Making It My Own

Writing is how we think our way into a subject and make it our own.–William Sinsser

It’s been a while, and I hate it. I did anyway, and now it’s been even longer, and I want to hate it. A day then a week went by, and sometimes I haven’t even cared. I think we can only deal with so much until something takes the backseat. My something was this.

I love writing. I love it and feel giddy and electric–eyes shining and heart pounding–afterward and then immediately find myself craving more. And yet, sometimes it feels like too much. Too much because my kind of writing is more like therapy, I think. And therapy is oh-so personal. If you’ve fully taken the blessed and grueling opportunity of being in therapy, well, sometimes you feel like sharing and sometimes you just smile and nod. Or the tears begin to fall and before you know it, your face is red and splotchy

Fully writing the way I want to means opening up more about my story and processing it and putting it out there. It is that, MY story, and every day it becomes so much more than it was the day before. And sometimes I need to just mull it over like eating a jawbreaker (trying to rush it is useless).

And then today out of the blue, my eyes ran across these words–Please Keep Sharing Your Story.

So here we are.

Cutting Back and Clearing Out

Behind the fence that encloses our backyard is a bit of forgotten forest-looking land that also happens to be our property. When we moved here, we worked for days to try to clear some of the vines that had not been touched for who knows how long. It was an exhausting job those days, and through the years we deemed it pointless to keep working on it. What was removed always seemed to come back with a vengeance.

A neighbor recently shared that this is a Wisteria invasion, and it is killing our trees. Wisteria is the sneakiest of sneaks. Really. In the spring there are pretty purple blooms that smell wonderful. But then velvety green pods pop open, tossing the poisonous seeds everywhere (last year we could literally hear the tap-tap-tapping as they fell onto our roof, our back door and our tiny patio. The noise drove our dogs crazy. They’d go to the window and look around, ears perked up on high-alert, but they never found the culprit.

The sneaky, climbing Wisteria vines grow and spread quickly, wrapping around anything and everything stationary in its path. Before long, the vines grow fat and squeeze the life out of trees, I guess, a lot like a boa constrictor does its work. Several smaller trees have actually fallen over because of it, and some of the tallest ones look as if they are leaning over but are actually being held up by the vines.

To get rid of Wisteria, you have to cut as closely to the ground as possible and practice maintaining it for years or the entire growth process begins again.

This made me think about those seemingly positive things we do that eventually make us feel trapped in one place with the life squeezed out of us. Are we living purposeful lives that we love or sacrificing ourselves to make everyone else happy?

Working in a helping profession, I strive to take care of me every, single day. A lot of times, I feel like I am less than stellar at it–I don’t work out as much I as should, I don’t keep my house as clean as I’d like, I can’t get to bed on time, blah-dee, blah, blah, blah.

However, I AM starting my day everyday thanking God for all He’s blessed me with and doing in my life. And that makes all the difference. This is my daily maintenance. Whether or not I mark off all the bullets on my to-do list, this time helps me to stay focused on the truly important things. I notice more peace and less of a desire to control everything and everyone around me.

And the Wisteria? Well, the work began over the weekend, and it just might take (what feels like) a lifetime of cutting back and clearing out to make room for new growth.

Like Oil and Water

But I don’t want to jump into something new!

Funny (or irritating really), this pattern I have noticed. It has become fact that when I post something, my words slap me in the face the next day or few days or over the past week. It stings a little and sometimes a lot, mostly because I feel like I have figured out some things.

For example, I called my last post Nothing Changes Unless We Do, so naturally, most of last week I wanted to rant and complain…about the change that was coming, ready or not.

I love my job working with children and parents and teachers. Like any job, there are good and tough days. For me, I am blessed that the good widely outnumber the bad.

However.

This summer has been amazing (as summers usually are). I have relished time for me, time to sleep, time to write, time to travel, time for friends to visit, etc., etc., etc. Over a week ago, I went back to work–to school in July.  I know, I know, all of you who read this and work year round have no sympathy, and I get it. Just try to understand.

I DO NOT like change.

Change and I just don’t go together like oil and water. Last week, I turned into a whiny, teary, dramatic weirdo. I was exhausted and felt annoyed, oh, about just everything. You know, it was like wearing a tight, itchy sweater with sleeves that are too short.

In less than a week, I felt overloaded by things I routinely would have done and haven’t (including a blog post) or all I hoped to do and still haven’t (blog post done!). Suddenly I felt like I was complaining constantly and worrying– tightening my grip around all I could. I must have apologized to Brian at least 10 times…and then turned around and had to do it all over again.

So, over the weekend, I realized again (as I do every time I go through this) that awareness is part of the process. Just recognizing that I need to be open to the change rather than fearing it is important. Then, opening my mind and heart, loosening my grip on everything, and asking God for peace and strength and direction make a world of difference. After all, the dread over the coming change is ridiculously inflated in relation to the actual event.

Yesterday was the first day of school for our students, and I loved seeing the smiling faces I realize I’ve missed over June and most of July.

I think I’ll go back tomorrow.