Monday, September 12, 2011

I Didn't Write a 9/11 Post

Flight 93 Memorial via Wikimedia.
I started to, but just couldn't.

Nor did I join in many of the ceremonies of remembrance, or post much on the blogs of others who wrote on the subject.  I didn't watch, nor record to watch later, any of the documentaries or "events" that I understand were being broadcast all week/all weekend.

Partly it was pure selfishness.  I was in the very last stretch of finishing the novel I've been plugging away on, for what seems like an eternity, and I begrudged the time.  (And yes, I finished the first draft, late last night.)  But mainly, I knew if I "went there," mentally and emotionally, I would be trashed.

Sometimes I handle dark anniversaries well, sometimes I don't.  Sometimes I need a good long wallow in sadness and heartbreak, and it's cathartic and healing.  Other times, I just need to "put on a happy face" and refuse to even skirt the edges of the heavy emotional stuff, lest I get bogged down.

An essential part of growing as a human being is learning to be present with who we are, where we are emotionally, and to respect that.  Learning to say yes to new people, experiences, challenges, but also being willing to say no.  No, I won't watch your kids for free every Friday night.  No, at the risk of appearing anti-social, I'm not going to play the "awards" game.  No, I'm not going to watch X on TV, or read Y, or go to place Z, just because everybody else is.  Not unless *I* want to.

I see so many writers who put intense pressure on themselves, to write, to promote, to befriend.  I understand that's part of the deal.  But what's up with the needless guilt and invidious comparisons?

I know (and admire)  writers like Maisey Yates and Jeremy Robinson who turn out incredible numbers of good books in a short amount of time.  I'm thrilled for them (and only a teeny bit jealous).  I know people who make fabulous comments on several dozen blogs every day.  Or read eight books a week.  Or raise six kids while completing their doctorates.

I'm not those people - I'm me.  It's my job to take care of the person who lives inside my skin, who isn't exactly like anyone else on this whole planet.

There are still only 24 hours in a day, and only 7 days in a week.  It's okay to hang up the Superwoman cape - it wasn't a flattering look for me, anyway.

Have you tried to do it all, and then felt guilty for "failing"?
Are you learning that No isn't a four-letter word?