The Music Inside Me

During the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, I began to write my trilogy- the fictional story that’s been in my head for years now. I started in March and by summer time I had over 100,000 words written and three very rough and skeletal drafts.

Having my eye on the prize kept me motivated. The prize would be a finished and published product. I wasn’t too preoccupied about getting it published. If no one picked it up, I’d self publish through Amazon. My main goal was to get that music out. Like Elizabeth Gilbert says in Big Magic, if you don’t get your story out, someone else will! She then talks about a story that had been in her head, and she dragged her feet and then someone wrote and published the exact same story. I didn’t want that to happen. Also, Wayne Dyer says to not die with the music still inside you. This story was my music and I would do anything to get it out. Dying with your music still inside you sounded dreadful and sad.

Shamefully, I’ve only written a few thousand words since the summer of 2020. Afterwards, my work password was always bestseller2022 or published2022, or something to that effect. While it was always in the back of my mind, I had lost most of the motivation I had in the beginning.

This year it hit me. It doesn’t matter, and maybe Wayne Dyer’s quote doesn’t apply. The summer of 2020 was probably the most therapeutic time in my life. I had just hit my one year and narrowly escaped going back to drinking. If I had, I know that none of this would have happened. The pandemic left us hunkered down with our family, and while that was kind of nice, there was an underlying fear and sadness. During this time, I wrote for hours everyday, especially during the summer when my days were free. I’d sit on the deck and write for sometimes ten hours straight. The hours writing fly by.

Magic happened. I’d write scenes that real life would then mimic. Some of my ideas came from a place deep down, a place normally inaccessible to my conscious mind. The main character goes through some traumatic events, and I can’t help but think this helped me process and purge some of my own trauma.

When I think back to that summer, I do it with fondness and think of the magic- not the long days working. The work was so incredibly enjoyable to me.

And that’s why it no longer matters. I don’t need a finished, perfect copy to publish. Writing those drafts served a huge purpose. To discount that at all because I stopped where I stopped is unfair and stupid.

This realization took away that feeling that I was on the losing end of the fictional timeline I created. I’m not giving up, and would like to finish it in this lifetime, but it may or may not happen. I think that releasing this belief opened space for greater things.

This week I started another project, that I feel might be just as or even more healing. After several years of knowing it would happen when I was ready, I started my sobriety book.

I started it on Monday and by Wednesday night I had over 10,000 words written. The words have been pouring out onto my paper.

I spent a lot of time anticipating how to format the chapters, layout, etc before beginning. I think that was a mistake. Now I’m following my heart and know that it will take shape exactly how it’s supposed to.

Even though it’s only been a few days, it’s already been an amazing experience. I feel so grateful as I write my story. Going back to the beginning of my enormous adult struggle has been humbling. I could have so easily missed this path.

Writing about my mom’s death and the aftermath made me realize how much work and healing that’s already been done. It also reminds me that there is more to go, which will always be true.

I think more than anything, my story will be relatable. I think one of the most noteworthy things about my story is the fact that in all aspects, I should have grown into middle age without such excessive drinking. I didn’t have a traumatic childhood and did everything right. By my mid 30’s I had a decent (mostly good) marriage, the 2 kids- 2.5 car garage, the career, etc. Also, I didn’t live through anything traumatic, except maybe the first death of a grandparent when I was 32. I knew I should be grateful for having all four grandparents up until that point. By all means, I should have been happy.

But I wasn’t and I blame my alcohol addiction, 100%. Maybe I didn’t have anything traumatic happen, but I also didn’t learn self-care, self-soothing skills or coping skills for dealing with stress. My coping skill toolbox included a key to the liquor cabinet, and that’s about it.

A memory sticks out in my head. I was probably in 6th or 7th grade, and normally showered at night. One day, for some reason, I took a bath in the morning instead. I remember this as one of the most heavenly baths I had ever experienced. I remember thinking that I should get up early more often and bathe before school because for some reason it felt so relaxing and carefree to me- more so than a nighttime bath would. Plus I felt extra clean going to school that day. I never took the time to do it again though.

It wasn’t until recovery that this feeling made sense. For the first time I had experienced the joy of self-love and self-care.

I can only imagine how much better my mental health would have been if I had learned more self-care/self-love skills and strategies. I don’t blame my parents, of course. I don’t think they had these skills themselves.

On top of that, ironically, it wasn’t until I did face a huge trauma in my life, that I was able to begin healing. I simply didn’t know, how good I had it. My mom always stressed to be grateful, and it was always easy to say I was grateful for a multitude of things. However, I didn’t feel it. It’s one thing to say it, but a whole new level to intrinsically feel grateful. It wasn’t until after she died, that I learned how to feel grateful.

The anomaly I used to think I was, I now know is probably more the norm.

I hope my story can help other people and that my motivation can last until this project comes to fruition. Either way, it will serve its purpose, so I’m not preoccupied with a timeline or goal. Each moment of writing has its purpose and nothing else really matters.

A Great Little Teacher

As you may have read in previous posts, I started teaching at a new school this fall. We didn’t have busses at my old school, so having to do bus duty at my new school is something new for me.

This means that we have certain assignments to help the students get to class after arriving.

DJ is my assignment, and has been since nearly day 1.

He is one of my students, and highly talked about during the first week of work– that week before students came.

DJ was born with cerebral palsy and walks with ankle braces to help keep his legs upright. He is new to my school this year, but not the district, and I talked to both his physical therapist and his previous special education teacher about how to support him.

Push him, Was the theme. He used a walker until last year, when a strong willed paraprofessional began to push him.

He didn’t fall, he flew.

It was evident that they didn’t want to see him regress.

