Writing challenges are indeed what they set themselves out to be.
Last year, I wrote for every day in the month of July. I made it close to twenty-two days in until PMDD took me out (which I wrote about here). Up until that twenty-second day, I held out strong. I wrote exhausted and half-asleep. I wrote during the Bible Study and even on the bus ride home from work. I made the time I needed to complete the challenge even when my body didn’t want to finish a thing.
But this July found me at a stop by day eight. Truth be told, even those eight days challenged me. Some of the posts I pulled from my archives because my heart could not find the energy to do it. Even with a million thoughts to write about, I waved the white flag once my body told me that enough was enough.
The cause of this break in the action had everything to do with where my life stood at that point. For the month of June and a few days in July, I was unemployed. Let go from my job of eighteen months, my sleep cycle became completely trashed. I fell asleep late morning and woke up late afternoon. Complete days wasted away. So instead of writing, I caught up with everything I needed to do during the last drops of daylight. Once night hit, my mind shut off.
I didn’t want to think about my days. I actually didn’t want to think about much. For all of my adult working life, I controlled the ebbs and flows of my employment. This was the first time that I didn’t and it left me emotionally wrecked.
I did a lot of self-actualization and -accountability. It’s tough to lay your flaws out on any table, let alone your own. But it was necessary work. I realized my failures and knew that in order to grow, I must fall on my face. Once I realized that my face-planting wasn’t in vain, I found the energy to look for a new job.
And I found it. But that took me off of the plan of writing every day, which I think I started because I felt that I needed something to do. Now I have full days of stuff to do, which leaves me drained but in a good way. Hard work but rewarding work.
Work that completely knocks me out at 9:30 every night. I’m teetering into grandmother territory and I’m okay with that. I soak in that nine hours of sleep.
I also rediscovered — or remembered — community.
Processing pain is difficult especially on your own. I was in a constant state of isolation which made all my thoughts and feelings even more debilitating. I searched from coping mechanisms — like sleeping during the daytime. When you don’t have a day, you don’t have an opportunity to socialize with people. So in short, I did the work to kill my social life.
But then I had an emotional week from Hell. Someone I love enacted violence against me the day before I traveled to be a part of my best friend’s wedding. I trooped it through that wedding but it hurt. I was a ball of anger, hurt and tragedy. To be around someone’s blessed day was a struggle and a half. I barely made it. And everyone felt it.
So when I made it back home to Pittsburgh, I needed to be around my family. Pittsburgh is a safe place. Safe and it saved me. I craved these people like I needed them to survive. So when I saw them, my entire energy shifted.
So community took the time away from writing. I can write any day. Because of life, I can’t always say that about community. So I took the chances given and ran with them.
After seeing them, my sleep schedule shifted to normal. Falling-asleep-after-Jeopardy-like-a-grandmother normal.
I’m okay with choosing life. I’m okay with choosing the people I love over writing challenges that I choose to do.
But yet I’m choosing to finish this challenge.
Writing is a love. I may not be the best at it but I love to do it. Something about creating narratives excites me. I lived a life worth writing about. I’ve seen people, places and things deserving of a story. I possess thoughts meant to be shared even if only one person reads them. I think about writing as my mission-field. If I don’t write, I feel as if I’m not using what the Creator gave me.
The Creator gave me a job. The Creator gave me community. The Creator gave me these hands to write. Let me use them to complete all of what the Creator asks of me to do.
All before 9:30.