I have spent the last couple of weeks letting myself just be. I did join a new accountability group for health. I think I have been reveling in the knowledge that all of my tests came back with good news so the anxiety has taken a backseat to relief and joy.
It’s funny the things I am fretting over now compared to even a month ago. My mind is now freed up to focus more on my career and the fun things I want to do with Hubby.
We were at a supper club on Sunday night. The performance was all covers of Anita Baker hits. Besides the food and the singing giving me life, knowing I could be there without a cloud of exhaustion hanging over me was more than I could have asked for.
There are still a few things on the horizon we need to get past but we’re almost there.
Which is enough.
Not only because there is a finish line.
But because now we can breathe a little bit easier on the way there.
I am finding out more about the kind of writer I am. I didn’t know when I started this novel writing class it would happen. The permission I gave myself to play worked. Even on the days (one of which was yesterday) I thought I had nothing to give, I manage an outpouring that is genuine and doesn’t feel strained.
Next week is the last class in this session. I fully expect to get direction on what to focus on until our next session and feedback on my growth. As much as it has invigorated me, I almost didn’t go last night. But something told me, even with my eyes half closed, I would regret it. And I would have been right.
The fellowship with the other writers, the prompts, the sharing and the encouragement gave me a second life. I can’t believe it’s almost over but now I know what I have to look forward to.
And I am not looking back.
I wish I had more to write about tonight. I tried to get ahead of my writing assignments to avoid stress and it worked but it feels weird not to write under the gun. I am not sure if I am giving my best self to the work because I know I have “time.”
Also, how in the world do people still not know it’s rude to point to someone with any ailment (in my case, psoriasis) and blurt out “What’s that?”
It’s been awhile since I have encountered people like that and today, when it was rudely asked of me (by someone who is most definitely an elder), I realized how genuinely tired I am. Tired of the scrutiny. Tired of the stares. Tired of the moments where I hesitate to show a little more skin. Tired of wishing I could go back and appreciate everything I had before this happened. Tired of thinking about whether I am doing the right or the wrong thing based on the state of inflammation.
Four and a half years have taken a serious toll on me.
Today is one of those days where I feel the weight of the toll.
And I will let myself feel it. I am not looking for a lesson. I will let myself be.
When I think about my writing class these past couple of weeks, one thing comes to mind: I was set free. I was understandbly attached to writing my novel, whether it was random paragraphs, potential scenes or referring back to my synopsis hoping to be inspired to go the distance. I was forcing myself to think of fiction in only one way. I trapped myself without even realizing it.
Since taking this fiction writing course, I have heeded my teacher’s advice to play. The last two stories I wrote had a possible salacious betrayal and one was written from the perspective of a ghost. I know I didn’t need permission to set myself free but it worked. I have a couple of months after this class ends to keep pushing myself and I look forward to it. I look forward to the release of expectation and the freedom it will undoubtedly bring.
Yesterday, I had my second session of belly dance. There was slight progress from last week. I was more open to slowing down and I felt a bit more in sync with my body as I practiced more movement. Last week, I wrote I wasn’t sure if I would ever perform. While this remains to be seen, I actually imagined it for a moment during class last night.
There is still a part of me that winces at the thought of baring arms, psoriasis plaques and all for complete strangers to see. I think the real fear lies in not just strangers seeing, it’s strangers gawking. I don’t have that problem at the pool or beach but no one is there to see me perform. We are all there to be guided by a teacher.
So what this class could provide (besides fun and connection with other women) is the opportunity to take an axe to those specific fears. I don’t know when I will be ready but I am sure I am willing.
Last night’s class confirmed my revelations from last week about needing to slow down. It was the first time I felt like the conduit my characters were speaking through that my teacher always refers to.
This week taught me to trust what I am learning even when I doubt my ability to do it. I decided to submit the short story I wrote for class. Not only because it was well-received but because I was proud of the work. Proud of the work I put in and proud I finally listened to characters that were asking for a voice.
Last night I had my first belly dancing class in many years.
