Friday, April 23, 2010

The Obligation Box

I had a bad day yesterday. It's always easier to blame our tough days on outside circumstances, but I knew deep down that the issue was within me. With rushing around at home and then going to work for five hours, I couldn't sit still and isolate the problem, so I wasted the whole day feeling exhausted, frustrated and angry.

A well-meaning friend asked me yesterday what was wrong, and trying to be helpful, she asked what was making me so tired when I only worked for twelve hours a week. I tried, and failed, to explain the never-ending workload of young children. I can keep up with my kids, my husband, my house, my job, my home business, my friends, my committees and social obligations, but I can't keep up with what I really want to do (writing) and it becomes a cycle of frustration.

I'm slowly cutting things out of my schedule, piece by piece, to make space and time to play with words and improve at what I want to do. People without young kids don't understand the constant interruptions that you cannot predict. Requests for help, fights breaking out among siblings, hunger, thirst, wanting to play on the computer or watch a movie, and many random questions to answer (William just asked, "Do bugs glow in the dark?" and it becomes necessary to stop what I'm doing to answer this question which is ridiculous to me but important to him).

Yesterday I felt like I was stuck in a box of obligations that I had to meet. The box was airless and constricting and I couldn't breathe inside of it. Everywhere I turned, there was something I had to do, and not something I wanted to do. I understand that life is not about me and my desires. I do get that. Everyone has obligations and responsibilities. I just told myself when I broke through the writing wall eighteen months ago, that I would never be without writing again. I would write consistently from that point on, because it gave so much joy to my life.

I have been writing consistently. I've even been getting paid for it. I've had a handful of stories and articles published in the last four months. It's my dream unfolding in front of me, and most days it gives me pleasure and satisfaction. But not on the days when I am so busy I can't see straight, and I have idea upon idea sifting around in my mind, and no time to turn the idea into the written word.

I know somewhere in the recesses of my mind that I have a lifetime to work this out, and that these are very short years when William is home and not in school. It doesn't help me to calm down when in this period of time I want to write. I finally started reading 'Eat, Pray, Love' because the movie is coming out shortly and I didn't bother to read it when it sat on the bestseller list years ago.

Something remarkable happened as I read it last night before bed. A peace came over me as I read Elizabeth Gilbert's soothing words. I felt again that when the time is right I can work on the memoir about my dad that I've been thinking about writing for years. I may feel like I want to write it now, but the words will keep inside of me, and grow, until I'm ready to put them on paper. I believed it last night, and this morning I came up with a daily writing plan that may help me break out of this funk. I know I will continue to be interrupted. I will accept that and not let it stop me. I will make the time to write, because if I don't, I'll continue to feel as frustrated as I did yesterday, and I'm not going to allow that to happen.

No comments:

Post a Comment