Writing Anyway

I’ve been calling it Writer’s Block, in all caps.  It’s been nearly a year since I have written anything here, or any poetry, or anything really.  It is not for lack of time, for I firmly believe that we make time for what we prioritize.  It is not for lack of ideas, since my brain is buzzing all (allllll) the time with ideas, thoughts, analyses, and feelings that need to be parsed, shared, or dumped.

pens

It is obviously not for lack of writing implements.

 

I’m not a hundred percent sure why I haven’t written.  Overwhelm? Well, it has been a pretty momentous year.  Perhaps that’s it.

How about fear?  What if no one reads what I write?  What am I hoping to accomplish, anyway?

I think that last bit is the hardest for me.  I can blithely tell other people “write it anyway” . (Thank you, Martina McBride and Billy Gilman – amazing song.)

 

So now you see why I write, and why I haven’t been writing.

 

I write for that person who says, “Me too.”  I write for that person who needs to hear they aren’t the only one.  Even if I never hear from them, I write because I know the comfort of “me too,” and I believe someone out there hears me.

I write because otherwise the thoughts begin to spill over and become a jumbly mess.

I haven’t been writing because, sometimes, I’ve been concerned I actually am the only one.  I know this isn’t true because I have the blessing/curse/resource of social media and I can suss out “me too” stories like there’s no tomorrow.  But that is logic, and writing for me is anything but logical.

Writing is what I use because we don’t have Dumbledore’s Pensieve.  My pen and my keyboard are my wand and the words and thoughts and feelings are left safely on the page. I can always go back to them, I can always review.  In the meantime, the buzz-buzz-buzz of thoughts in my brain are relegated somewhere safe and secure.

So for today, I will write. Even a small amount.  And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow – I shall remember that it is ok to write small amounts.

And someone, somewhere, may be thinking, “Me, too.”

 

A Little Time Away

I’ve been off Facebook for a month …

I noticed towards the end of January that it seemed I was always on my phone.  And most of that time, I was on Facebook.  Scroll, scroll, pull down to refresh…  Sometimes seeing the same posts over and over, without really reading or enjoying much of what I was seeing.  It was a habit, and it was beginning to turn into a giant time suck.

In the end, I decided that, for the month of February (both my favorite and the shortest month), I decided I would take a Facebook break.  I allowed myself to keep Facebook messenger, so if anyone wanted to contact me directly they could and vice versa.  I also allowed glimpses if my husband shared a photo or story off his own screen, and one afternoon I looked up two candidates for local office because their main websites had good information but not the details I was seeking.  I told a few friends (including cousins I only ever see on Facebook) about the project, but otherwise didn’t advertise it.

No, it wasn’t for Lent.  🙂  But it was the longest time I have voluntarily given up something I otherwise enjoy since I was pregnant and gave up chocolate and caffeine (for Sam) or caffeine (for Becky, who got ALL the chocolate).

I enjoy keeping in contact with my friends and family. I enjoy the opportunity to learn, to reach out, and to share – and Facebook is great for that.  I’ve tried Instagram (nice, but it misses the opportunity for depth), Twitter (great for news feeds and the chance to connect with people I otherwise wouldn’t), and a couple of other short-lived excursions (Google + just seemed confusing).  I keep coming back to Facebook because of its immediacy, the chance for longer conversations, and the opportunities it offers to simply say “me too”.

What did I hope to accomplish?  Well, I wanted to figure out exactly what I enjoy about Facebook.  I wanted to tamp down the habit, however, and get back to using Facebook as an occasional “check in” and update, versus the knee-jerk tic it was becoming.  I wanted to clear out people, businesses, blogs, and other things that I no longer followed. Much like the idea of tossing out any clothing not worn in a year, I wanted to see what I missed the most during this month.  Who, and what, did I really want to connect with?

On Facebook, I’d been doing the social media equivalent of sending out Christmas cards to people with whom I had only the most passing acquaintance – and the price of stamps, or my time and mental energy, was going up.

I deleted my Facebook app, logged off the site on my computer so it wouldn’t be so easy to just type it in (I’d have to go look up my password), and otherwise made things more difficult for myself to accidentally or habitually “click”.  The first few days were the easiest, honestly – I read a lot more books, I chatted with friends I’d intentionally reached out to, and otherwise did more in-depth communicating in ways that mattered.

