WriteTogether Reflection: Week Ten

The prompts from this week provoked much reflection and emotion, however, my mental capacity has been limited and this hindered my writing quite a bit. I also struggled to stay focused on the prompts, partially because my brain has felt like a slug but also because there is so much going on in the world around me that I struggled to keep myself focused. I found myself needing to take a few moments to write about other things before I could get into the prompts, and at first I was annoyed by this. I had to remind myself that this was another opportunity to practice refocusing, regrounding, and restarting.

I don’t think it is a waste of time to use the time I set aside for this writing journey to write about the world and its pains. I know that it is okay to have other things to write about besides the prompts that are laid out for the week, and that it is okay if the prompts don’t resonate from time to time. I have an expectation for myself though, and sometimes that’s tough for me to release.

When I feel myself moving away from what I set out to do, my instinct is to power back in and just stubborn myself into returning. Something that has been helping me since I noticed this pattern and how unhelpful and exhausting it is, has been calling myself into practice.

When I notice myself moving away, or notice that I’ve steered off course. I pause and take a breath. I imagine I am an investigative journalist, asking gentle and curious questions to help uncover what’s behind the detour.  Sometimes the detour is necessary, sometimes I really do need to take a little time to go off the map and dig into something or step away for a little bit. Sometimes it is just something shiny that caught my attention and there’s nothing more to it. And sometimes it is my inner me, trying to push me away from getting too close to something I really need to explore more deeply. Honestly as cheesy as this probably sounds, sometimes I imagine I am making a documentary of the moment and mentally narrate “was she just taking a little break, or was there something else going on?” or “someone with trauma from XYZ might have trouble talking about this, does that have something to do with her hesitation to answer the question?”

It makes me laugh, because it feels so silly, but it also takes the shame out of it and makes it easier for me to be gentle with myself and attend to what is going on and what I need to be taking time with. I feel less like a failure, and less like ADHD is taking over my life. And more like I can move myself back to where I was going without dragging along unnecessary weight. Even when the “where I was going” needs to shift, as it does from time to time, this practice has helped me immensely these last few weeks and I think it is one I will continue.

These last ten weeks have been stretching me to engage with myself and my writing differently than I usually would during these writing journeys. I have appreciated being part of this writing journey, even though it hasn’t been without its struggles and big feels. I don’t find myself needing to be comfortable in the same ways as I used to, which makes it easier for me to tolerate emotional upheaval when it comes instead of letting it get me off track. I hope this means I am going to be worrying less about my comfort and more about the truth of things. Finding peace and joy, in my experience anyway, can really only come through facing the truth.

As we leave this year behind, I hope we can also leave behind our need for comfort over the truth.