So it begins. Again. This writing thing that I want to run from but stumble over. I’ve started and stopped too many writing attempts over the years. I did a whole chapter of the Artist’s Way, once, but I hated the morning writing. I hate morning, and the writing didn’t help. I’ve tried to think of things to do with my life, careers to pursue, jobs to apply for, ways to make money. But I can’t find anything I like. Or am actually qualified for. Queen Ruler of World isn’t actually a job, though I feel like my bossy self is uniquely qualified to tell everyone what to do all the time. I can’t find something I’d really like to do, but I do know what I don’t. I don’t like writing.
It hurts my eyes to stare at a computer.
But I have special glasses with a special prescription that would help more if I wore them all the time. But a year into wearing them, I think I want different frames and the baby pulls them off my face a lot when I do wear them. Ted said getting the cute, chic clear frames from Warby Parker won’t make the baby grab them less. Clear isn’t invisible, he said.
It hurts my back to hunch on a keyboard.
No, a different chair/desk combination won’t help because I’ve tried more than our budget allows. And it’s more the hunching then the sitting. I just get so tense. But I joined a kickboxing gym that is intense, and it helps me not be so tense.
It hurts my pride to write about what I know.
I tell myself I’ve not wasted the last few years of my life because I’ve been getting an amateur masters in PTSD. Someday I’ll tally all the money and time we’ve spent on my therapy (I currently have 4 professionals attending me), and I’m sure it’ll be more money and more time than what it would have taken to get any of the masters I’ve envied over the years. Which basically means I have an unofficial one, right? M.A. in Caitie Psychology from the Bank of Ted Sangalis.
It hurts our budget to get babysitters so I can go write, and the baby hurts himself if I ignore him playing on the floor to write.
$17 an hour for a babysitter is nuts. I don’t think I could get a job that would pay enough to afford to pay a sitter so I could work. We joke that my salary is what Ted gets back in taxes from having me and the baby listed as his dependents. And the baby is a moving machine. He’s like his mama-never still. Always climbing and moving and hurting himself. But I have a dear friend who believes in me, and she has started coming every week for four hours so I can escape to write. Or go to the psychiatrist. Which is a humbling form of accountability.
It terrifies me to try something I may fail at.
I don’t want to fail. I am an incredibly competent person and turn all my failures into successes. My top two strengths in Strengths Finders are about learning and problem solving. But there is a lot of failure inherent in writing (It’s hard for the perfectionist in me to have to write multiple drafts. Can’t I just do it right the first time like my mom always demanded?) Also, my elitist conception of success is Joan Didion. If I can’t be Joan, why even bother? There are a lot of writers and bloggers, and mommy bloggers, and emotional-spiritual writers that try for that level of awesomeness and fail. Why won’t I?
It terrifies me even more to be silent.
I don’t like talking, but I love words. And ideas. And well written sentences. And fragments. and Grammar! Oh, the life you can share with proper grammar. And even when I don’t think I’m practicing my writing, I’m writing lists and emails and texts and short descriptions all over my phone. I have 317 notes in the notes app on my iphone. And I cleared those out last month to make space for more baby pictures.
My friend Rebekah has quit multiple jobs and continues to sacrifice and arrange her life to satisfy the writer and creative in her. She has three kids all between 10 and 16. I read her blog biting my tongue wishing I could, too. Her tenacity, vulnerability and beautiful courage inspires me.
My friend Christi is preparing to leave her prestigious job working within the bureaucratic tangle of the UN to follow a dream that came into focus after she birthed her baby. Christi wasn’t sure she wanted to be a mom, we bonded over that, because she knew how much that would change her ability to follow her dreams. But birthing the baby gave her a new vision and now she’s running after it.
My sister-in-law is a good. Both of them, actually. But Lauren is a get-it-done type and has launched a women’s blog about discipleship. She’s probably written more since she gave birth four weeks ago than I have in four months.
Joe is already in California. She wrote her own pilot, financed and hired a full crew to shoot it, and then directed and starred in it. Then she packed her bag and moved to LA to sell her pilot. Someday we’ll see Josie on the red carpet. And she’ll be the first to say that it wasn’t because she was talented and somebody found her, it’s because she took her talent and put in the time and found her own opportunities.
And so, again, I will write. But not alone. Never alone. Today I’m writing with Madeleine L’Engle. Because the impatient, get it done in a timely manner part of me has just been challenged and defeated in, “A Circle of Quiet.”
“It’s all been said better before. If I thought I had to say it better than anybody else, I’d never start. [which maybe why I haven’t.] Better or worse is immaterial. The thing is that it has to be said; by me; ontologically. We each have to say it, to it in our own way.” (pg 28)
The editor in me can’t shut up. She’s not satisfied with writing less than Wallace Stegner. But the writer in me isn’t Wallace. She’s Caitie. And she’ll never be Wallace. And so she isn’t going to edit. She, I’m, just going to hit post and keep the words coming.