“Are You OK?” Lucy, my toddler, asks when she sees my face has fallen. Am I OK? I tune into myself and feel that my chest is tight, my shoulders are up as if I’m trying to defend myself from attackers that may be sneaking up from behind.
I’m in fight or flight mode. Stressed. Tense.
I should be feeling good. Here I am in nature, in a farm property we bought to enjoy more time convening in nature. Yet somehow I’m denying my very own nature.
My problem? I haven’t written in two days…
So what? You may ask. Grow up. You’re a grown woman whinging about not having written? What’s wrong with you? You may judge me a nutcase. I know some of my nearest and dearest do (rightfully so. I act crazy).
Instead of accepting the emotional palette I’ve been given to work with, I whitewash all over it. I run away from the work I must do. This only takes me deeper down the rabbit’s hole of despair.
If only I knew how to process my emotions instead of repressing, suppressing and inevitably expressing them by blowing up to those around me, no matter if it’s a toddler who wants to wee every fifteen minutes or a teething infant or my partner who isn’t equipped to fully understand why a grown woman must have a pen, paper and at least a half-hour to herself to get down to the business or transmuting her emotions to – well, hopefully a published book – because that’s the Holy Grail for writers, isn’t it?
Poisoning Your Wellbeing
This week I hid from my own nature by projecting all that’s good about myself and my writing to Neil Strauss, the former (and current?) Pick Up Artist who reveals the uncomfortable truth about relationships between men and women in his latest book The Truth.
“Hey, you should read this book! It’s pure gold” I gush over to my brother, whom I judge as being inept in relationships with women, because well, he hasn’t found the one yet. Note: I’m approaching him with judgment. I’m wanting him to be healed of whatever holds him back from committing to a long-term relationship.
God, I’m silly parsley who’s had a major relapse, getting myself mixed up in other people’s lives.
I isolate myself to the upstairs portion of the converted barn with my two young children. I feel I must do this to stay out of my partner and brother’s way as they take all the furniture out of the house, throw away all the junk and do a thorough clean to convert the barn into a home for our young family.
But what I’m really doing is quite sneaky.
I’m playing the long-suffering martyr, the one who must stay with the children in captivity with no pen and paper to get my thoughts out yet caught up in the horseshit Neil Strauss dishes out about why he’s struggling with his relationships with women.
Some of the excuses he cites for his own inability to have mature relationships with women are:
- His mum enmeshed him, that is she made him the surrogate partner because she was so unhappy in her relationship with Neil’s dad
- He has a weak prefrontal cortex and will give into his animal urges
- Men are biologically wired to score as many women as they can
- Women are deeply damaged by their own fathers who try to protect them (because they know that men are scum)
I’m eating all of this garbage up. It’s junk food for the soul and I’m reading and applauding him for being a deeply analytical person devoted to his self-improvement. Gosh, I wish some of the people around me were like him, I catch myself judging my brother and partner.
Halfway through the book and I’m failing to recognise that I’m ending up in a very unhealthy place emotionally. It may be the umpteenth description of yet another orgy where women are objectified and there’s self-deprecation masquerading as self-awareness and I’m somehow still absorbing this garbage that’s poisoning me, cutting me off further and further from all that’s worthy about humanity and most importantly from bonding with my two young children and my brother and partner working their asses off downstairs.
What to do if you find yourself in such a quicksand of self-delusion? Very little.
If you have an angel, like Lucy, by your side asking you “Are you OK?” you may be able to recognise that you’re not OK.
And you know what? It’s OK to be not OK.
Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not feeling good after having absorbed other people’s garbage dumped on you, no matter if it’s a published author, one whose writing skills you should admire, because well, he’s a bestseller.
Just because other people are buying this shit doesn’t mean it isn’t toxic to your wellbeing.
And pretending you’re all hunky-dory when you’re actually feeling like shit? That’s not gonna make your problem go away. It will only keep you away from revealing something about yourself, your values and what your emotions are trying to tell you.
My antidote is to dump Neil Strauss’s lame-ass book, returning it to the library as soon as I could and get my ass back to journaling. No more excuses.
Repeat after me: Children are not roadblocks. They are not obstacles in your path to creating your art. Your mindset is. Drop all the shit you’re focusing on that doesn’t serve you and get back to creating.
You got this.
Over to you…
When was a time you didn’t feel OK and what did this feeling have to tell you?