Some days are darker than others. When you wake up and immediately want to go back to sleep again. You wage war within your mind, gentle encouragement that eventually escalates into forcing yourself to sit up and go to the bathroom. Especially in these mornings, that are dark and cold, staying under the covers seems like the better option. Cocooned, safe.
Except that I have so many things I want to do. Many things that need to be done. So even though I need to be compassionate with myself on these days, an edge of frustration creeps in too. I have to forgive myself for days like this. On the outside, I appear to be doing okay, even well. I’m doing this challenge, I’m posting something every day which is a complete turnaround from last month when I wrote barely anything. My soul feels a little lighter, knowing that I’m writing more than I have for some time.
I have to be kind to myself, because this year has been hard. I’ve grown rougher edges, even though inside I’m still soft. The tone of my anxiety has changed, to the extent where I’ve woken up a few times with mild panic attacks. I regret not being a better friend, not being able to keep up with people how I used to. I’m more cautious, more private about what I share with people. Mostly because of that insidious thing we all catch from time to time: shame. Sometimes I’m afraid of myself and what lives inside me, all these hidden places that bubble up when I’m not looking. The strangest thing is that writing is a form of being vulnerable, exposing parts of ourselves, peeling back the layers to see what there is. Yet I’m afraid of it. Still – I share. I grab a thread and follow it to its source.
I still look at what others share and marvel at their courage. I know what it’s like to put so much of yourself into something you’ve created and feel exposed, vulnerable, yet still having that jolt of adrenaline when you send it out into the world. Courage isn’t just big, selfless acts. Courage can be small, sometimes unnoticed. Courage is in the smaller act of pressing the ‘publish’ button. Especially when you’re afraid of how something will be received. We have to manage that fear, as writers and artists, because if we don’t, it might freeze us. I have had times when I’ve hesitated to press that button. I never regret publishing though, because those posts we put out there that are hard to write and scary to publish are our hearts showing.
My heart tells me, always, to try again. At the end of those days when I’ve been wading through mud to get back to myself, I don’t turn away from the darkness, but stare it in the face, turn on the light, and try again.
‘Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.’ – Mary Ann Radmacher.