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on the power of showing up

note: I wrote this post in April of 2019 (pre-COVID). It's been sitting in my drafts for quite a while, but I think it's time for it to see the light of day. It's been helpful for me to reread over the past few months, especially as I continue to try to make an effort to write, and I hope it can be helpful to you, too. i got an invite to a writers' group a few months ago, and i had never felt like more of a fraud in my life. it had been months, if not years, since i'd felt like a writer. the proverbial well of words in my heart had dried up, it seemed, and i wasn't sure if it was ever coming back. i agreed to go out of a sense of helplessness—i'd identified as a writer ever since i could remember. if i'm not a writer, who am i?  i told myself that it was important to show up and act like a writer even when i didn't feel like one, because even though i hadn't been writing, i reassured myself, i still was a writer. but sometimes the words f

five tiny paragraphs of movement



when i logged onto my blog (because my domain needed to be renewed and i was reminded that further up and further in existed), it's probably no coincidence that some of the first things i saw were the phrases "keep moving forward" and "go up and never stop," two of the themes from my 2018 intro blog post. those phrases are bittersweet and kind of ironic now. i had high hopes at the beginning of 2018, and then depression really hit me hard. if i'm being honest, i was probably writing that very post through a haze of depression already, trying my best to pretend it didn't exist. trying to pretend all was normal.

that's something i noticed i do a lot. i pretend that my anxiety and depression aren't around because it's easier that way. it's easier to function; to have relationships, to get through each day. but who is it easier for? in reality, i think i'm just trying to make it easier for others, make myself a more presentable image. because denying my true mental state doesn't make it actually easier for myself. i'm just putting a thin veneer of new paint over the chipped old one.

so, here it is: i am depressed, i have been for the past few months. some days it's better than others, but the reality is that i've been moving through that haze of depression i mentioned for quite a while now. and some days i'm more honest about it than others. today is one of those rare bouts of honesty where i feel that i can blurt out the truth to you, from one side of the computer screen to the other. tomorrow it may not be that way. every day is different. i'm learning that is okay.

when i opened my blog as a refresher in who i am and what i've done, i saw my 2018 post and immediately felt guilt. because that's what new year's resolutions often do, create an immense sense of guilt in me for what i'm not doing or should be doing better or haven't done at all. i immediately opened the post to hate read it (because don't we all do that sometimes, hate read when we know we shouldn't?) and as i scrolled through each 'resolution,' i felt that self-loathing grow. i barely just started reading. writing is a failure and i've let everyone down. i have failed, i have failed, i have failed...

but then i got to the last two bullet points on the list. probably the two most important. they were: be good to myself and be more gentle with myself. then it hit me that everything that came before those two points didn't matter, not really. i need to take care of myself right now. full stop. if i'm doing that, i haven't failed. if you're doing that, you haven't failed. sometimes it doesn't matter if we're moving forward, just that we're moving at all.

so, there i go. i wrote five paragraphs after six months of telling myself the words couldn't come. that's something. today, i moved.

Comments

  1. You have no idea how much I relate to this, I have been fighting with my depression and anxiety for years now, and after finally admitting to myself that these things do affect me. I brushed them off and pretended it was fine. I think I need to start being gentle with myself. Thanks for the reminder. You can do this, you're not alone! <3

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  2. "sometimes it doesn't matter if we're moving forward, just that we're moving at all." This is really, really good. We could all use more honesty with ourselves, even if the truth is painful. Even if we're not reaching all the goals we thought we wanted to. Recognizing honestly where we are mentally and emotionally is so important, and if we can recognize that where we are is OKAY, even if we don't like it, we can learn to be gentle with ourselves. Where we are is where we are, and that's what matters. Accepting the truth is the first step towards healing anyway. We can't just pretend to be fine. Growing is a messy process. We are still alive, even when we don't feel like it. We can still move, even if it's just one tiny step. Even if it's five paragraphs. That can be huge.
    This is a beautiful post. You're not alone, and you've helped others see that we are not alone either, just by sharing your words with us.

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