I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude this week. I’m working with a coach, and I set a goal this week to start working through my writer’s block. In some ways the logjam has been a gift as I mentally and emotionally work through the transition I’m navigating.
My process is messy. I have to butt my head and bruise my ego before I’ll try a different route. And I get very excited about all possibilities that pop up in my head. My friends probably think I’m crazy, and to some extent they are right. One week I’m chucking it all to become a baker in a seaside town, and the next week I’m madly throwing resumes at job openings on LinkedIn. It’s super confusing to me, and it feels really messy. So, I’d rather not write about what I’m feeling day to day. Being quiet is a bit of a gift. In the midst of my emotional roller coaster, I don’t have to worry about what it looks like to people I care about or, even worse, to complete strangers.
So in my coaching session last week, I began to process my writer’s block. My biggest barrier is vulnerability. It is also my most cherished gift. My best writing comes from being emotionally raw and highly introspective. But my fragility around being judged critically is hard to anesthetize enough to produce words. Just the thought of looking imperfect sends me to the trenches in silence.
Gratitude will lead me to the right words. There are times when I need to wallow in my pain, and I trust my gut that I will know when it’s time to stop wallowing. The wallowing allows me to feel. As soon as I start being grateful, I will rise. I have a lot to be grateful for in my life. 2020 has been no exception. It’s a transformative choice for me to re-focus.
This year has been a year of grief, horror and exponential pain. Over 1/4 of a million people have died of this deadly disease in our country, and that’s probably a gross understatement. For over 1/4 of a million families, 2020 has been an unimaginable gut punch. Not only have they lost a loved one unexpectedly, but they generally did it alone. I can’t imagine the sorrow that must come with that. Millions have lost their jobs and literally thousands are closing doors on their businesses and waiting in food lines. Fires have pushed people out of their homes, and multiple hurricanes have pounded the coasts. We are isolated and divided as a country and as individuals. And I don’t believe this is 2020’s fault. We will be left to work out these issues even as 2020 ends.
Given that bleak outlook, there are silver linings for me. I hope to explore some of those in the weeks to come. If you are struggling with isolation or grief or fear of what’s to come, I understand. This is not a call to be grateful. You have your own process. When you are ready and able to rise, you will find your way. I want to write. The only way I can write is to get out of this ditch and reflect on where I’ve been. This search for silver linings is part of my process. And part of my process is to write. I am grateful to have a place to process my feelings out loud. Forgive me for my messiness as I stutter start this battered ship. I have to start somewhere.