This might be because my life got suddenly more peaceful yesterday with the nest getting emptier by one. It might be that reading really good poetry does this to me every g_d time. It might be because I have been ignoring the still small voice that insists â€¦ something. It insists that I have abandoned the thing I love most. It insists that Iâ€™m a frakking dolt. It insists that just because I suck at it doesnâ€™t mean I shouldnâ€™t keep doing it. Or at least attempting to do it.
What harm is there in continuing to take the long, soft look that results in a poem? Who am I hurting if I sit down on a regular basis with no earthly idea what the hell to write? What does it cost me to write bad poetry?
No harm. Nobody dies. It wonâ€™t bankrupt me.
Not writing, though? That might just bankrupt me, spiritually. See, I do accept that Iâ€™m not a good poet. I accept that, and the relief upon accepting it was palpable. My expectations of myself dropped to exactly zero in that department. But the desire to write didnâ€™t go away. In fact, the desire rose up mightily and started kicking the crap out of me on a regular basisâ€¦
Somewhere a long the line I got the message that if you arenâ€™t good at something, you should stop doing it and leave it to the experts.
No, thatâ€™s wrong. The message I got was that if *I* am not good at something, *I* should stop doing it and leave it to the experts. If someone else does something they suck at out of love for doing it, or because they want to improve, or because they simply want to do it, dammit, and why shouldnâ€™t they, I am all for that. Itâ€™s me I limit. Itâ€™s me I talk sternly down to about wasting time and effort and shouldnâ€™t I be doing the laundry instead of daydreaming?
See, this has a root in my history. Itâ€™s a long root. Itâ€™s a root that goes way back to being the kind of fey, dreamy child that couldnâ€™t pay attention to the external world to save her life. I always had my head in the clouds, or my nose in a book. This was not okay in my childhood. Iâ€™m sure many of you had the same messages slung at you on a regular basis. There was no value in canoodling. One must always be productive. Daydreaming was not a virtuous activity.
I remember being told I was a â€˜pipe dreamerâ€™ by a member of my family who will go unnamed here. I can hear his voice, see the disgust on his face as he labeled me. He might as well have branded me, thatâ€™s how much those words hurt. Everything I dreamed for myself was a â€˜pipe dreamâ€™. The message inherent in the statement? You will never be anything you dream of being. You have no right to pursue your dreams. You havenâ€™t got the time to waste on foolishness. You should not dream. You should live in my world where everything is plain and certain and clear and if you donâ€™t live in my world, you are worthy only of my disgust, my namecalling, my rejection of your version of reality.
Was this intentional? Probably not. I know some of this personâ€™s history and I know he suffered mightily at the hands of an abuser. I know that compassion is due him, and everyone like him. But that doesnâ€™t change the facts. I heard that message loud and clear and internalized it.
And today, I asked myself a question.
â€œDo you have to be perfectly wonderful at everything, Feith? Canâ€™t you just canoodle? Have you not earned that right?â€
Yes, I think I have.
â€œJust because youâ€™re not the next Ondaatje does not mean you canâ€™t write. You get that, right?â€
No. I didnâ€™t get that. Not until this moment. Thank you!
Awareness is the key to change. Once Iâ€™ve discovered the root of a limiting belief or behaviour, Iâ€™m pretty good at digging it up, at dealing with it. Sometimes I get wrapped up in resentment and bitterness over how the root got there in the first place.
I want to do the former and not the latter. I want to forgive and move on. I want to acknowledge that I was hurt, because just sweeping it under the rug is not going to help me heal, but I donâ€™t want to do it with anger and lashing out. I just want to accept â€“ yes, this happened. It isnâ€™t happening anymore, and I can do things differently.
Ms. Fey, you are and always will be permitted to canoodle.
x-posted to thedailyfey.com