I wrote a piece a while ago about coming back from my grandmother’s funeral with a new determination to figure out what I wanted to do with my writing. I don’t know what it was about that event, but I was suddenly thrown into a full-scale investigation of myself: what I like, what I want, what I don’t want. It sounds rather like an existential crisis, doesn’t it? That suddenly I was thrown into this moment where I questioned everything, turned all of it upside-down to examine the worth? Quite possibly, yes.
But, wow, it was so necessary. I’ve really needed to do that for some time. Because a lot of things in my life weren’t working.
I’m not unlike any other person on this planet in that I get into ruts. I drop into that sleepwalking manner of living where I put on blinders and focus on the end result. I get dressed, bathe, brush my teeth, go to meetings, work, come home, make dinner, plop in front of the TV, wash my face, brush my teeth, slather on some creams, and go to bed. My entire MO in that rut is the same from the minute I get up to the minute I go to bed: I just want someone to pay me so I can pay my bills and enjoy a few moments of quiet, maybe a vacation every once in a while. In this rut, I dress in a manner where I blend in with others, I don’t say a lot, and I essentially shut down. I repeat this rote routine day after day without even noticing I’m doing it, or even particularly caring that it’s happening.
But every single day this behavior continues, my world is getting smaller.
At first, it’s barely noticeable; the walls closing in on me are scarcely perceptible. All I know is that my chest gets a little tighter now and then, maybe my backpack is a bit heavier. My stride seems to be sinking. I don’t really feel like going to yoga right now. Maybe I’ll pick up some ice cream on my way home. As the patina starts to form on my external life, the inner creative in me starts to rust way, dying to be heard but lacking the oxygen to cry out. I don’t even notice this is happening until something happens to shock me out of my (dis)comfort zone, where something breaks the rut and I’m free of something I didn’t even realize was chaining me down. I wasn’t even aware of the narrow cage I’d created for myself.
I’d left everything behind in 2007 to avoid exactly this manner of living, this monotonous, fear-based pattern of existence. I didn’t realize I’d found myself in quite similar circumstances.
And that simply would not do.
Over the past three weeks, I’ve been on expanding that world again. I’d said that I want to relaunch the site, to take all the chances that I’ve always wanted to take, create the thing I’ve always wanted. I made that pronouncement before I realized that I had the best problem I’d ever had: I can create anything I want. Exactly what does that look like?
I know what that idea looks like for other people. I can tell you how other people have done it. I have affiliate networks and experts and all sorts of articles telling me what they think it should look like. I have an inbox filled with emails with companies who have products they would like shown to you, and they have an idea of what they think it should look like. But I think it’s time to let the little artist inside of me, the kid who loved to draw and take pictures and dress up and chat with her friends all day and daydream and eat ice cream, run loose with the thing.
Why is that important? Because most of us snuffed that inner voice out or stuffed her down for years. I’ve tried drowning mine with alcohol, distracting her with bad relationships and situations, and burying her under piles of food. Finally, after realizing that she’s still there, I began to wonder what would happen if I let her out to play more often? What would that look like? What kind of life would that create?
I have to say that letting her run things has been more fun than I’ve had in years. I’ve started drawing again, meditating in the morning, turning off my TV to listen to music, taking long walks for the joy of watching the birds playing in my backyard. That’s a whole other project and another post on how I’ve been working to resurrect this plot of land behind my apartment that has been overgrown with weeds for almost a decade. It’s a labor of love that, once it’s done, I’ll be proud to show you.
I let her loose in my closet last week, and I’ve gotten rid of so many things. I’ve rediscovered who I am again. I love layering, rock t-shirts, vintage clothes, denim, and a pretty bohemian rocker aesthetic. Getting dressed is a joy again. It’s not a struggle. I delight in self-expression again. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since that’s happened.
This rut-breaking business has been amazing and an incredible revelation. I sat down and created a formal business plan of what I want to do with the site and where I want it to go. That’s a big thing for anyone, but especially for those of us writing a tiny blog in the big bad blogaverse. I’ve realized I want it to be so much more than that, that it is — and more importantly, I AM — capable of so much more. I want to change my life, and I want you to know it’s possible to change yours. Therefore, I have to break some things so I can reset them. That’s what I’ve been doing from a writing perspective over the past three weeks and will continue to do through Memorial Day weekend. If you’ll be kind enough to hang out and enjoy your time, I do believe we’ll have some amazing things to talk about the day after Memorial Day.
Because I’ve been thinking…and I have a lot to say. I think you have a lot to say as well, and I want to build a place where we can talk about all that, make our own rules, and let our inner creatives finally have some air and run the show. Let’s silence all our critics — internal and external — and give some air to our brilliance. We all deserve to shine.
I’m going to go away and do a little more thinking, and I’ll put some photos and some writing with it. But I’ll be back next week, rut-less and out in the world for the first time as a real, whole, dressing-the-way-I-want, drawing-and-photo-snapping creative gal for the first time in a really long time.
I can’t wait.