Feb. 20, 2022
It’s Sunday morning, it’s cold outside, and I really don’t feel like doing much of anything.
I’ve become hooked on the game Wordle. Have my sisters to thank for that. Lol. I am very happy that they introduced me to it though — it’s my early morning addiction and I can’t wait to see how I have done compared to them. What I love about Wordle is that it is a relatively quick game; solve the word of the day and you’re done. Once I’ve solved it and shared my score (usually 5/6, sometimes 4/6) I am happy to get on with the rest of my day. I don’t waste any time thinking about mistakes I made or if I can do better on the next challenge — it’s done, and that’s it until I open it up the next morning.
I also like the brief connection with my sisters first thing in the morning. Most days we only share our scores, but occasionally we add a few words of conversation. It’s a small thing, but a good thing.
This week I began writing again. For real. It has been a long, long struggle to get back to wanting to write. For so many years I just pushed writing aside, choosing to do anything else, where once upon a time I did anything I could to find any extra scrap of time that I could use to indulge my passion.
When I sat down at the keyboard for the first time this past week I was amazed at how familiar it felt, how absolutely lovely it was to see words appearing as I typed them. I don’t even care if most of them are garbage — I’m just so happy to be doing something that makes me happy. For years I’ve treated myself as a failure for not having made a successful career out of my writing; I wouldn’t write because I judged myself too harshly.
Then, I read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, and I realized just how much I missed writing. Words make me happy. Stringing words together in sentences makes me ecstatic. Joining sentences together into paragraphs, into pages, into chapters and essays makes me positively starry-eyed. For too long I’ve been focused on the wrong thing — trying to impress others, to seek validation in their opinions — when, really, I only ever had to worry about myself.
This past summer I boxed up all but a few of my manuscripts, my files of story ideas, my files of weird news articles, strange phrases gleaned from conversations, images clipped from magazines, words scrawled on bits of napkins, receipts and corners of pages torn from notebooks, because I had given up on myself as a writer. It was something I tried, I told myself, something else that I had failed at.
I think when I did that a switch got stuck somewhere inside me — like a light switch that is stuck halfway between on and off. The light will flicker intermittently until someone comes along and flicks it all the way one way or the other. All the empty space in my office that had been filled for so long with pages and pages of words that I had written kept flickering in my mind’s peripheral vision, like that cluster of stars in the night sky that you only see when you’re not looking directly at them.
Thank God, thank the muses, thank the Divine, thank the guardians, guides and angels — thank the Universe — that I decided to flip the switch to on.
I like feeling happy again.