My good intentions to read to make myself youthfully happy again (I'll admit by means of escapism that is less expensive on many levels than other means of self-medication) has been an epic failure this week. I still have not read another word of The Awakening.
Today, however, I had a breakthrough. Instead of napping when my baby was sleeping to catch up on the sleep I lost by getting up with another child at 5 a.m., I wrote. I wrote in a productive way, instead of venting and ranting in my journal as I do most days, I wrote a story. The cool thing is it was a story about me, about my life, that was not painful to write. It was definitely fiction, not exactly true in every detail or in the exact timeline (who can remember those details anyway), but the gist of parts of my life is there. Despite the fact that my childhood and young adulthood fairly much sucked, I was able to write a story incorporating parts of it into a really good, thoughtful, not depressing, not bitter, short story, complete with metaphors throughout, tiny details that mattered, and a point to it all. I feel fantastic. I even included my mother as a character, and she didn't suck either. I was kind with her character in the story, which makes me like myself more. (I hope my kids are as kind with me if they decide to write some day.)
I wrote the first two sections and have a plan for the remaining sections. The whole story formed itself for me, metaphors and all.
I have spent most of the last 20 years designing and writing software instead of writing words. For me, writing the story today was a lot like designing software. Once you know you nailed it with the design with all of the inter-related pieces mapped out, you have this awesome sense of achieving perfection, even if it's not perfect, even if everyone else hates it or wants to change it, even if it's not done. I felt that same way about my story today. I can't wait to finish it.
I feel very free today and have joy. I have never been able to write about my family (my parents and siblings, step-parents, step-sibs, step-grandparents, etc.) without feeling pain and crying about it, reliving bad moments, feeling angry with them. It's like breaking your toe a second time. You relive the pain of the first break twice and regret not being careful enough the second time. To purposefully break a toe twice is insanity - that's how it feels to me to write about my family.
To be clear, I don't feel the same way about my kids and husband; even my ex-husband is easy to write about. There are no skeletons hidden there, no bad feelings never discussed, no broken toes.