I have been having trouble writing lately. I find that even if I have a great idea, I sit down in front of my laptop and go blank. So, I pulled out the old-fashioned paper and pen and found the words flowed. Maybe it’s just one of those days, maybe I am tired, maybe it’s writer’s block.
Some of the things that have flowed through my brain lately are about the mummification* process my Dad always talks about, likely spurred on after reading Into the Wild. Going for a hike yesterday certainly resurfaced some longings, missing hikes and the outdoors. My own fault really, and life I guess, much of my life is spent working a “grown-up” job, battered by my ongoing whining mantra, “I hate my job, I hate my job” and trying to find outlets for creativity moving me in violent unfulfilling circles. I discover the fun of one thing, try it, then find another and try that and so on. I always return to writing though, that is where my most creative moments flow, when I don’t have brain constipation that is…
Other days the words flow through my brain like sand through an hourglass, I attempt to hold onto the thoughts, to keep them close until I can write them down, yet they slip away, never to return. I kick myself and wonder how to fix this. When I remember I record my thoughts on my phone. Siri translates the words using autocorrect. The incorrect corrections throw me off so terribly I can no longer remember the feeling or original train of thought.
I do have moments of quiet brilliance. I find my composition flowers and blossoms, erupts like a volcano or gallops wildly across my written page ferocious and free determined to be exactly what is meant to be; expressive, lovely, powerful and insightful. I love these days. During these moments, I adore writing, the paper or screen, I love how prose simply drips off of my fingers and fills pages and pages with no more effort than raindrops falling on the ground. Delicious and loving, the words are my friends, happy to celebrate my imagination and creativity with me instead of being sullen little brats that won’t share the toys. Snots!
I also notice that when I am trying too hard or thinking too much; my words become most stubborn and are least likely to cooperate. But when I write whatever comes to mind; when I am relaxed and unhurried, it isn’t always Shakespearean eloquence, but the words do come, they allow me to express rather than just stare blankly at a sheet of paper or a blinking curser. Those times are good too, it’s as if I am channeling some other force; a magical beautiful beast from beyond. I think if I just keep writing, even if it’s nonsense (although it often feels like a masterpiece until I re-read), something comes out of it and some nuggets of gold emerge, not all of it is useable but perhaps I just need to keep writing and writing until the flow becomes unplugged, more natural, like learning to mountain climb. Practice makes perfect! (I hate that phrase!)
So, last night I wrote in one of my notebooks, not on the computer because it was being a narcissistic goblin, I started with a thought and it morphed. My creativity as a trapped woman. A trapped alter-self. That part of me that I have neglected, the part of me that is generally unacceptable to the stoic, “do as I say not as I do” types. The part of me that I have buried or mummified under social expectations or the desire to be accepted and acceptable.
I don’t think of “her” as my inner child, she is simply my inner self, the one who has been denied entry to this world for so long. It is her energy that sent me to Europe for three years, it is her willpower that helped me leave an abusive ex, it is her creativity that gives my words substance. I see this inner-self as my soul. She is powerful and strong and undeterred by my denial of her voice. When finally released she will be loving and forgiving, not angry because I kept her locked up for so long. She understands. But the fear comes when I wonder what life will look like if I really let her loose. What will she do? What chaos will she bring? My orderly life will be upended, be sure of that, and she will do just whatever the hell she wants to do… it is her turn, you know?
I wonder if she has been out and about for a while now, but I don’t think so. Maybe just once in a while until I trick her back into captivity. That internal stretching and pulling, rebelling against the suffocation and causing me unending agita means she is still trapped and impatient to be released. I comfort her with soothing sounds and, “Not yet, not just yet, just a little longer,” because I know if I let her out now… oh holy hell… I won’t stand a chance to finish out the next 10 months of responsible employment. Nope she has had it with that circus. As my friend Gayle says, “Not my monkeys- not my circus!” She won’t stand for it at all.
*The mummification process is the socialization we all endure as children and young adults as we attempt to conform to norms. As we get older, we realize this is an unwanted container of our souls and we spend the latter half of our lives (well some of us!) attempting to unwrap ourselves in an attempt to discover our true selves.