No good words

I haven’t written in a while.

Honestly, I haven’t felt like writing.

That’s a really big thing for me to admit, because no matter what’s going on in my life, good or bad, happy or stressful, I’ve almost always been able to turn to the page. Even if I couldn’t verbalize it in person — and I’ve never been good with public speaking in that way — I could always write it out.

But lately I just haven’t been able to find the words. I don’t know why.

I’ve been blaming it on school. I’ve finally graduated with my new degree — yay! — and for a while I felt myself avoiding writing because it reminded me of school and projects and homework, words said with a heavy sigh. Though school was for the most part rewarding and good, it was also a huge mental drain. It took a lot of intense focus. So when I finished, I think I felt like I needed to take a break for a while. Rest. Rejuvenate. Recharge. All those good ‘r’ words.  🙂

However, it’s been over 6 months since I finished school. So why am I still searching to find the words?

It’s been 6 years since I got laid off from my job and (after searching for a long time) made the choice to go back to school. Six years since I moved out of my beloved apartment, boxed up all my things and moved in with relatives so that I could save some money while I figured out what to do. Six years of living out of boxes and feeling like a nomad.

I feel like I’ve been boxed up all that time. And now that I’m done with school, I feel this intense desire to get back out there, to find a way to afford a place of my own, so that I can break out of the box, you know what I mean?

There’s this amazing episode called “Hush,” from a show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and during that episode the main characters (and all the people in the entire town of Sunnydale) suddenly lose their voices and ability to verbally communicate with one another. Their voices are literally stolen by a very creepy group of creatures called the Gentlemen. Everyone’s voices are boxed up so that they can’t scream when the Gentlemen come to get them. (Seriously creepy, but such a powerful episode about finding ways to communicate with one another when you can’t seem to find the words. And you’ve got to be impressed with an episode that is almost completely without verbal dialogue but still holds your rapt attention from start to finish.)

In the end — spoiler alert! — the only way everyone can get their voices back is if Buffy can break in to their lair, find the box of voices, and smash it to bits, releasing everyone’s voices and her own in a massive scream at the top of her lungs.

This may be a silly comparison, but… sometimes I feel like that. Like I’ve been packed away in a box for the past six years, and I need to break free so that I can find my voice again and — like Buffy and her primal scream — let it out.

Then, like the title of my blog, move FORWARD in some positive fashion.

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Waiting for Captain Picard to say “Engage.”

After graduating from college, I wanted to start making regular posts again. I was excited at the thought of extra time in my evenings where I might be able to do other things, like write. I couldn’t wait for the day to arrive when I could jump back in.

You know… it’s tougher than I thought. To jump back in.

Writing’s something that comes naturally to me, much more than, say, public speaking (no, thank you). I thought I’d fall back into writing immediately, no problem. So much to say, so many stories to tackle.

But I just feel so disconnected. Not just to blogging, but to everything.

Maybe it’s a side effect of going back to school. I spent the past 3 1/2 years in the mindset of “keep your head down and get it all done.” There was a ton of work and homework and late nights, some stress, some fun and enjoyment, but mainly just a lot of deep focus.

I spent so much time shoving everything else to the side. Writing, singing, going to the movies, spending time with friends, spending time with family (outside of the holidays, I mean), taking care of myself and my health, you name it, I put it on the backburner. That mentality got so deeply ingrained, I feel like I don’t know how to let go of it. Like someone who goes undercover for a couple years and when the final bust goes down, what are they supposed to do next? How are they supposed to let go of the persona they’ve been playing for two years? How do they get back into their own headspace?

I haven’t figured out how to do that yet.

It feels like I have all these ideas about what I’d like to do with my time, but I’m so used to telling myself, “No, there’s no time for that right now, wait until after school is done.” It’s gotten so that I don’t know how to rev myself up to dive in and tackle some of these ideas.

I figure the thing is to just do it, just open a book or read through old story notes or join a group, anything to get involved again. No pressure or schedule about it, just see what energy stirs up and where my thoughts and ideas take me. See what I find myself getting passionate about enough to make the time for it.

But it’s more challenging than I thought. I find myself feeling a bit aimless, like I know there’s something out there I should be doing but I haven’t gotten to it yet. Maybe it’s a side effect of this extra-long-and-lingering winter we seem to be having this year. Maybe it’s a sign that I need a change of venue, something outside of Wisconsin and Illinois, someplace new to invigorate my senses again. I wish I knew what I needed.

I feel like I’m trying to figure it out.

In the meantime, I did say I’d try to post messages with a more positive slant to them, so here’s one:

Happiness is… the kindness of a stranger.

Today I stopped at the grocery store for a few items, and while I was bagging some onions, my scarf got caught on the edge of the bin and knocked a few onions off the stand, sending them rolling across the floor. I made some sort of noise of surprise and mild annoyance, and bent down to pick up the small mess. Another customer walking by joked about how that’s happened to her too and very kindly helped me retrieve the runaway onions from the floor.

It’s so silly, because it’s such a simple moment. But more and more it seems people get caught up in their own worlds (see above commentary about my own ‘stuck’ life right now, LOL) and they stop paying attention to one another out there in the day-to-day environment. That woman could have walked right on by with her cart and left me to take care of the issue myself. It was only about 2 or 3 onions, no big deal, really. I was perfectly capable of dealing with it, but instead she took time to help me out. In doing so, her friendly remarks and generosity in the moment really stuck with me the rest of this day.

So, thank you, Kind Stranger. You brightened my day. I hope someone does the same for you.

Catching Up, Part 2

In my last post, I talked about the physical and emotional challenges faced during the first month of my new workout experiment.

Amidst grief over the loss of a close friend, stress from taking three classes, and the struggle in returning to exercise after a 6-month break, I made it through “Month 9” of the workout and lost 5.5 inches from various areas of my body. Not a bad start.

That covered late January to late February.

What happened in month 2?

Another Update on My Progress. (click to read more)

Choices are everything

This was not going to be the subject of my next post.

I was going to be all organized and talk about the workout I’m doing and give a breakdown of each DVD and what it contains, and then have a post talking about ‘month 9’ and how it went and how I’m now on ‘month 8,’ all setting up the stage (so to speak) for semi-regular posting about my progress with all of that. I clung to that plan, making time to write it all up. It was going to be so structured and… blah blah blah.

But then today happened.

Actually, this week happened, and all of those plans went right out the window. (For now.)

What happened today?

I decided NOT TO WORK OUT.

*gasp*

*cue record coming to a screeching halt*

What?

I’m on a journey to lose weight and get in better shape and I deliberately chose not to work out? How is that possible? That’s not how this works! I have to get off my butt and get moving! I’m such a lazy bum!

No.

As with most things in life, it’s more complicated than what it seems on surface level. Since I’m all about digging past the surface level, I’m going to talk about why it’s more complicated. At least, why it’s more complicated today.

CLICK TO READ MORE