The last few days have actually been the hardest, knowing the month was drawing to a close.  This is when I took the most careful stock of myself.  Which blogs and businesses did I wonder about?  Which friends’ photos did I most want to catch up on?  Who did I miss?

Here it is, March 1, and my month is over.  I logged in this morning, and looked into some of the groups I belong to.  I checked on some friends and learned of a horrible car accident with potentially life-changing results – and I saw some photos of kids who are NOT allowed to look so grown up.  I saw letters of acceptance, joyous news, and dog stories that were incredibly sweet.  I also spent some time and deleted some businesses and groups I wasn’t sure why I’d added in the first place.  I have more adding and deleting to do over the next few days, but that’s ok.

What I’ve learned over this month is that I really do enjoy the positive aspects of social media.  I like the photos, and the exchange of ideas and news and special moments.  I like the conversations.

But what I’ve also learned is that my time is valuable.  I need to fill it with things that add to my life, whether that’s reasonable and intentional use of social media – or coloring for a while, or spending time with my family, or watching my daffodils grow.  I wrote more this month than I have for a while, and I read lots of books, and I even played some games because I enjoy that, too.  I have learned that intentionally spending my time respects its value, and adds value to everything else I do.

So I’ll still see you on Facebook.  Just not all the time.

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Thinking Thursday – What’s Your Good News?

I have some amazing, positive, upbeat, and giving friends. Today they seem to be flooding my Facebook feed with acts of kindness, generosity and strength. I have cried more than once, looking at these clips, and I thought I’d share some of them.

But first, today’s question:

What Is Your Good News Today?

Here are the stories that have had me so emotional today.

The Hug Lady

First, Fort Hood’s “Hug Lady,” Elizabeth Laird, received some happy mail when former President George W. Bush heard she was in poor health. He wrote it to encourage her, and to applaud how she has supported our Soldiers (and families) here.  I have met this lady myself and she has hugged my husband three times. The story about how the community is repaying her vast kindness just keeps getting better. The photo in this post also makes me smile because it reminds me that we once had a President who truly loved his troops (and had to make hard decisions), and that he has not forgotten us.  The video shows her joyful smile. 

No Boundaries

 

Then there is a story of Haben Girma, a deaf-blind woman who has graduated from Harvard Law School. My sister-in-law is blind, and she has done many activities similar to the ones in this story. She has also received her PhD in archaeology, which may seem like a “sighted” field.

 

As another reminder of kindness, my friend Chuck (himself a kind and giving person), posted this link about Kid Rock surprising “his biggest fan”. The joy in this kid’s face is palpable.

 

Chuck also posted about a high school football team manager who has autism, and his team’s sweet actions. I love how the opposing team celebrates, too.

 

One last one –

 

In a Mood

The sky is gray this Wednesday morning, and much-needed rain is hopefully coming our way.  But the weather is also creating havoc with our cats, one of whom handles weather changes very poorly and will meow for hours. The weather is also creating a tiredness and grumpiness that has all of us feeling like we are itchy inside our own skins.

Everything is getting on my nerves.

It’s not been the best morning.

I know you’ve been there.

Someone posted a feel-good story on Facebook, and it made me smile. And lightened the “itchy, twitchy” feeling a little bit.  So I thought I’d share what I’ve seen so far this morning that has helped me, in the hopes it might help someone else as well.

First, a man who mourns his wife of 65 years by attending her grave daily, talks with a fallen servicemember and tends his grave as well for the family who can’t be there every day.  You can read it here.

This site exists.  For all the comics you miss reading.

I don’t know why, but this article about a news anchor suing over a toy hamster makes me laugh.  I can see why she’d be annoyed, and I’m not sure why they named the hamster for her, but it still makes me laugh.

Or how about this one?  How not to get a job.  And why texting personal photos should be done very, very carefully.

Wonder what your cat would text you if he could?  Read about Mittens.

Let me know what kinds of funny or weird news you find today, or what makes your day go a little easier.  In the meantime, I’m going to go give some lavender to He Who Meows.

He’s really a good cat…just out of sorts today.