I cannot believe it is Wednesday already and I am just now finding the mind space to share some of the things I wrote about at the writer's retreat in which I partook last week, aside from the one I posted during the event. I logged over 5k words, and now I just need to sort through them. Whew! Thanks for joining me.
Hand-me-downs and Chocolate Milk
(or How Does a Writer Grow?)
If you had asked me a year ago what I thought I might be doing on this evening, this gathering would not have even crossed my imagination. How can I put words to what it means to me to be a part of this? To have a place where I belong, fit in, and doing something I love!
I did not even know a year ago that I would love writing. I have written a lot, for all of my life, yet until recently I had not considered myself a writer. Perhaps I should have gotten a clue as a young adult with those prolific emails I wrote to friends and acquaintances when all things email were new. Or when I wrote an article for the Joni and Friends newsletter, (Charlotte branch.) It wasn’t really about wanting to write; it was about wanting to share- the uncontainable joy of my experiences as a volunteer in their summer camp. Joy? It’s as good as any a place to write from, come to think of it.
That seems ages ago. A different person, but somehow still me. Always, always trying to connect with people, touch hearts and bring smiles to faces. A smile is the prime motivator. Always, to write with that smile in mind, even when it lingers at the back corners; a mischievous glint- that is what my hope looks like.
Hope. A beauty that keeps me going. I can breathe through the hard things when I remember to believe the rainbow. When I imagine the light and colors through tender drops of mist? Yeah, it makes the shadows seem dimmer somehow; less choky.
What are the shadows? Last year, I called them depression. That storm, that raging storm, it passed. It has passed through my life in other seasons. It is not my monster today. The shadows that tear at me now; what are they? Can I put a finger on them? I am not terrified and yet I am not at peace. Oh, yes, peace that everything will work out alright; I somehow know that deep down- truly. But that inner quietness evades me.
The churning in my soul? It looks like loneliness. It feels like not so much being silenced as just barely being heard.
I know. I have to learn to be loud if I want to be heard. Each newly raised decibel makes me quake inside all the more, and I don’t know why. I want to speak, to share, to inhabit all of the space I take up. All of it. Not just the barest minimum.
It’s always been the barest minimum with me, though. It’s what I know. I even curl when I sleep. I lie on the outer edge of the bed. I sleep or sit as though to always make room for someone else. Making room. It’s not that I mind sharing. I love it! Yet the more people are in the room, the more I fold in on myself, feeling crowded into a small space that is only mine. And I wonder: what does growing look like?
As a child, I often began wearing clothes when they were way too large all the way until they were way too snug. Maybe this is a clue. Maybe I need to learn how to grow into myself like a pair of new-to-me hand-me-downs. I need to find that inner child and feed her some milk. Chocolate, preferably.