Saturday, July 27, 2013

Onward and Upwards

Fear crouches in my chest. The voices start up: who do you think you are? Why don’t you get a real job? You are going to embarrass yourself. You should be spending more time with your kids instead of writing.

Really? You guys again? I think.

With my recent recommitment to writing, I feel more like me. More alive. I’m finally, finally doing that one thing that I’ve always wanted to do but been too stuck or afraid or busy to really dive into consistently.

I’m not sure why writing feels easy and fun right now. Maybe it’s because I’m on the fast track to 40’sville and I’m realizing this is it, this is my life. Maybe all those years of therapy are finding kicking in. But wherever this tailwind is from, I’m grateful.
But I’m also scared.

I used to get frustrated when I’d work and work and work on an issue, seemingly moving forward, and then without warning, I’d backtrack. Fear and external challenges would pop up and sometimes I’d sabotage myself. The sabotage usually showed up as overeating, too much television, or isolation.

Then I heard of the concept of the ‘upward spiral.’ The theory is that as we move through life, working on our issues, we move forwards and up, around and around. On the Slinky of life, if you will. We don’t backtrack. But as we circle around, propelling upwards, we revisit old places. Hard places.

As a slowly recovering perfectionist, the idea of backsliding is blasphemy to me. But the idea of spiraling up makes sense. I’m writing and I’m running. Most importantly, I’m cozying up to myself. I’m showing up and showing myself: the awkward parts, the scary parts, the funny parts. All the parts.

I’m cycling up and around.

Last week, someone I care about criticized my writing, and worse, me. Because I believe in kindness, I’m not going to say more about that. But because I also believe in truth telling, I’m going to say that it sucked and my heart hurt. And for about 24 hours, that external, critical voice melded with my internal, critical voice and those voices were freakin’ loud. I doubted myself and the choices I was making in writing and sharing this all with you.

And then I talked to some friends and to my husband. I realized, oh, I bet this is that upward spiral thing again. And I breathed and I slept and when I woke up the next day, I felt a lot better.  

So see, you silly voices? I’m on to you. You saw me circling around and came out to meet me. You even brought friends. If you’re right? If this writing thing doesn’t work out? I can get a job. I can regroup and try something else. But before that, I’m going to give this thing a chance. This one thing that brings me alive, that brings me up and up and up.


  1. Completely unrelated, but if that is a photo of the spiral staircase in your vacation rental this summer, I'm so glad children AND adults survived! ;)

  2. Haha! It was not the same spiral staircase-- that would've been even worse (though also more aesthetically pleasing)!

  3. Your words are delightful, brilliant and inspiring. Thank you for sharing. Vincent

    1. Oh, thank you so much Vincent! Thank YOU for reading!

  4. Love the image of the upward spiral that we're on.

    You are following your heart and facing the fears at the same time!
    How inspiring for those of us who are struggling to dive in.

    1. Thank you Dorota! It's good, scary stuff! : )