{Thoughts}: The Setbacks & The Gains (Working on Me)

I know there has been a certain lack of updates on a regular basis from me. I know I haven’t shared much of my writing, whether it be my poetry or my fiction, because honestly, I am burnt out. I am still working on my novel, and my poetry manuscript is still being edited and looked over a little more closely. But I feel in some ways, I have lost my voice. Some of my zest for writing has been vanquished. It’s not completely lost as I still enjoy getting lost in my own writing. I still enjoy reading, and I am not completely miserable, but part of my voice has been silenced.

Instead of a burning desire to write, I feel a quiet rumble that can be diminished so quickly. I have been having personal problems and as a result, I have pulled away from what seems to be ever-increasingly a security blanket. I have relied on my writing for years to get me through the rough patches. Whether it was writing to escape the feeling of solitude or it was to imagine a world completely unlike my own, my writing has always been an outlet. I need to escape. I went on vacation, and in some ways, that was an escape. I played in the ocean every day. I walked along the sand, tasted the salty breeze, and escaped what troubled me to a certain extent.

But, as the saying goes, wherever you go, there you are. That was the case on the beach, so sure, there was a change of landscape. There was support and love and fruity drinks while dipping our toes in water. My fiancé’s parents treated me like their own daughter, and my fiancé made me giggle and laugh and listened to me and held me and kicked my ass in air hockey. All and all, it was a get-away, but then, I would look in the mirror and hear my familiar critics scolding me and nagging me for all my inevitable flaws.

I got home and cleaned out my belongings one day. I went through old journals, old diaries, reread old poems I had written, flipped through old cards from my grandparents, my parents, my aunts and uncles, from my brothers. But I lingered over the old diaries, I paused over the old cards my mother had written me. Words slung out at me and stung me. From the diaries, “If I die and am not forgiven first, will I go to Hell?” This was written when I was fifteen. “I worry that some day, I will die a swift death, but I won’t be forgiven because I won’t have the opportunity to apologize for my sins. I am working on making myself better, but I am still so impure.” No one scooped me up to tell me it was okay to be imperfect?

No one bothered to reassure me my flaws and faults aren’t all that measure me? Yesterday, I sat in my therapist’s office, tears streaking down my cheeks because someone had finally told me that I was good, that I was funny, and strong, and beautiful, and people liked me. Hell, they’re simply affirmations, and I fell apart like she told me my childhood dog had died.

I can justify and explain and understand and expand on why I am bad, why I am impure, imperfect, not good enough, but the moment someone tells me I’m good. Simply that I’m good, it makes me cry? Is something wrong with me?

Yes. Obviously yes. Now, I’m working on me. So if my writing takes a back burner; I apologize, but I will try to update. I will try to share some of myself. My poetry, my fiction, my thoughts.

These today, these are my thoughts. I need to work on me. I need to fix me. Because as I explained to a friend last night, if you are broken, you can’t expect to help anyone else. If you are broken, you can’t be strong enough for those who need you. I know my writing will help people if I let it. I know my story may inspire people. It may allow people to see there is light at the end of the tunnel, there are setbacks to be had, but there are also a tremendous amount of gains to be had as well.

-L.G.

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