I’ve gone three months without publishing anything.
This piece breaks the cycle of drought.
I’ve written. But just a little. Certainly not enough to complete a thought sufficiently to open the springs for public consumption.
I despaired at times that the publish-click moment might not come again.
I was alone and cloaked without my words, just as I am befriended and naked with them.
My firstborn son needed to roast an extra 10 days beyond the oven’s ding. Then, he remained lodged in the oven’s door for a good 72 hours before we ripped that baby out. When my writing fails, it’s the same sensation of stalled labor, of longing past any due date and of excruciating pain that brings forth nothing. Even now, writing feels like ripping words out without birth and the celebration that comes from holding that precious bundle wrapped in the comforting ink of one’s pen.
Why is creating streams of words so difficult sometimes? Why does logical thought escape us so that we remain pregnant to the point of rupturing, yet childless?
Fullness and groaning within and emptiness without.
Challenge and Overcoming
When I write and publish, I experience a challenge, and I overcome it. It happens with every piece. Without fail. It’s the accomplishment of finishing something that is solely mine. My thoughts, my ideas, my words.
Perhaps this is a deep-seated need stemming from having a childhood in a culture in which children were seen and not heard. One in which I knew I was both constricted in speech and, more unfortunately, invisible. One in which I knew abuse and suffering, and the deeper trauma of not being believed when I actually spat out my story. My words were sucked away with the winds of the storm that whirled furiously outside in the black night. And I was punished for my howling in accompaniment.
Soon afterward, I discovered how the pages of a notebook could listen to my heart’s cries and salve my wounds. All I needed was paper, a pen, and a flashlight, as I lay in the solitary confinement of the sanctuary under my bed. It was there in those pages and with those simple tools that I overcame, and found the courage to not remain defenseless in an unprotected childhood existence. It was there that I began to craft survival and all the stages of rising up and becoming.
Now, whenever I hit the publish button, I give myself a tangible reminder that I am an overcomer, every day, and with every battle that comes my way.
Connection with Others
Words and their stories become my connection to and with others in a world within which I labor to limit noise, interruptions, and distractions. These three things are impossible to escape longterm. However, restricting or deterring noise, interruptions, and distractions is so critical to living in today’s world with its constant bombardment of dings, beeps, pings, buzzes, demands, conflicts, and the like.
I have a hearing problem that’s been worsening over recent years. I hear everything. “Like a baby hears everything,” said the audiologist, some five or so years ago. So, I am not going deaf. But there are times every day, I feel like I am because I struggle to attend to what I need to hear and everything else in my environment clamors in. Silence is such a sweet, seductive, sound. Publishing gives connection within the sacred walls of silence.
As my introversion deepens with age, I continue to crave the engagement of others. But I require a deeper connection than pleasantries and what the weather is like today. When I publish, introverted me becomes an extrovert. Even the silent claps and highlights I get in response signal resonation with other souls on this earth and create dialogue. These then mitigate the aloneness and isolation that I, you, and all humans experience.
Celebration and Joy
Writing is hard work. It does not come easy for me. Yet, I love it. Writing nurtures my soul and heals my spirit. It helps me make sense of living. Writing marries my unconscious with my conscious and allows both characters to sort out all the intricacies of life’s experiences, heart, and being. Writing is mindfulness in practice, and thus, writing permits celebration and joy.
Looked at another way, if writing is my labor, its pains produce publishing. With that birth, I experience joy. Pain has come and is now gone, my baby is in my arms, and a fullness of heart and spirit overpowers me. In publishing, we send out our birth announcement to others, and we share our celebration and joy.
Like motherly love in which two who were one become separate, the writer separates from his or her work when they hit publish. Also, it is the parent’s responsibility to support and nurture the separation of the child as he or she grows. In the same way, publishing does not occur unless the writer bears the growing pains and changes, endures the labor, raises the child, and risks releasing the finished product to make its mark on the world.
Just this morning, I had a meaningful conversation with someone I treasure deeply. I did a decent job of expressing and receiving in the communication exchange until I got to the last thoughts I tried to convey. I knew, in my head, the confusion of what I shared, and I am sure my words were a jumbled mess to the other. So, I got off the phone and wrote a text for the sake of clarity. Once, I hit “Send” aka “Publish,” I knew I had overcome the challenge, connected, and could celebrate.
And my Someone was left with an overflowing heart, and totally lost for words.
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Actively fight against thoughts on the battlefield where they attack us.