I’ve been in a creative cocoon lately–and by that I mean a cramped-ready-to-crack-open cocoon. Not the earlier more restful stage.
Whenever I take a break from writing, I fret over what my next post will be–will it live up to the anticipation and suspense of such a long silence? I mentally sort through my various ideas and toss each one down like a mediocre photograph. None good enough. None quite the right re-entry stance I want to take. It seems silly. Sit down and start typing. Do not over analyze who might be reading or what they’ll think or what the words you write will say about you. Remove the you and just GO.
Here I am in this moment now. Feeling fresh wings unfurl. Feeling newness as energy moves through channels stretched to their fullest. Coursing strength reaching from wing tip to wing tip, the head-spinning exhilaration of a new balance point.
One of the ripple effects of social media is that we have the sense that we’re seeing into people’s lives, but don’t often stop to think about what we aren’t sharing with each other. We’re quick to share our triumphs, the great food we cooked or ate, and once in a while our “FML” moments. But we rarely share our own shortcomings. We leave out the painful moments we cause for ourselves or others. We edit out the words we wish we hadn’t said to our housemate, the looks we give and receive that can cut to the core, the dropped ball at work, feelings of emptiness and confusion. The desolate & dejected moments in life.
The literature I appreciate most, isn’t afraid to go there. To take the reader to the darkest moments of humanity, admitting to a lover that the love is gone (or wasn’t ever there), the loss of innocence and leaving of home, the slow disintegration that drug abuse can be.
I don’t know how to keep moving the pen in my times of darkness. How to take the muddled feelings and transform them into something that’s comprehensible and worth reading. Of what value is one’s experience in the dark? Is it worth writing in these moments or should one wait until their out and then looking back describe what it felt like to grope around in the dark, hoping that others’ experience will be improved for having read it. I know there are times when writing should be for oneself. I get into this confused state where all I can do is stuff sweets or savories into my mouth and make excuses not to go to yoga—-it’s not pretty, but it does taste good. The net result is that I feel totally dazed. It’s hard to imagine going on in that mind state and never shaking my head and clearing the haze. Luckily, I do.
There is a lot of beauty on the burgeoning horizon. The last year, plus a few months, have brought the most change to my life that I’ve experienced yet. Looking over my shoulder I see a difficult path, rocky with lots of ups and downs. During this time, I’ve learned the map of a new home city. I’ve made new friends and explored new circles. I’ve said goodbye to a first love, and swallowed the softness in my heart. I’ve stretched my wings in a job that I feel more comfortable calling an apprenticeship because it’s so multifaceted. I’ve travelled across the country with my family to attend my Grandpa in his final travels hopefully to an eternal home where Grandma awaited him with raviolis cooking on the stove.
Now I sit in my new apartment. It feels spacious and sunny and full of fresh air and it has a BIG kitchen. I live with one of my best friends who I’ve known for the last 10 years. I start at SF State in two weeks in creative writing. I’m excited about school. Still excited to live in this city. Still excited about my job–the practice it affords me the opportunity to experience and grow in, the wonderful people I get to meet and know, the skills it is teaching me, the opportunity to learn even more, the boss I respect so deeply.
I’m filled with gratitude for this moment. I acknowledge that it’s the dark muck, the lack of clarity that makes these moments feel so crystalline. I pray that in this next year I’m able to find the space to focus. To further cultivate skills. To throw myself into the opportunities before me with success and to find stillness within the busyness.
As I emerge from the cocoon I’ve been cramped up in, I feel the urge to test these new wings. To go on an energy spending spree and start relearning French, play my flute, bake and cook up a storm, tend to my pile of mending, and read at an open mic.
But instead I think I’ll sit on my hands and retain this energy for a time. Focus where I need to most and in the evenings when I find the quiet spaciousness just sit back and enjoy. Let the list making and to-do-checking stop for a bit. Enjoy the new place. The new people. Enjoy the feeling of fingers on keys or of turning the page in a book. The little mini retreat that allows us to repeat our rebirth each day. We rise and are reborn we live our day. We go into our cocoon, we sleep and emerge again.
I pray that I can honor the cycle.