Monday, August 19, 2019

Inspiration Monday: Allergies

Yeah. You read that right. Allergies.

What on earth is inspirational about allergies?

Hear me out here. I promise this makes sense. At least it does to me, and I'm not sure that means much, but here we go.

Today I went to the chiropractor who keeps me surviving my hateful skeleton. I asked her straight out why my entire body hurts to the touch and why it hurt so much more than usual when she jammed her pointy little elbow into my enraged muscles. I mean, it always hurts enough to make me rethink all my life's decisions, but today was extra.

Satan's Flowers

"Allergies," she said.

"Allergies?" I asked. "In my back?"

"Yup," she said as if she had just told me that sandwiches are usually made with bread. Usually.

"How's that work?" I asked.

"Allergies are inflammation. They can make inflammation elsewhere worse." Duh.

"Ah. Choooooo! Ack! Ack! Ackkkk!"
She had me there. My allergies are OFF. THE. CHAIN. I sneeze and cough so much my eighteen-month-old has started mocking me. I never once considered that one irritant might be causing another, one that affected me in a much more significant way.

That got me thinking. (And taking my anti-histamine, but that's beside the point). I started wondering what I am allergic to in my everyday life that is aggravating the other issues I'm already struggling with.

It's no secret if you were to paw through this blog, I went through a MAJOR period of writer's block--more like all-around creative block--that was years long. I went through a lot of life changes and probably a pretty sloppy scoop of depression, and now I'm fighting my way back out of the weeds to reclaim a healthy creative life and take some steps, tentative or not, toward my goals.

It’s going to take some hefty scratching to be able to determine exactly what’s causing all my creative itches, but there’s one thing I know for sure. Like every other human on earth, I’m allergic to shame.

It’s hard looking back at my old writing. I don’t just mean pulling out my old projects and cringing at the things I’ve grown past (though there is a LOT of that), but just recognizing how much time has passed since I made any real progress. Even this blog—it’s pretty easy to look at the dates and see the gaping hole where I thought a million times how I’d like to put up a post, but couldn’t bring myself to do it for one reason or another. It isn’t that I haven’t written in all that time. I have—a lot—but it was more like I was trying to write my way through the door of my projects and I never even scratched the lock. It has been frustrating. Painful. Irritating.


The thing is, I don’t think it just affected my writing. I think it bled into other areas of my life. So many time I've caught myself thinking, “How can I do that? I can’t even write a simple blog post. There’s no way I can do that.” (In this example, “that” means “anything at all.”)

You see how easily this can grow. Before you know it, it’s a tower of doubt blocking out the sky. No sunsets. No brand-new-day idea. No seeing possibilities for tomorrow because of the looming, shameful remembrance of what didn’t happen yesterday. If you’re not careful, that little bit of inflammation in one area of your life will burn you up somewhere else, somewhere important.

What are you allergic to in your life? What are the irritants, the sneaky little invaders into your life that leave you itchy and inflamed? You might find that they are affecting you in ways you never considered.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Hello (Again) World!

Blog, my friend! It's so good to see you again!
Euka the Wonderful

What? Hey--wait. Why so mad? I quit you? I just abandoned you?
No! No, no, no--it wasn't like that. You don't understand. Let me explain. See, life got very, very lifey. When I say very, I mean very. Since the last time I posted here, I've been through a lot.

I started and ended an LLC art business.

We adopted another love-bug of a giant, sweet rescue dog named Euka (who brought the words, "Green chicken!" into our daily vernacular.)

Lots of things changed with my job, in that I work at a different location in a different part of town and I'm now managing a different grant with a brand new staff.

Old car, new car. Same thing.
I was in a wreck that totaled my car. (You remember, the car that I bought a few years ago and loved enough to blog about it? Yes, that car. R.I.P. Mazie Bear.)

I lost my mom. 

Then, there's the biggest change of all:
I spawned a human.

Meet Landon, the coolest one-year-old on the planet. Cutest, sweetest, smartest, and happiest, too.  Trust me.

Small, smart, and handsome indeed.
Becoming a mom is the single most difficult and wonderful thing I have ever done. It's hard. Extremely. But it's so, so worth it. Landon is my very favorite of all the possible favorites, along with his dad, of course. 

There are probably a million other things that have gotten between this blog and me over the last few years, and they got between myself a lot of other things that I love as well. I went through the longest period of writer's block of my life. I stopped doing so many of the creative and artistic things I love because I spent so much of my energy just trying to navigate my way from dawn to dusk without ending the day less than I started.

The only way out of a hole is to climb, so here I am, scrambling my way back up the cliff and reclaiming my creativity. This weekend I attended a writer's retreat with my "long-distance" writing group from Nashville, Pretty in Ink.

I had no idea how much I needed a weekend away to shock my system out of its rut. The scenery was breathtaking, and being around those fierce, talented women inspired me to follow through with the three goals for the weekend:

1. Make progress on my pesky ten-year-old novel that I've restarted yet again. This time, I think I've really gotten to the root of where I was derailed, and I did make progress.

2. Write a blog post. I think it's safe to say that I accomplished this goal, even though I waited until I was back home to get it posted.

3. Submit a short story for publication. This was the big one. I don't know what my problem is with submitting my work. I can get amazing feedback, edit myself into a coma, finally get my stories polished to a shine, and then...nothing. I just kind of leave them sitting there on my computer in their folder, napping and twiddling their little thumbs. This weekend, I yanked one out and submitted it to two contests.

So, blog, my friend--I did not abandon you. I just wandered from the trail. I worked my way back, though, and maybe I'm a little worse for the wear, but here I am all the same. I don't know if I can commit to a regular posting schedule like I had before, but I can work on getting myself back into the groove with some kind of regularity. I have a lot of cool things simmering--some cool art commissions, and a very cool collaboration with Ellen Morris Prewitt that is as unique as it is fun.  I'm spending a lot of time trucking away on my part of that project, but I don't want to spoil it until it's time to unveil the results.

Life might have gotten a whole lot more complicated for me over the last few years, but what I've learned through all the hills and valleys, squinting through the fog, is that it creativity is what connects me to the life I'm living. It is through the arts that I experience the world, and how I participate in it. Otherwise, I'm just free-spinning through life, and I can't think of a more wasted opportunity than that.

Here's to the road ahead, and may every bump and curve become inspiration.