Thursday, December 20, 2012

Writing Every Day

For the last ten days I have been consistent in holding with a new routine I am very happy about. I have been meditating, thanks to the Learn to Meditate Podcast by the The Meditation Society of Australia. It has been pretty amazing so far and, almost instantly, I felt the benefit of my new action.

Next on my list is to build in the same kind of rewarding routine for writing. While I have been writing in my journals daily, some days feel more like little jots here and there rather than the true focused type of "writing time" I think I owe myself and my words. About a week ago I decided to change the wallpaper on my computer to be something more writer-oriented so that it could serve as both a reminder and an inspiration. After a thorough search of what Google had to offer me one morning, I found a wallpaper with a quote from Norman Mailer that, I believe, is just what I need:
I love this quote because it speaks to my greatest weakness: the bad days. Now, I am not sure what Mailer characterized as a "bad day" in his own life, but, for me, with my crazy chronic illnesses bad days are pretty well defined across the board. When I was a teacher I would work through the bad days. However, I did this so much that I made things much worse for myself in the long run. So what did I do to fix the damage done? Well, after two years out of the classroom and on my healing path, I learned a new way to live that has its benefits and its drawbacks.

My solution was to let the pendulum swing the other way. I gave the bad days priority. While home healing, I pulled back on working through anything and just rode out whatever symptomatic wave came my way. The benefit in this type of existence is that my body was given full focus to heal, the bad thing is nothing else happened. In my two months of physical therapy (actually, it was vestibular therapy due to my extreme dizziness) I began to see how weak - physically - I had become from the utter stillness of my life. It takes no real genius to see that this phenomenon was not isolated to the physical part of me. My therapist said to me, on my second session, I think, "We have to work to get you back into the world of the living!"

It was something I didn't think my body would ever allow me to do again. I realized that day, that I had considered "a normal life" as something not in the cards for me. I was wrong. Of course, my "normal" is going to be a little more low key than those without my conditions, but everyone's "normal" is unique anyway, so there's nothing to fret about there.

The compromise for me is this: The classroom is gone for me for now (and maybe always), writing isn't. I can write through the bad days without fear that I will make things worse like I once did. I have to stop being afraid of pushing myself like I once relished in doing. Writing is not as physically taxing as my previous career was. I can allow the workaholic Nicole come out and play again without huge fears of physical repercussions; I have already made the major adjustments needed for my "new normal".

So I am going to commit to being a "real writer" as per Norman Mailer's definition - I am going to be able to do the work, even on a bad day.

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