For the first time in 2018, I didn’t publish a blog post on a Monday.
And for reasons we’ve previously discussed regarding excessive apologizing, I’m not sorry for this.
At the beginning of 2018, I set a personal and professional goal to write and publish one blog post a week. So another possible title for this post could be: “better late than never”. I do love me some goal-setting and accountability, so here I am; a few days late, but I’m here. I missed you.
Earlier this week on my Monday publishing date, I felt so unmoored. So unmotivated. It could have been jet lag; the time difference between JST and PDT is 8 hours and a tidy little rule with jet lag is to give yourself one day for every hour of time zone change. Last Monday would have been the fifth of an eight-day grace period. I was fortunate to be able to do some in-country travel too to Hiroshima which was both joyful and heavy. In the end, I decided to just roll with the flow of my summer work and travel habits and accept that this week was not my week for writing. As the Japanese say when agreeing with somewhat sad news: “so-u-nanda”.
Being in Japan right now I even have time on my side what with being 16 hours ahead of the West Coast of the USA. I could have written a post on Tuesday and had it be published on Monday. I woke up on Wednesday morning in Japan and thought: “Oh, I didn’t publish this week. Hrm. And so it is.”
The thing is I did try to write. Several times I tried. I took the advice of another coaching friend of mine earlier this year and sat down and wrote a list of 50+ topics I’d like to write about in a Google document so I’d have one topic pre-determined for every week in a calendar year and beyond. I scrolled through that document and waited for the creative process for topic selection to take over. Usually that manifests in one of two ways: a significant “a-HA!” will resonate in my body earlier in the week, effectively self-identifying itself as the topic of the week, or I’ll stare at said digital document, wait for a topic to jump out from the screen, wrap its arms around my heart and guts, and say “YES, LET’S WRITE ABOUT THAT ONE!” But the second method didn’t happen. And as a matter of fact, several “a-HA!” moments came to me, but they all seemed too personal to write about. There’s a sense that they need more time. And when I press on and ask myself: “Is it true that the topics just need more time?” the answer is no. The answer is that I’m afraid to write about them. I’m afraid to be vulnerable.
The writers who inspire me most are those who write honestly and truthfully. Precious little inspires me more than the authentic and vulnerable storytelling of other people, in particular, the honest stories of women. Something that’s been nagging at me recently is the idea of self-censorship in the writing process. I’m trying to straddle the line between being authentic and not over-sharing.
I did manage to get in the habit of sharing one photo from my lush countryside surroundings here in Minamiuonuma-shi in Niigata prefecture in Japan. That seemed doable. Taking photos and documenting the grand sweepingly tall mountains, quaint Shinto temples which protect sacred objects, and vast open scenery of rice and watermelon fields which are blindingly green all on their own without an Instagram filter seemed to speak louder and more beautifully than I could. It felt good to show pictures of the place and I amazed myself that I could lovingly coax myself outside for a run and make and share such beautiful images in a depressed state. But without any authentic words to correlate with the photos, I felt like I was only giving a small part of the real story. What’s worse is that I felt shame in having my discordant feelings about how happy I am to be here at my summer job amongst some of my favorite people in a calm, peaceful, communal, and beautiful setting, and how yet how isolated, disoriented, and alone I felt as the residue of ending a career, saying goodbye to friends, moving, and knowing that I’ve traded regular face-to-face interaction with my beloved community for comments on social media, texts, and maybe a video chat session if we’re lucky enough to be able to coordinate our busy schedules. This is too much to bear. But I must trust that if we are meant to keep in touch then we will.
These residual feelings reminded me that time is ephemeral and they ask the question: “Are you spending your time with people and pursuits that you love?” These days, most definitely yes. It’s just that there are a lot of people in the world and a lot of things I love to do. And because I’m only one woman, I cannot spend time with everyone whom I wish to spend time with and I can’t do all the things RIGHT NOW.
If you’re reading this and you know me, please know that I love you oodles. If we didn’t get to see each other before I left Eugene, then I look forward to meeting wherever we are supposed to meet up next in this big little planet that we inhabit. And if we haven’t seen each other in awhile, I have full confidence that we will meet up happenstance or fierce planning on the part of both of us.
The first “a-HA!” that hit me when I got to Japan is: “You’re here on this planet to live big and make a difference. You aren’t here to play small. You’re here to live authentically and truthfully with and for your People.” I’ll allow the first step in doing that to be admitting to you Beauties that I struggle with 100% authentic written expression on a public platform. I want to be better. The further apart we get, the more I want to keep it real and keep in touch with you. The more we share our struggles by bringing them out in the light, the faster they will be vaporized, disappear, and stop getting in the way of letting us be the people we are meant to become.
One last thing: I finally started reading the book Lean In and it’s chock-full of motivational truths for ambitious women. How have I not read it sooner? Something that really resonated with me was this:
“Self-doubt becomes a form of self-defense”.
BAM. Unpacking this gem is going straight on to the topics-to-blog-about-someday list.
Have you ever struggled will self-doubt and felt ashamed to admit it? I’d love to hear your experience about that or any comments that you might have about this topic.
Breathe and believe, beauties.