Rawe-struck

The wonder-filled life of a single older-ish mom.

Archive for the category “Writing”

Helmet Heart … and other thoughts on Valentine’s Day

The other morning, as sleep slipped over the cusp of consciousness, the words “helmet heart” echoed in my head. I tried to grab bits of the dream, wondering what this meant but was left only with those two words and the memory of taking off my bike helmet in the days when I used to bike long distances.

The helmet would have invariably pressed my wavy hair to my head, and I’d run my fingers through the strands to give it some life. On the morning of the helmet heart dream, it occurred to me I’ve very likely been keeping my heart under tough guard the past few years, without fully realizing it. I wondered if it’s time to fluff up my heart a bit, to let it expand to its natural state, even though I have no idea what this means.

No doubt I’ve shielded my heart from romantic relationships since the divorce, but I also wonder how I’ve helmeted it in other ways that I haven’t seen—such as not posting writings because they’re not fully formed yet (like this one) … or not intentionally planning joyful play time as I might define that, not just how Nina would. I don’t know yet what it would look like to fluff up my heart, and that’s ok. Maybe just taking the helmet off will oxygenate the answers.

So, that’s what this quiet Valentine’s day has me pondering. Nina, meanwhile, has been asking all month what this day is supposed to be about anyway. At the age of eight, she is straddling those days between innocence and awareness on so many levels, including what it feels like to have a crush, but this year she is strong in her stance that Valentine’s Day is a downright creepy celebration. She’s asked repeatedly, “Who celebrates a holiday where a baby flies around in a diaper shooting people with a bow and arrow?!” I don’t have good answers for her, either, on that one. I only know that, like most holidays certainly including Thanksgiving, love and gratitude should be daily practices and not relegated to one day of recognition.

My only other wish regarding this day is that some things remain immune from modernization, and that I finally wake-up and break-up with Pinterest.

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Back in the Sandbox

With summer officially over, I face the fact that—just like last summer—I gave my writing the silent treatment. I posted no blogs, which is doom and gloom because the publishing industry experts all say that if you want get your book published you’ve got to have a lot of followers and you don’t get followers if you don’t put stuff out there for people to find. And follow.

So I default to flogging myself with brutal mental beatings, chastising my lack of commitment and creativity. Then, sufficiently battered, I switch to allowing excuses to whine their way in—”but I’ve had a lot of clients,” blahdee blahbitty blah.

But if I’m honest with myself, I’ll fess up that I’ve felt stuck, voiceless, and when I’ve tried to write the words feel stiff. I start thinking about the followers, and can’t imagine I have anything of value to add to the din of voices out there vying for cyber attention. So I hide and don’t write, and I forget that this doesn’t need to be such serious business. I forget that my intention when I began Rawe-Struck was to be raw, and full of wonder, and that if even just one person felt a “me too!” connection with what I put out there, that would be enough.

I forget how playing with words lights me up. And I stop playing when I become self-concious about who’s watching.

I think about what I would tell Nina if she strayed from a practice she loved doing. The answer comes simply and clearly, “Just begin again.” I would advise her not to waste anymore time paralyzing herself with self-woven restraints of guilt or worry about what other people think. I would tell her to jump in and rediscover the joy of why she wanted to do that thing in the first place. Just begin again.

I would tell her that sometimes we lose sight of our path, and spend day after day poking about in the weeds. And a lot of fast-talking should-experts live in those weeds. We scurry around in circles with them for awhile, and figure we’ll get back on path someday.

I might tell her about this time right now, when I forgot about why I loved writing, and that my “someday” became a season. And that I realized that was ok. I’ll tell her I had the courage to return and this time—because I thought of how I would talk to myself if I were talking to her—I said, “Welcome back!” instead of “It’s about time, loser.”

I’ll tell her I even said to myself, “You’re right on time, sweet-cheeks. Now get back in that sandbox of words and play!”

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