Have you ever noticed that sighs can be used for different purposes. I sigh, because I wish I hadn’t said that. Or I sigh because I am remembering something from the past I wish I could repeat. I sigh because I’m sad. I sigh because I’m wistful. I sigh because I’m relieved. I sigh because I can take a breath. There’s a change in the air and it feels good. That is the contented sigh, which in my way of thinking is the best kind.
Today I am breathing a sigh. Why? Because I wrote and submitted a story. If you want to know why I am happy about this, I will tell you. The last time I wrote and submitted a story was January 20th of this year. Although it was a good story, it wasn’t accepted. But that isn’t the reason why I haven’t written another since. I’ve been going through a period of depression. I didn’t even admit it to myself. On the outside, I was going through my routine like normal. I went to work. I did my chores at home. I enjoyed my grandson. I played with the dog when I wasn’t too tired or in too much pain. I paid my bills. But inside I was sad. I was sad all the time. Even when I was happy, I was still sad. I know that’s hard to explain to anyone who is not gone through depression of any kind.
I told myself you should be grateful. You have a brand new grandson. You have three healthy children. You have a husband who mostly cares about you. You have wonderful parents who are still alive and thriving, despite your mother’s bout with cancer. You have God who never lets you go. You have so much to be thankful for. I knew all that in my head. But my heart kept feeling pain.
My life didn’t have meaning as it once had. I didn’t have any motivation or inspiration to write. God seemed distant, and I know the saying that if God is distant, who moved? I wanted desperately to move forward but I couldn’t. It was like the ocean. When you stand in the sand and the waves lap over your feet and the longer you stand, the more firmly your feet are entrenched in the sand, and after awhile you are buried there.
I felt buried alive. Little by little, I am digging my way out. Some days I don’t cry. Some days I don’t think about what could have been. Some days I say, this day I will take a small step in the right direction. That’s what I did this week. I took a step toward my goal of becoming a successful writer. I’m not saying everyday is going to be brighter now. Some days will still be very dim and grim for me. But at least I’ll let the sun shine in more than I used to.
Right now I am trying for small successes. I realized while replying to another blog lately that my writing successes were much higher in 2014 and have been in decline since then. What’s the difference? Well, for one thing I am writing a whole lot less. For another I am submitting a good deal less as well. Some of my original writing avenues have gone defunct, but in times past when that would happen, I’d find other means and ways to submit to places. I’ve had some emotional setbacks as well. Something akin to depression over empty nesting. It just didn’t set well with me.
When my world was turned topsy turvy two years ago, I re-evaluated my life. I began to think maybe writing wasn’t as important as family and frankly, does anybody even say frankly anymore?- well, it just took a lot of the joy away from my writing that I had before. I began to believe that all the writing successes in the world wouldn’t make me happy when I didn’t have the person in my life who made living worthwhile.
I’ve since had to move on. I had no choice. I didn’t want to move on. In many ways, I still don’t, but getting that old writing drive back has been no easy task. I lost the “oomph” if that’s a word. In other words, I lost hope.
So, I strive for small successes now. Any success is a big success if I’m enjoying what I’m doing and taking some kind of steps to re-invent myself. I have Guardian Angel Kids to keep me going. In some ways, that ezine has saved my writing sanity. I so like writing for kids and exploring the new topics for the stories and articles. That said I have a brand new story in the August edition if you want to check it out. The theme is pets with disabilities.
What do I want to achieve most with my writing? I’d have to say getting my children’s book published. I hope I can do that someday. Until then I’ll move on with my small successes.
The east coast of the U.S. has just been through a snowstorm. It was long, brutal and relentless. It dumped about three feet of snow in much of the area where I live. Some people lost their lives battling it. It bruised me as well. There is virtually no part of my body not aching after spending three full time days shoveling, snow blowing and scraping ice from the sidewalks of the school where I work. I told one of my co-workers that one of my legs doesn’t work anymore. I hobbled home that night. After two days of rest, I finally can walk without a limp, but it still hurts.
I’ve also been through a snow storm of the soul. The light had gone out of my world in a blinding blizzard. It also was long, brutal and relentless. I didn’t know I could hurt so much. I remember listening to a Patsy Kline song, “I love you so much it hurts me” and thinking to myself, I finally know what that song means. After six months of incredible, agonizing pain, I finally can walk without a limp, but it still hurts.
What’s gotten me through this time? God. That’s all I can say. God wrapped his arms around me and let me cry. I still cry. He stripped away all that was false in my life and brought some true comforting friends. When others failed me, he sent angels to hold me up. I recently told somebody that I lost my purpose for living. Well, I don’t know if I’ve totally recovered that purpose, but bit by bit, God is giving me new purposes.
So, I continue my writing quest. I don’t know what this year may hold. It may hold a few more snowstorms, real ones or ones of the soul. I may be brought to my knees again and again. That’s not always a bad thing. I’ve found that when I’ve been broken, there is no way for me to put the pieces back together. Only God can do that. I just have to be the willing vessel.