“The sharpest minds often ruin their lives by overthinking the next step, while the dull win the race with eyes closed.” – Bethany Brookbank, Write like no one is reading
I over-think everything.
Getting up in the morning is a battle of Thorian proportions:
I’m exhausted. But how exhausted am I on a scale of Need-a-Nap to Crying-in-My-Pillow? Too exhausted to go to work? Should I telework or take a mental health day? Buuut I also need to pay for another book on Kindle so maybe I can muddle through another day at the office…
This internal dialogue – and yes, I answer myself – goes on for about 10 minutes, depending on how many times I’ve tapped the snooze button. Once the decision has finally been made to make the hour and a half trek to work, the nightmare of choosing how to clothe my nakedness begins:
Black pants? Which pair? Do I have both pair in here? Where did I see them last? Maybe I should just wear the other pants. But it might get hot and then I’ll look weird wearing pants made out of wool. Okay, black pants it is! Now which top?
Sweet mother of all laundry soap! How the *bleep* did that miss the hamper?! What about this shirt? Did I wear this shirt already this week? Where’s my blue shirt? I could layer a sweater over that one in case it gets too hot but it is freezing in the office….
This lovely process takes about 15 to 20 minutes – again depending on how late I’m running. And I usually am…because I also lost the internal battle the night before about going to bed at a reasonable hour, staying up past midnight to finish just one more page.
Then there’s this blog.
My old blog, La Belle Dame de Merci had served its purpose and I was ready to move on to a brand new blank canvas. However, it’s obvious I wasn’t ready enough since it took almost as much time to birth this new blog as it takes to birth a new human — with considerably less blood, sweat, and frequent urination.
I agonized for months over what to call it (what encapsulates who I am? What I’m passionate about?), where to “build it” (what the heck is a site line and do I need one? “Child pages?” Dammit, Jim, I’m a writer, not a babysitter!), and most importantly, what to write about (coaches are telling me to narrow my focus, but which topics that I love do I throw out? How can I NOT write about X?! That’s like asking me to only colour with the brown marker and never touch the 99 other markers in the box. And yes, I do have over 100 markers and pens.)
See? Over-thinking. Every. Thing.
Part of the problem stems from my personality. I love to collect. This quirk is reflected throughout my home, in and around my desk at work, and if my brain had a view screen, you would see shelves upon shelves to rival the library in Doctor Who. Not surprisingly, my love of information collection fits quite nicely with my undergrad in history.
But it also means you will possibly grow old before I make a concrete decision.
Because there will always be more information to gather. More data points to inform the best decision. More research to be conducted. The real issue, if I’m truly being honest, is that choosing Option A means I refuse Option B. To my shame, I become Ado Annie from the musical Oklahoma – I Cain’t Say No. Which in essence means, I can’t say yes either.
Of course, being chronically ill changed some of that. I say no all the time now simply because I’m too exhausted to do anything but sleep or read (see laundry comment above.) I would look at the blank page and cry. I felt nothing. I heard no Muse. I was no longer able to express myself in words – either in long form or digitally.
Where had all my words gone?
They were lost in the brain fog that accompanies Lyme disease. And I allowed my exhaustion to define me. I was no longer a writer, a kayaker, a gardener. I was simply…fatigued. Depressed. And then depressed about being fatigued and depressed. This went on for months until one day, in the midst of talking with a friend who also suffers from a chronic illness, I realized I needed to learn to not just “put up” with this diagnosis or try to ignore it.
I needed to embrace and live my life with it.
Because life is racing by me. Whether I am ready for it or not. Whether this new treatment works…or fails. Whether I ever get my old level energy back or I end up bed-ridden. If nothing ever changes for me, do I want to arrive at the end having lived the longest and most pathetic pity party ever? Absolutely not.
Which brings me back to this blog.
Whether I have the words right now or later. Whether I am ready to hit “publish” or not. Whether the words I write reach one person, or twenty, or none. I still have something to say, and a unique voice to say it in.
So here I am, Writing about all the things, using all the crayons in the box, and learning to grab life by the paddle while listening with love and patience to my healing body. I hope you join me on this new adventure.
Ready or not!