After introductions were made and class rules explained, we got down to learning a few basic foundational steps. I definitely started getting excited when she talked about learning to shimmy which has always been a favorite of mine. I was already moving my knees as she began to explain what to do. Within a few seconds, the instructor advised me to slow down. She said she wants all of us to slow down to get the moves right.
Now, I know good and well I will not look like my belly dancing idols, Veena and Neena, but for some reason, a part of me is in a rush to get there.
So now it’s hit me in two places in under a week.
With my writing and my workout.
I am in a hurry to get to a place which requires slowing down or I will NEVER get there. At least not where I really want to be. I won’t develop strong technique in dance nor will I describe scenes well enough to not leave my readers with lingering questions.
I will do with belly dance the same thing I am doing with writing: Appreciate and even enjoy the time it will take to get exactly where I need to go especially when it gets challenging.
It’s not a novel concept but it’s one I need to cling to because to tell the truth, I have never pushed myself to master anything. Learn, absolutely yes. Master, no.
There are a plethora of reasons why but now is the time for some reflection but more action.
I am already looking forward to next week’s class. Our teacher has already talked about femininity, trying and failing and best of all, developing our confidence. I can’t say now I will ever perform publicly. But I can say I look forward to reading this post months from now and recognize a change.
Yesterday, I had pages critiqued I sent to my classmates on Sunday evening. I chose to rework what I had written in response to the prompt “I lied when I said.” The critiques opened me up to a multitude of ways to address how I want to proceed with my novel. One of which was to try to turn it into a short story about 25 pages in length.
Even though I recognized it before, when I write I want to rush. Racing to get to the end I was envisioning as I begin to write is the culprit. The result is leaving my readers wanting more, more setting, more background information, what was he/she wearing?
I don’t know why I have been in a rush to materialize an ending.
So that is what I will be working on using this week’s prompt. Slowing down to craft a more complete piece. To leave readers needing less when it’s all said and done.
I have days where I have nothing new to say, either about my writing or my health. I struggle with not wanting to turn the health portion of this blog into a weight loss blog. I don’t know think there’s anything wrong with them. Actually, I love reading about other people’s weight loss journeys or watching the occasional weight loss transformation YouTube video. I wanted this to be a space where I could focus on overall health and writing updates but it was brought to my attention that perhaps I am not sharing anything new with my readers in regards to my weight loss.
You all know that I am plant-based, read about (or even tried) the recipes I’ve shared and that I’ve had successful and unsuccessful bouts with raw veganism. But I have purposely shied away from numbers here.
I know part of it is because I don’t want to be perceived as yet another fat woman documenting her weight loss journey. There is an active perception a fat woman’s idea of ultimate success is a rail thin body and I do not want to perpetuate that notion. That is not all of who I am or any of these women in this fight seeking support and/or accountability from their readers. Please believe I know at the end of the day, my perception is the only one that truly matters.
I am at a crossroads right now where PCOS, anxiety, psoriasis and fibroids are demanding more action from me than ever before. I have said before I won’t feel settled or at peace until I know I’ve done everything I can as consistently as I can and used every tool at my disposal to address these issues.
Maybe part of that is laying it all bare here. I will figure it out.
I’ll take it one step at a time. Taking it one thing at a time.
I would love to know what your take is on this post. Please share your thoughts in the comments!
Yesterday, I started a new writing class. To say there was anxiety would be a massive understatement. The focus of the course is primarily to strengthen fiction writing skills and I haven’t put forth consistent effort in this area in over a year.
In the two hours of class, I was reminded just how vulnerable I feel creating a story and not solely relying on details from my life. I felt the pain of stumbling and not trusting myself as I wrote. Even when I read aloud, I cringed. That normally doesn’t happen to me. I know it was just one class but it was rough.
But I can’t help but think “rough” is what I need. I am scared of my upcoming critique on the 2-3 pages I am sending but that’s ok. It will have to be. If it all felt easy or natural, how would I grow? How would I know if going forward with this novel even makes sense for me?
Another thought occurred to me: Ever since I started “The Artist’s Way”, I have pushed myself to do more like attending my first Mindful Mornings lecture, signing up for belly dance class, joined a fitness accountability group and of course, attend this writing class.
Wish me luck as I move forward with this class!