When I have things going on in my life that distract me from being creative, I call myself ‘busy’. Really, though, I’m never that busy. I mean sure, there is a 15 minute to two hour period during which I won’t look at my phone and for a solid six hours a day I’m forced by the institution of education to be sitting in a lecture room (I’m not going to say lecture hall because I go to a small town University that probably has 25 students per class on a good day) BUT really? If I can find the time to watch TV for two hours every Wednesday night, I can find time to sit down and write. Therefore, if I’m being honest with myself, it is not that I’m too busy to write, it’s that I have that pesky little thing called “writers block”.
Writers block, for me, is when daily life fails to influence me in any extraordinary way, and hence, leaves me empty for stories to tell. I know that I have writers block when I call someone I haven’t seen in two weeks and don’t really have anything to say. I know that I have writers block when, on a Monday, I have three meals that consist solely of a bagel with a different flavor of cream cheese for each. I recognize writers block when I want to sleep all the time, when I start thinking life would be better if I had an extra $10,000 in the bank, when I start feeling like things that are a big deal to me (my 25th birthday) aren’t a big deal to me. Lastly, I know that I have writers block when – you guessed it – I’m not writing. And I don’t mean on this blog. I mean in general – writing for me.
When I get writers block, it’s usually due to one of two things: either I’m completely and utterly distracted by how INCREDIBLE life is (a blessing of a problem) or it’s because once again I’ve found myself in a mundane routine like, say, working the same job and taking the same classes and seeing the same people every single day. I don’t do well with consistency. I do well with wild fire and crazy eyes. They inspire me.
But sometimes, consistency is mandatory – at least to certain extent. Like, to the extent that I have to finish this semester. And the next one. Consistency is mandatory in the sense that I can’t reinvent myself by going out and buying a wardrobe that inspires me to kick ass because I have four dollars. Consistency is mandatory in circumstances where I look someone in the eyes and say “I’m in this with you”. I’ve given myself to consistency because it’s what I told myself I needed. Because it’s a chapter that I have to live in order to move forward.
So why am I not writing the chapter? Why am I sitting here idly telling myself that my life and my actions don’t deserve creativity right now? That creativity is something that has to be earned – through dollars and experiences that come with following a paint-by-number path? Why is my life not good enough, right now, to work with?
I walked home from work tonight in the freezing cold. Miserable as I could possibly be. It was windy. It was kind of snowing and kind of just misting. I was listening to Ludovico Einaudi’s Nuvole blanche – which, if you haven’t heard before, is probably the most beautiful piano piece in the world. I was looking at this incredible waning moon and measuring the time between the sound of my steps and the beat of the breath visibly exiting my mouth. And I was so angry.
This feeling in me, the one that bubbles over and makes me do stupid things on a whim all the time, kept whistling.
Drop out. Get out. Run away.
That’s where the story is.
Don’t call. Don’t show. Don’t explain.
That’s a story, right there.
Spend it. Take it. Forget about it.
That’s what you need.
What your heart needs.
The more I let this woman inside of me speak, the angrier I got, and soon, all I could hear her saying was all I’ve been telling myself for the past four years:
Be Selfish. Be Selfish. Be Selfish. Be Selfish.
I walked home, talking on the phone, beating these words into the pavement below me. Selfish. Selfish. Selfish. I hung up the phone. Selfish. Selfish. Selfish. Selfish.
I made it about ten steps before I realized I had just hung up the phone mid-conversation without so much as an indication. I hadn’t been listening. I hit “end” because that’s what I wanted to do at that moment. No thought about repercussions. No concerns about whether this was appropriate behavior. Just… “end”.
The next three steps I made were the most progressive three steps I’ve taken since I moved here in June.
One: What the
Three: am I DOING?
I called back.
And just like that I realized that this is the reason I came here in the first place. To fight for happiness through contentment. To exceed my expectations without expanding my limits. To prove to myself that every day can be an adventure and is worth a second look. To cultivate creativity in an environment that doesn’t cultivate it itself. To stand still for a moment.
It’s not writers block, it’s a challenge. & I love a good challenge.
xo & yw