The walker sits in my room, since the beginning of the school year.

I should also mention, that DJ is the type of kid that everyone loves. He’s full of smiles and good natured and all loving.

So.. every morning, he’s my duty. I get to greet him and his wide smile (his bus driver happens to be pretty awesome too<3 ). I grab his backpack with my arthritic hands, and swing it over my shoulders- sometimes with ease and other times in agony (their little backpacks are heavy!). I hold his hand while he walks down the giant bus steps and while we’re on the narrow sidewalk between parking lots.

Then, in the crowded sea of children hallway, I let him go.

The first few days, I worried so much. Would he fall? Roll an ankle? (I learned that the braces prevent that). I nervously held his hand all the way to his classroom.

DJ used to walk on the slow side. As I started to lesson my grip, he sped up. Now, he cruises to class– usually with me huffing and puffing behind with his backpack.

He doesn’t fall often, but it happens. Just yesterday, he took a big spill- he and his two sandwich bags full of chips and his water bottle (he was bringing his snack to my room). This time, though, my heart didn’t stop. And he was fine!

With a month of school under our belt, my principal started switching around some of our assignments.

She didn’t switch mine, but I panicked for a second at the idea.

I started this new job with awful and random leg/knee/mobility problems. You can’t tell me that getting this little boy situated every morning is a coincidence.

DJ inspires me every single day, and I think I need a dose of him every morning. He may have no idea, but he’s one of my greatest teachers ❤

Detox Day 20- Meditation Interrupted

Another pretty great day 🎉

Motrin & Tylenol a couple hours after waking up and again before bed.

I was thinking of the times, not long ago that many days getting to my meds was the reason to get out of bed in the morning (I’d wake up so sore!) It’s been nice to not even need them right away.

It was a relaxing day spent recovering from my niece’s grad party yesterday. I took my normal slow hour long walk, but that was the most I exerted myself today.

I’ve been spending 20-30 minutes grounding (aka stretching, yoga poses, dancing & hugging trees- all in my bare feet) outside.

I’ve still been a little reluctant to go outside lately. I was super tired today and wanted to float on the pool while meditating and/or napping.

It didn’t start out well- and didn’t end well. I had a hard time blowing up the floaty- the pump and plug weren’t cooperating with my fingers- but I finally got it.

It was so hot, and I was dozing on and off listening to Wayne Dyer’s “I Am” meditation, when something made me look into the water.

I’ll just attach the text I sent after promptly exiting the pool:

Hubby wasn’t home so I was grateful my son offered to get it out without having to ask- poor mouse 🥹

I was done in there for the day, or maybe the week. I hate accidental animal deaths, no matter how tiny.

Afterwards, I tried to nap, grounded, made dinner & then watched tv with the fam.

It’s almost 9:00 & I’m ready to fall out!

I’m really ecstatic to be down to twice a day NSAIDs for 2 days in a row 🙌🏻

Looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings ❤️

Unblocked and Writing Again

Day #1067

Last week I found my writing pen! I’ve been blocked for several months and haven’t had any good writing sessions since school started. I’ve tried to write, but it hasn’t felt right and no matter what I did book #3 has been plagued with plot holes and changes. This has been much different than books 1 & 2 where my ideas flowed freely.

I started writing my story, Nova, in 2015, but it was a slow go and I can count the number of times I actually sat down and wrote on one hand. I had a short story published in spring of 2020 (in a book of short stories) and that gave me the motivation and drive I needed to get back to my story. And I did.

The summer of 2020 was empty, sad and magical. I remember one scorching day in July. I was out feeling the water in our pool. The kids were all inside on video games, where they’d been the entire summer, it seemed. Normally, our summer would be filled with scout trips, camping and other activities- but everything was cancelled and we were home for months. I felt so, incredibly sad out there alone on that hot day. I listened to the neighborhood and noted the empty silence. Normally, in July, our street was filled with the sounds of kids– or summer. I think I finally heard a lawn mower in the distance, and that helped me feel more normal, but I’ll never forget that moment and the emptiness that accompanied it.

The entire summer was spent home, and I wrote my story nearly every single day, sometimes up to 8-10 hours. My intuition helped me greatly and continues to help me create this enormous project. I learned to majorly trust my gut, which says this will not be one novel– but a trilogy.

At first it was overwhelming, three novels? I’ve never even written one. But I knew the story, like the back of my hand, and how I wanted to tell it. The first book takes place chronologically after the second one. I don’t know why it has to be told like this, I just know it does, and everytime doubt crosses my mind, I choose to trust.

I finished the bare bones of books 1 and 2 in summer of 2020. It was pure magic. Hours would fly by while I wrote and many times the things that the main characters were going through, would happen to me in real life. It was odd, but kind of awesome. Although, as I write book 3 and writing the biggest climax of the book, I’m worried that some of it will happen. Maybe that’s why I’m blocked- who knows.

Back to my writing pen, which I picked up sometime last week. My third book, Supernova, is finally flowing again! I had two different plots written out and couldn’t decide. A third story line came out of nowhere and I think I’ll be able to use it and have decided which plot to connect it to. I liked both of them, and couldn’t choose, but it looks like only one will work with this new story line, so hopefully I can keep moving this forward.

I used to be determined to get this trilogy published, no matter what, because (as I would always say), I didn’t want my music to die inside me (a Wayne Dyer quote). I feel differently two years later. I’d love to finish this project, but there’s no deadline. Maybe I’ll spend the rest of my life working on the bare bones of this story, but who cares? It makes me happy to write it, so I’m just gonna keep writing and hoping that I can continue to access the amazing ideas that my soul comes up with ❤