Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gasping for air

Once upon a time, I romanticized writing. In my fairy tale world, the muse was best inspired by candlelight and an oak roll-top desk. 

Partially, that was my excuse not to write. I've learned over the years that pretty good prose can happen at a coffee shop, or in my dungeon. In the summer at the cabin, or in the winter at my rented duplex. With or without Diet Coke, though the addition of whiskey sometimes helps. I can even squeeze in a few paragraphs while waiting for my stepdaughter after school. Or I can spend an entire weekend locked in a small trailer and still produce quality work.

I understand this takes some of the romanticism out of the craft, and am certain my husband will immediately begin disassembling the office he built for me in the basement so he can house his sports memorabilia. 

But let's be honest. My muse doesn't really care if its hanging out in my kitchen or the trendiest coffee shop in Edmonton (but if anyone knows what this is, let me know - I do enjoy good coffee.)

What my muse does care about - whether he looks like Dean Winchester or Jeffrey Dean Dalton - is that I take care of me. Physically, mentally and emotionally. When one of those factors isn't in peak form, my writing suffers.

The physical one is easy to figure out. I don't need the scale to remind me I've gained some weight since the wedding almost two months ago. And in some ways, it's an easy fix. Today (hurrah) I began working out again and have revisited the program that helped me lose 30 pounds in the first place. Baby steps, I know.

Mental and emotional health, however, are a bit harder to assess. First you have to figure out what's wrong.

And then - slowly - take care of the problems.

It's that part I sometimes struggle with. 

I'm not great at knowing when to let go. But why fight for something that doesn't want to be fought for? Why make an effort when it isn't returned? As my friend Rocky would say: make a list of what needs to be fixed. And then breathe.

I realize I've been holding my breath for the last two months. Tip-toeing around the issues that have been bugging me. Forgiving when it hasn't been earned. Feeling guilt for things beyond my control. The naysayers have made me think I shouldn't follow my heart, when truly, it's never steered me wrong.

I'm breathing now - and as I take deep gulps of fresh air, I'm starting to see what I've been missing. I covet toxins, because change is just too scary to face. I accept being walked on, because it's easier that way. I've held on to relationships too long, for all of the wrong reasons. Cared too much about what people think - when really, the only person I need to please is me.

My muse hasn't been impressed. 

Now, he's pushing me to shed those toxins and take deeper breaths. 

My reward is a greater sense of focus, better writing, more personal satisfaction. And ultimately, a healthier and happier me.

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