I managed all of 8 blog posts in 2015 — and most of those were before February 3, it turns out. Not a stellar year for my blog.
Which would be okay if I had moved on to some other outlet, but what actually happened is that I got numb. I know I’ve mentioned this to so many people over the last 8 months or so that you’re all like “Numbness . . . blah, blah, blah” when I say that, but hear me out! You know I’ve had years of experience with depression. Although I feel that I’ve mostly conquered that battle, sadness is still like a warm and comforting blanket for me. But numbness, not feeling anything, or at least not strongly enough to put it into words . . . now that is scary. It feels terrifyingly dehumanizing. That’s the wrestle I’ve been engaged in since about May 20th.
I know the date because I did write a blog post about it (entitled Wasted. if you were wondering — the period is important there). Someday that post may see the light of day, but for now: something traumatic happened. A child I cared about was harmed in a terrible way by another child, a sibling I cared about. And simultaneously, I realized that all the blood, sweat, and tears I had put into supporting that family was for naught. “That family” would never be a family again.
Of course, it’s not my fault. I did what I could. But isn’t that the most terrifying part?! I did everything I could and it still didn’t make any difference when faced with intergenerational poverty and cycles of family violence and substance abuse and . . . I hate to live in a world like that, but that is the brutal reality. In the face of this wrestle, I’ve struggled to express myself even in simple ways.
But that’s all prologue now.
In January, I went to the Life Writing class I used to participate in when I lived with my parents. I hadn’t been since last March (when I wrote and shared this). A group of women were participating in a writing challenge in the month of February. I didn’t think much of it that night because, you know, I might get two foster kids in the month of February and writing will be the least of my worries. But as I mulled it over, I realized that if I’m going to break through this numbness, I need to write again.
Back in August 2010, I took an online quiz about what “creative type” I am. (I know this because I wrote a blog post draft that also never came to fruition, one of 254 in that category.) This is what it told me:
Creativity gives you insight
You feel that creativity provides insight into your own being. In fact, it is like therapy for you, enabling you to get to know yourself better. You seem to be looking for a way into the mysteries of the subconscious. It’s not really self-expression you are seeking, but rather the tools of self-expression: discovering what your creation will reveal about yourself. Art helps you reflect on, analyse and expand your personality. You long to be creative, and it’s not just because you need to deal with your emotions. It’s the tension between contradictions, and the need to resolve doubt that drives you to be creative. Painting pictures, decorating rooms, arranging shells in the sand — these are all creative processes that allow your introspection to roam. You can trace your life through the different ways you have exercised your creativity. For you, art is there to make sense of life. You are more attracted to artistic activities that demand reflection, planning and solitude, and the personal discoveries you make often provide answers for others, too.
Let’s be honest, I don’t really understand what all of that means. I’m not seeking self-expression “but rather the tools of self-expression.” Um, okay. (Someone explain that to me in the comments.) But I must say that overall, it’s a pretty good descriptor of why I wrote and why I need to write again. How will I get through this life-altering experience of foster parenting if I don’t write about it?
So, although I decided to start my own challenge on February 8th to get past some busy weeks, I’ve officially carved out 30 minutes per day to write for the next month. I’ve promised a guest post to two other blogs, but you’ll see me here a bit more too.
I’ve missed this space and YOU! (The 5 or 6 yous that tell me you still check here occasionally.)