I promised when I started this blog not to get into “Dear Diary” territory because the internet didn’t need to know about my personal problems or my dating life and no one wants to read more emo thoughts on the internet. Those are the stuff of private journals, right? Right. I wholeheartedly agree with this statement, still. But, it’s come to my attention, that a problem area in one part of my life has bled into the other. I’ve had a Gestalt moment (what you call a “lightbulb” moment), an epiphany, a revelation, or whatever you want to call it. And in order to explain this I’m going to have to tell you a story.
Some time ago at a party I met a guy—nay, a man —who charmed me and let it be known how much he liked me. We started dating and I was showered with compliments and attention. He told me I was that rare kind of woman who was not only beautiful, but smart and funny and sexy and on and on and on. He treated me like a queen. I felt so secure in this relationship and it was a feeling I’d never had before. “See Emily!” my friend Kathryn told me. “This is how it’s supposed to be!”
And then he cheated on me.
This opened a whole Pandora’s box of other problems I won’t get into. Suffice to say, I was upset. But, it wasn’t that long of a relationship in reality, so I let myself cry for a day, indulged in retail therapy and finished out the holiday season bound and determined to start afresh in the new year. When I told my two of my friends, Milynda and Kate, about what happened they reacted as all female friends do and were supportive. And then they said something that I told them I knew, that I wouldn’t forget, but in reality I did. “Just because he did this does not mean you are not smart and funny and beautiful,” they told me. My response was to assure them that I was a big girl, I could totally handle this, I had it together, blah blah blah.
As the new year started I started online dating, which is interesting (and a topic for a whole other post), but I still found myself frustrated. I complained to my friend Kathryn about the process and the crop of guys. It felt so disingenuous to me and why was that? Match guaranteed me I’d find someone! Why was this experience sucking?!
Well, I was right about one thing, it was disingenuous, but it wasn’t the guys. It was all me.
I missed the validation I got from that guy last year and I started to look for it in all the wrong places and for the wrong reasons and as a result my creative life, the part of my life I find the most fulfilling and rewarding, suffered. I lamented over and over again on this blog how I felt stuck, creatively drained, and I was overwhelmed by playing host to a variety of anxieties.
When I don’t indulge in my creative life, I seek the validation I get there in other forms. Writing makes me feel worthwhile and when I was frustrated with that I sought out other ways (re: boys) to make me feel worthwhile again and that made my writing life suffer even more. What a mess, right?
And now we’re at the part where I explain what I did about it. The thing about this blog is that I document all my experimentation, for better or worse, and some things fail and others seem to work for me. The creative process fascinates me and when starting this I was determined to have this blog be a chronicle of my own process so I could learn a little bit more about myself as a writer. This was a recent revelation, so the things I’m doing now are all experiments to get myself back into that creative mindset.
I read two great books by Steven Pressfield my friend Briana recommended. I cut myself off from distractions and put my dating life on the back burner. I focused my energies on finding my very own apartment, “a room of one’s own” as Virginia Woolf would say. I watched videos about creativity on YouTube, plugged into some good Ted Talks like the sucker I am and reached out to my writer’s group and my writing friend for help with the draft, which they gladly and so generously provided.
And then two crazy things happened. The first; I wrote over 20 pages one day. It just poured out of me. The second; I went on a really nice date with a really nice man (not a boy because I don’t date boys, I date men, an important distinction). Who knows what will come of that date, if anything, but if I never hear from him again I won’t complain about it and if I do I’ll be pleased and I’ll go out with him again. Either way, it’s not my main focus anymore.
Perhaps my mom is right (ugh. AGAIN), if I focus on the other parts of my life that I benefit from, the rest will fall into place.
So, I feel rejuvenated, y’all! I’m back at it. Until next time, I’m out.