrote. It was ok and people liked it, but it was not what I wanted for myself.
Now, with the need to find work, a home life that usually requires my 24/7 attention, some familial health issues on various fronts, the summer coming with few funds to pay for summer camp, I’m just sort of slouching around, not purposefully looking for new work, not purposefully housewifeing. (New word, just made it). I’m slouching because I don’t want to take the steps that lie ahead, due to a deep nebulous fear of “I can’t even tell you what exactly I’m going to fail at, but I know I’m going to!”
On the outside, I’m no slouch. My day is packed from 6am to 10pm. I skitter like an overcaffeinated waterbug, darting from the first most urgent thing to the next, It’s my mind that slouches off to its mental couch, refusing to plan or firmly choose a direction, like “I will take April off and then in May, do X, Y and Z.” (My mind just rolled over at the mere thought of such a choice.) That level of personal leadership means trusting myself and how I operate in the world, and therein lies the problem.
There’s a similar fear has been an undercurrent of mothering. Ever since it dawned on me that I really wouldn’t know how well my kids would turn out until they grew up, I heaved a new performance anxiety onto my shoulders. Which hurt today. Quite a bit.
So, before the summer comes I need a focus and a plan. And I need a new life habit, a deeper habit. I have experienced plenty of little islands of trust. I’ve made good choices and succeeded plenty of times, but these days, I’m stuck, dwelling on the failures.
Part of the plan is that instead of laboring carefully on my posts, as I prefer, I’m going to push myself and post every day for 21 days. Trusting that the posts will be good enough, trusting that I will do it, trusting that this effort will help clear my mind, ground my mothering, and lift me from the mud.