|Photo courtesy of Sex and The City the Movie|
I stopped writing. I stopped writing in my journal and for the most part it really is a daily practice. I may miss a day here or there which means I was either running behind that morning or super tired that night, but other than that it was a daily practice. Then I stopped.
I would look at my teal leather bound journal. I’d look at the black, blue, and gold inked pens and walk away. I was tired of writing. I was tired of keeping a written account of what was going on in my life over the past couple of months because those were hard, challenging, painful, hurtful things. I was tired of writing those things and I had totally rationed that if I didn’t write them then it would be like those things didn’t and weren’t happening.
Then I had a thought. What if I chose to change what I wrote about? What if I chose to change the story I was writing, pulled the shade down on the glare of the challenges and then focused on the positive things that were visible in the softer glow?
|Photo courtesy of Hans Neuman|
I don’t know about you, but for me, sometimes it can be both easy and convenient to go with what life throws you. It can be easy to be so ingrained with reality, accepting each circumstance for what it is and telling yourself that as long as you leave the circumstance as fact and don’t develop opinion or feeling it’s not negative and therefore you’re incapable of becoming pessimistic or negative yourself. Sounds good right? Well it’s hogwash. A pessimistic film was coating my life and I didn’t want to write about it. I didn’t want to acknowledge that I was not doing so well in maintaining a positive outlook.
In fact, I considered starting to write in a new journal. My oh so adorable east coast nephew gifted me a cute journal with the Eiffel tower this past Christmas and it seemed perfect for writing a new story, a happy experiences and thoughts only kind of story.
Then I had another thought.
What if I just wrote more happy stories and thoughts in the teal leather bound journal? What if I started changing my story on the back of the same pages that continued the words and writings of some not so awesome stories? What if I let one book contain the one story of me? That’s what the journal was doing. It was one book holding one story of one person who had turned to serious compartmentalizing her life experiences as a way to get by and push forward, freakishly afraid of what would happen if she stopped.
The story I was writing was a draft. I could change it. I could change what I focused on and how much of the story focused on certain things. It wasn’t the final copy. I pulled out the journal, went for the gold inked pen, and started writing. I changed the story line and started the revisions for a new draft.
|Photo courtesy of Emily Tebbetts|
Your life is in constant draft form. Certain chapters may have already been written, but you still have the liberty to revise how they will be communicated. The divorce, the cancer diagnosis, the death of a parent in your formative years, the death of a child in their formative years, the infidelity within the relationship, have all happened. But you decide whether the book of you becomes the book about those instances, whether you become those instances, or if they become part of you and part of the bigger story.
Other chapters are being written. Right now even as you read this, today, is a page of your life for a chapter in it. The commute to work that resulted in a flat tire, the phone call that has you reading this blog as you avoid booking a ticket to see your ailing parent who has taken a turn for the worse, the spilled skinny chai latte on the no longer perfect Macy’s charge card interview outfit, the finding out via text that your partner won’t be home tonight and needs “space” is being written now. Even to this I say the page ends when you go to bed tonight and even in those few conscious moments you can revise the draft and choose how you will communicate the day’s events. And don’t even get me started on the pages that have yet to be written.
Our lives are our stories and stories are meant to be told. They bear witness to our existence and the existence of those with whom we connect to along the way. If there needs to be a change in our stories, in our lives, in our connections, in the witness statement, then who better to change it than us? Who better to say this draft is not headed towards my purposed end and say from where can I start a new?
|Photo courtesy of MILK Photography|
I want to encourage you this week to look at your life as a series of drafts. Some chapters in your drafts you may be perfectly satisfied with. In fact I hope that is the case. I pray that some chapters have been written that tell the story of you exactly the way you want it to be told, the awesome marriage, the 17 hours of labor that resulted in the child who truly taught you what it means to love, the peace you made when you were not able to have children and then adopted some of the most amazing children in your city or town, the business you started that brings you joy, the community of friends you took years to curate and bring you joy, how you wandered from your faith and then wandered back to find that it was simpler than the doctrines you were inundated with ever made it out to be, how you embraced being a woman, a woman with a disability, a multiracial woman, etc. I pray to God there are some awesome final draft chapters that bear witness to your grit, tenacity, hope, dedication to being, and commitment to LIVE-ing.
However, if there are chapters you find that do not tell that part of your story that way you need and want for it to be told, please go revise it. Get out the red ink pen and start the circling, strike throughs, squiggly lines, big x’s, etc. Start a new draft that better reflects you holistically and humanly. Keep writing. Keep LIVE-ing.
|Photo courtesy of Rachel Follett|