September 23, 2016

Journal Entry, Dated September 19, 2016

Journal entry, dated September 19, 2016

We are into the fall routine. It is full, and I worry about dropping the ball on so many little details, and yet in the evenings I flop on the couch, or the bed, or a chair. I stop working, I stop thinking. I hold my phone too close to my face. I check Twitter and Instagram, then Facebook. I cycle through. I play Candy Crush, use up my available lives, and check all the sites again while I wait for the next life to load.

I am not proud of this.

I read many interesting things online - recipes, life-hacks, personal essays, posts of people I admire from afar. I measure their lives against my own. Then, to make myself feel better about all the holes and gaps, I measure my life against the people I don't admire, the people who irk me, who have hurt me in the past - I keep them available for this purpose.

It's a game in which we're all losers.


I am not writing much these days. I am not journaling, I am not blogging, I am definitely not working on anything remotely close to a creative project - even though I have three (3!) ideas perpetually percolating.

I am not writing creatively because I don't know how to finish the things. I have beginnings - settings, characters, crises - but no resolution. I have form and content but no confidence in my stamina to make it to the end.

I am not blogging because the internet overwhelms me. I am afraid of judgment, of conflict, of causing offence (to some people, not all), of being bullied (by those whose opinions I don't expect to change). I feel sure that all the things I would say have already been said by someone else, somewhere else, in a better way.

I am not journaling because I vacillate between, "I have nothing to process!" and "That sh*t is too scary to put on paper! Writing it down would make it REAL!" Which I think is what my 30s are going to be about - feeling like my life is fairly boring and mostly together and then realizing, "Ah hell naw - here comes another wave of overwhelming emotions and/or pressing weight of life..."

Here are some specifics:

  • We are applying to be foster parents.
  • This fall, he is speaking publicly for the first time about living with a mental illness. 
  • I will also be sharing about living with someone who has a mental illness. 
  • (Side note: I've realized that I prefer the term "mental health diagnosis" because 90% of the time he isn't actually ill and while his diagnosis is an unchanging fact, his "wellness" is not often in the "ill" category.)
  • We continue to navigate the stressful world of finances, though it is less and less stress or conflict between us, for which I am grateful.
  • We have deliberately chosen to keep my work/job load at 'part-time,' but I feel guilty for not making more money to help pay off my school debt. 
  • I am often jealous of my parent friends, and of my single friends, and any of my friends that seem to be making big strides in their lives (at the same time, this sometimes gives me hope that such things are possible). 

Fall hasn't quite arrived at the beach...

I think I'm ready to write again. I'm clearly ready to journal.

I think I'm ready to blog. We've had a lot of curiosity about the fostering process so far - maybe I'll write about that.

And the creative projects...well, it's good to have goals.


Deanna said...

I've also been overwhelmed by the internet lately, and have been trying to disconnect. But then I break the fast and am reading this great blog post I wouldn't otherwise be reading! Is not engaging in social media the same as... not having an answering machine ten years ago? Thanks for this post Beth...!

Beth said...

Thanks, Deanna!

Yeah, the internet is a tricky thing...I don't think that unplugging completely is feasible/the best option for most of us in this day and age. I do, however, feel convicted that my personal action/changes need to involve deleting some social media apps from my phone, and intentionally putting my phone away for portions of the day/night. I think those two choices would go a long ways towards changing my habits (and the related unhealthy emotional cycles).

Jessica Versteeg said...

Thanks for sharing, Beth. I'm sad that you feel intimidated out of writing because I always enjoy your perspective, but I know the Internet is a place where people feel like they have permission to be ugly people and bully or at the very least communicate unkindly.

I felt the same way when it took like what felt so long for us to conceive -- everyone else's lives were moving forward and we were just waiting, like a purgatory. And now I find myself jealous of friends who were able to do seminary while I started a family. I'm sad by how easy i find it to be discontent!

Beth said...

Thanks, Jess... the intimidation piece is one I need to let go of, I think - to be willing to be challenged in appropriate ways, and to trust that if bullies come my way, I'll figure out what to do. :)

And yes! Discontent is so easy to slide into. I am trying to work at cultivating contentment, and some days it goes very well. Others, not as much :)