These are the things you should know:
- As I write this, Sunday afternoon is winding down. The sky is a little darker, a little cloudier. There is a breeze and it speaks of rain.
- Wallace is curled up in my lap, purring loudly with encouragement. I am only half-joking when I say he is my therapy cat.
- I’ve rewritten this blog post at least four times…and I still don’t know what I am going to say.
Last week, I began this adventure knowing that my blog wasn’t perfect. Hitting that “update & publish” button was terrifying. It was the kind of rush that pushes your heart up into your throat and makes the sounds and sights all around you a little bit clearer. When my heart finally dropped back down into my chest, it was swollen, grateful, with all the messages and “likes” that you each shared with me. Your encouragement and love carried me through the week. There are not enough words to thank you for that.
This week’s post, though, is a different beast entirely. Whenever I tried to write this post, the words refused to come to me. The ideas were stuck, just out of reach, and entirely unwilling to commit themselves to paper. The writers among you will recognize these symptoms as belonging to a condition called “Writer’s Block”. It’s an acute illness that temporarily paralyzes the writer’s ability—you guessed it—to write. It is characterized by the presence of the dreaded blank page, not knowing what your next step in a story is, or just being plain out of ideas.
But I am not suffering from Writer’s Block. What, then, am I experiencing? Doubt. Terrible, nauseating, doubt. I am:
- Having doubts that I can write this post.
- Having doubts that I can write at all.
- Having doubts that I can write this post without crying and hitting the “backspace” button until the page is clean again.
I am not sure that “doubt” classifies as an emotion or as a thought-process. My gut tells me that it hugs the border between the two with only one main goal: to prevent forward motion. To prevent us from saying, from doing, from feeling, from being. Sure, doubt can be useful too, asking us to reconsider situations which might otherwise be damaging to self or others, but this isn’t one of those situations. This is a situation where doubt can only harm and hinder growth. This is a situation—an adventure—wherein doubt is utterly and completely useless.
What would be useful on an adventure like this one? An unrolled yoga mat to find center amidst fear. A cup of tea to give comfort. The voice of a loved one telling me to stay the course, to keep pushing forward no matter what Doubt whispers in my ear.
Adventures like this one aren’t easy. Putting yourself out there—for the entire world to see and read about—is not easy.
Growth isn’t easy. It hurts to face our fears, our doubts.
But it can be done. One step at a time. One draft at a time.
So, in closing this fifth (and thankfully final) draft, these are the things I hope you know:
- As I finished writing this post, Sunday afternoon transitioned into Sunday evening. There was still a cool breeze, but it never rained until 3 a.m.
- Halfway through the writing of this post, Wallace left my lap.
- I finally figured out what I wanted to say.