My absence from writing came around the same time my father died. See, writing has always been the way that I work out my thoughts and feelings, but at the time I just couldn’t face what was brewing inside of me. It was too much, so instead of sorting through it I shoved it deep inside myself and distracted myself with consumption. It took me longer than it should have to admit that when I’m not writing, I’m not okay.
Years ago, when this truth revealed itself to me, I had the title of this post tattooed onto my collarbone, right where I would see it when I looked at myself. It was to remind myself that when I was struggling, the best thing that I could do would be to sit down and write. It was also meant to remind me that I am just right, exactly as I am.
It’s one of my only tattoos with meaning, but sadly a little ink on my skin wasn’t the motivation that I needed to create a healthy habit. That tattoo has been overlooked a million times since then. The typewriter font that I chose has started to bleed together and, to be honest, in times of turmoil a pen tends to be the very last thing I pick up.
When I was at my very worst, using daily, I knew that my addiction was ruining my life. I knew that as long as I continued on the road I was on, I would never really be able to achieve the things I wanted to achieve. Combined with the guilt and shame of just being unable to control my substance use, I was also disgusted with myself for wasting my life and my talents. I would occasionally try to put my thoughts on paper, but I couldn’t access the parts of my psyche that so desperately needed to be examined. It was obstructed.
Every single day I told myself that I had to stop. I’d promise myself again and again that tomorrow would be different and it never was. The issue was bigger than me and I had no idea how to break the cycle. As it stands now, most of the time I am just getting by day by day. It’s not a given, ever. It seems like, once you’ve opted out of reality for a while it becomes really hard to choose to stay present. I lack experience with experiencing distress. With really tolerating the hard stuff.
Case in point: Things have been very hard recently and I’ve been completely unable to write.
It’s not writer’s block. It’s sheer and utter avoidance. I haven’t yet found a time where I’ve been willing to deep dive into my grief and I can feel it building like a timebomb.
It hits me on a daily basis, sure, but those periods of time represent a small release of energy, and not a greater effort to process. My very first impulse upon being thrust into sadness, denial, anger… it’s always to flee. I seek ways to turn it off. Even though I’m not using some of my old, harmful habits to cope I am still running from my pain and it’s only hurting me.
I’ve noticed this reaction, so I suppose that’s a good thing. I’ve told myself that I need to sit down and recentre. I’m aware that I need to switch gears and begin to live deliberately and with purpose. When I opt out of feeling it’s not like I can just ignore one facet of my life. I have to shut down my entire self, which basically translates into flailing from thing to thing without care, thought or due attention.
I want to write daily. I want to set my intention for the day and connect with myself spiritually. I’m afraid of sitting quietly with myself and I think it’s because I really don’t enjoy my company. I don’t really know how to love me, but I think that might be the key to finding my peace.
I have another cycle to break and I keep telling myself that I’ll do it tomorrow. Thing is, how many tomorrows does any of us really even have?