Sunday, November 22, 2015

Healthy Outlets

Yesterday, I cried. 

I was on the brink of tears all day and managed to keep it together - because, you know, it's unprofessional to cry at work - right? My emotions didn't get the memo. A professional planning meeting and dropping the Littles off at PE were two such instances where I did not keep my emotions in check.

But yesterday, I did.

But I wasn't fooling anybody. I could never be in a position where I would have to lie (or not tell the whole truth) to protect a secret because, apparently, I wear my heart on my sleeve. At the very least, my eyes are an open window to my soul. They are a spiritual TMZ of the body. They know all. They tell all. All they don't care when it's appropriate.

So, even when I think I'm keeping it together; I'm really not. At least to those who have my figured out. And man! Do I hate that! On one hand, it's extremely comforting knowing that there are a select few on this planet that really understand how I work (and probably a little bit more than myself). This is comforting. However, it's extremely frustrating having these people in your space when you feel like you don't want to share what is going on in your head - either because you just don't want to share or because you don't know what's going on.

And yesterday was one such day. I didn't know what was going on. I didn't know what I was feeling exactly.

Magenta. That was me.

And I hid it well. Not really. But I managed.

Until I got home and TMB saw it all and asked those all-too-imposing questions that get the waterworks flowing.

What's wrong?

Everything. Nothing. I don't know.

And then I did. And then we talked. And then he said something extremely profound:

"You need to find a healthy outlet."

And I do. But what? What can I do that will relieve all the magenta feelings that well up inside of me, day after day?

And he's not the only person to say this. Several people who love me very much have said I need to find a healthy outlet. Recently, I was told that I give and give and give and if I don't take time for myself, all my giving is going to use me up. (It was a little bit more eloquent that that, but that was the general gist.)

I enjoy reading and now, since I'm on break, I feel almost certain that I can finish a book I started two weeks ago but haven't quite gotten through. I'm also pretty certain I can make it to the library before Thanksgiving to borrow the third book in the series (I love series, don't you?)

But the problem is, I don't feel refreshed when I read. If anything, it makes me feel more anxious - especially if a main character is going through something dramatic and I want to see him or her through to the very end.

My readers will understand that all readers go through this. It's just what we do.

But the problem is, it does not really renew anything. I can't even say it relaxes me. I do enjoy it and I will continue to enjoy it and will continue doing it (although not as much as I'd really hoped because I choose not to take time to read.) Still, that is not my healthy outlet.

Which brings me to writing.  Is writing my healthy outlet?

I believe that yes, it can be. I recently wrote a loved one an eight page letter, pouring out my love and support to them. (They will be receiving it soon, so I cannot reveal to whom the letter is addressed, lest they read my blog - and I really hope they do.) I remember having a great pen pal relationship with a friend in California. We would take a week or two to write to one another and we'd end up emailing pages and page of general chit chat to one another.

And I loved keeping in touch with my friend this way. I loved connecting with her trials and her joys. The "voice" in which we each wrote to one another was almost like we were talking face-to-face. I would laugh. I would cry. I used to devour those letters.

As I write this, I think I've discovered what my healthy outlet is. It is writing but more than that, it's connecting with people I love and cherish.

And it's the one thing that's really been missing in my life.

Once upon a time, I used to write. I wrote letters. I wrote stories. I wrote little anecdotes. Most of my writing was never read by anyone. And to be honest, putting some of my "stuffs" out in the open is very scary. I want to share but I'm afraid of what you will think about what I have to share. Will you like it? Will you agree with me? Will I insult you? Anger you? Will you reject me?

The People Pleaser in me shines through.

But despite it all, I still have that urge - that need - to connect with people. I'm not as eloquent live and in person as I tend to be on paper. Once upon a time, I was great on paper. I look back over past things I've written and I feel they were really well formulated. I feel I've lost that. No, "lost" is the wrong word. I've placed in the back burner - so much so that it's been collecting dust. It's still there. I just need to dust.

Ultimately, I feel the need to get my thoughts on paper (or screen). It's even more therapeutic when it's read and enjoyed by someone. Hence the letter writing.
I could be doing another type of writing. Every November, writers spend 30 days at their computers, at their desk or in coffee shops, pecking out 50,000-word documents for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I competed one year. I finished a manuscript. I have been meaning to flesh it out (50,000 words hardly constitutes a novel). Yet, there it sits, printed out in six manila envelopes, unedited. 
I contemplated participating this year, but thought with everything going on, I probably shouldn't add something else to my plate. I even commented on Facebook that while I couldn't do it this year, as a 40th birthday present to myself, I'd do it next. 
I still want to do that. But this morning, while I was taking a shower, I thought of two sequels to the novella I wrote in 2007. And I just know if I don't put something down on paper (or screen), I'm going to completely lose the ideas. I already lost a flash drive that had several stories on it. I really should get some ideas down and save them in a place where they won't accidentally get lost. (I suspect there was a rip in one of my purses and when I donated the purse, I didn't check the hole. 
For all I know, the person who bought the purse doesn't know that the flash drive is in there. Wouldn't it be spectacular if the person, tiring of the purse, donated it to the same store she bought it from and then on whim, I went to the store, found the purse, bought the purse, and found my flash drive?)
What a story that would make!
Until next time,
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