I’ve been entirely blocked when it comes to writing lately. I feel like my ideas are lost in an old scratch and sniff sticker that’s been scratched and sniffed too many times. You just know there’s a lusciously surprising smell in there, you just can’t get it. So, you keep scratching. But. No smell.
And I’ve erased about a thousand blogs and a million words in trying to write this. I’ve tried to figure out with logical processes how to reverse this block. And none of it works. It’s all just blobby attempts. It’s all the same fakery and performing that gets me deeper into the block itself.
Until I decide to just write from the heart.
Until I close my eyes and say, Dear Joy and Wonder, ok, mercy mercy me. And I hear back from Joy and Wonder, “Stop writing like anyone cares.”
“Unzip yourself,” they whisper.
And I instantly imagine myself with a encumbering suit enclosed up over my head, its zipper huge and metal. I grab it and pull down until I can feel the air around me and I can finally see more than just a meshy veil in front of me.
As I take a deep breath, I hear Joy and Wonder whisper again, “You are a grown up.”
I pull the suit farther down my arms, tug it over my hips, and shimmy each leg out of its encasing. I flip it’s last grasp on my toes with a kick of each foot. And then I’m free.
That suit. It’s a whole lifetime of stuff. Of Shoulds. And How To Be’s. And Tools That Don’t Serve Me. It’s Reactions that Aren’t Mine. It’s Weight that I Didn’t Earn.
And while I can spend another lifetime figuring it all out, analyzing how to live in this suit and how to make peace with it, I’m starting to see that true health comes when you unzip yourself from it all, consciously and with ownership.
I find at every single corner of my day that when I live in that suit, Joy and Wonder get squished by Duty and Pain. And the longer I stay inside it, the more it suffocates gratitude, understandably. It’s hard to feel grateful when you’re living inside something like that.
When you unzip it and step out, though, Joy and Wonder come flying in. And then gratitude bends down and begs you to listen and follow. What you don’t know yet is that when you decide to follow gratitude, a part of you that confused pity for love must die. No longer can you say, well, if only I was out of this suit, then I could breathe. No more can you beg, can someone please save me from this suit - I can’t move! Not another second can you cry, Doesn’t anyone see me? See me! Love me! Take pity on me!
When that need for pity dies, you will mourn. You will feel like you are all alone and unprotected. You will run the risk that this exposure will not be what you expected. But, in that mourning, you will find that it doesn’t matter. You’ll take the risk of exposure any day over the dull, disappointing experience of seeking pity. You’ll fight for the practice of gratitude as your guiding force to wellbeing.
Whether you are heading in and out of family vacations or life dynamics that leave you running to zip that suit back up, you have the most incredible option to unzip yourself. To give that strong self inside there a chance to breathe and be in your very own way, of your own choosing, or your own expression. Maybe that means that unlike the culture of your zipped up suit, you choose solutions over problems, you choose trust over dread, you choose humor over seriousness, you choose help over isolation, you choose boundaries over niceties, you choose rest over depletion, you choose lightness over heavy, you choose activity over paralysis, you choose pausing over reacting, you choose patience over defense, you choose you over the suit. Maybe all of these choices stitch together the tapestry of a new garment of your own style and choosing that can help protect you against the elements.
The block happened because I lost myself a bit this summer. My children have been willy nilly in camps and days off and this and that. There’s been family vacations. There’s been feelings of single mom loneliness. There've been hurts. There’ve been failures. There’ve been huge massive undertakings for business made impossible by the pull of flesh over duty. There’s been exceptional heat. There’s been a confrontation with the odd invention of modern motherhood. There’s been a need for adventure, but a reality of security first.
But, screw it. I’m a grown up now. I get to decide what I wear.
Deep breath. Unzip yourself.