I’m sitting here, during week 42 of my writer’s group – one that has occurred in the same week as the 42nd anniversary of Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (a work of comedic fiction that I deeply appreciate) – and am having to fight off the urge to be quiet… because quiet doesn’t entertain anyone, myself included.
It doesn’t help that there are several people tugging at me for attention. Taking the hour every week to check in with a small social circle and then sit and write, with purpose, for a short period of time? It’s one of the most important parts of my self care routine. In fact, without it, I wonder sometimes whether I am a self or just RoboMommy. (I am programmed to love, beep borp!)
That is, of course, nonsense. But it’s the kind of nonsense that overwhelmed parents of small children think and then have to refute. I find, more and more lately, that I spend an inordinate amount of time and energy correcting my initial thoughts/reactions to pretty much everything in life. And that is exhausting in part because it is literally always met with internal resistance.
The thinking goes: your initial automatic thought is your conditioned response. Your response to that response is your true self. And so giving yourself a pause – even just a deep breath to let yourself consider things when you’re about to address a situation with a toddler can make a huge difference, not only in your response and ability to tolerate behavior and discomfort, but also in programming your baby’s self esteem.
Asking yourself, several times a day, “Is this something we can clean up/fix easily? Then don’t sweat it!” is simultaneously very helpful and very tiresome. This is, in no small part, due to the messes that inevitably are a part of this dance of acceptance. As someone who struggles with executive dysfunction thanks to neurological and psychological disorders, things can get unwieldy. And the guilt that accompanies unmet personal expectations can feel very impossibly heavy.
I’ve started to wonder, honestly, how anyone keeps their home clean with a toddler. I’ve decided they don’t. At least, not if they’re in our position, on month 19 of covid lockdown with no help with child care. The idea of a clean home? It’s a myth. It’s social conditioning. It’s not real. Clean homes are ones that aren’t being used for living. The only way to keep them clean is to keep everyone out of them.
And so, I’m trying extra hard to let go of the stress and negative self judgment that I constantly feel internally. I’ve been following KC Davis on TikTok, and she keeps stressing that “care tasks” (the evil formerly known as “chores”) are morally neutral. Reframing spaces as “functional” or “nonfunctional” instead of “clean” or “dirty” has given me the ability to take a break from the internal self-flagellation.
WORDS HAVE POWER.
That’s part of the reason I’m so excited my friend Liz is starting a literary magazine featuring the work of fellow Jewish authors. She’s just opened submissions, and I have til Halloween to send her some poetry.
I wonder if all artists, when called to submit something, wonder if they should just craft something new or find something they’ve already created to polish. I wonder how many times William Shakespeare retooled a sonnet just to try to get laid or to pay for his rent.
Being a content creator is so weird. Like, I know I’m just a vessel for whatever comes out of me. And if I don’t submit or publish, nobody else gets to experience the art. But also, that requires me to legitimize my own work.
Yep. You heard me. For any artist to succeed, they must self-validate.
I think that’s why the act of submitting works has been something I’ve felt intolerable resistance to. I’m not sure which thing feels worse: asking someone to judge your work (the act of which is both subjective and bile inducing in its consideration) or not asking someone to judge your work (and therefore allowing it to die on the page).
What’s always harrowing is wondering who is judging your work and why their opinion matters (or should matter) to you. At least in this situation, a dear friend is starting a passion project. I’d be a fool not to show her my support by participating.
BTW – if you are also a writer and Jewish, and you want more information about her project, ping me. I will absolutely get you connected.
Anyway! The point of this post was supposed to be about how challenging your resistance is almost always the way forward. I totally forgot to write the paragraph about how resistance training works in bodybuilding. lol. Whoops. If you know, you know. And if you don’t, now you do.
Right now, I’m resisting some necessary self care. I need to go make myself eat lunch. I’m taking way more time than I intended, writing this, and Adam’s being a very good sport about it.
I hope you have a good week. I aim to write more next Friday. I’m also strongly considering starting at the beginning of the Tao again and seeing how it hits at this phase of life. ❤ Not sure why I feel a transition so strongly on the horizon… but I do.