Writing & Progress

I did something I’ve never done yesterday- I wrote a superquick post for Peggy O’Mara’s birthday and walked away from the computer. It wouldn’t have been such a big deal if it hadn’t been regarding someone I admire so greatly, and if I hadn’t had to make a 5 hour trip to Sacramento and back and unable to check or change a thing in the meanwhile. (If you think texting and driving is bad, blogging and driving is an entirely different level…)

I’m trying to write more. I’ve even started a post to try and collect my thoughts about why writing in itself is important for me and even writing that is taking forever. My last (long) post took painfully long to write and because of that, got intertwined in itself… I worked so long and hard on it, (then LOST the whole post!! I almost imploded…) and then I lost myself in it so many times, it was discouraging and ended up being too complicated and not what I wanted. Ugh.

So I see that my problem is in clinging to how I want things to be- and in so, so many ways. It’s like that about the constant pile of laundry from three kids as much as it is in my heart about not doing it for four. Either way, I have to let it go. (I do NOT know the words to that song, thankyouverymuch… No earworm for me!)

what screws us upIn life and in writing, too… Sometimes I wish that the entire last year of my writing wasn’t solely about losing Patrick. I am more than my loss, but it’s been the first and only thing on my heart when I check in with myself for what seems like forever. I hate that it’s my truth more than anyone, but I can’t deny it- and won’t. But when I don’t write, it feels like I’m losing myself in the days, awash with mundane housework and the fog of routine- and it feels like I’m losing Patrick a bit, too. I know that it’s normal for grief to grow and change, the same as it is (and for the same reasons) that hearts do, which isn’t to say that I miss him any less, but it comes and goes in different waves and different verocity now. I miss life with him, and now I miss that livewire connection to that life and time, too… but the thing about time is that is just keeps us moving on, regardless of where we’d choose to stay- that much, I know for sure.

I’ve been doing better and better managing my life and it’s happenings, which is to say I almost feel like I am starting to have a hold on it again- and not so much vestment in the little things that don’t matter. On good days, I am able to recognize that ultimately my decisions have been my best effort for the time, be it writing or my life choices, in general- and it’s not my business who thinks what about any of it, whether it’s someone wonderful and amazing or an internet troll, we’re all just trying to get by, make ourselves feel better and protect our wounded hearts.

In my post yesterday, I didn’t have very much time and I wanted to just get out my honest thoughts and appreciation before I had to get to my day, and simply sharing a photo on Facebook wasn’t enough for me. In my perfect world, I’d have done a bunch of research, maybe gotten an interview to be super stoked on or at least put in some links to some of her more brilliant works and written something heartfelt and more sentimentally stated. Instead, it was short and the entire middle paragraph is rambling randomness in which I used profanity and got completely sidetracked (who, me?)… But not only did Peggy see and read my post, but commented that my random tirade had made her laugh! If I was to tell my early 20’s motherhood self that I was going to make Peggy O’Mara laugh (and kind of/sort of know who I am!) on her birthday if I just kept writing, I may have just done it for that in itself.

I never know who my writing is going to touch and in what way- especially posts about nothing, like this one. A lot of the times I write, someone writes back to say thank you- and that really makes it worth it.  But beyond gratitude, tiny bits of money here and there or any form of recognition, I find that the days I’ve written what was seemingly nothing end up having the biggest effect on myself.

Like here, when I was trying to get out “30 Days of Gratitude” two Novembers ago, when Patrick was having a hard time and I said,

“Luckily, this isn’t my first rodeo; I can handle almost any crying baby anywhere –and his or her parents– with compassion. This is my fourth baby. No matter the situation; grocery store, airplane, shopping mall, walking down the street, stuck in traffic- I’ve been there  with a screaming baby. It’s heartbreaking and it’s hell. Although my patience has been compared to Mother Theresa’s on numerous occasions, it gets to me, too.

Aside from feeling helpless to “fix it”, I haven’t had time to do anything around the house- the dishes and laundry keep coming… the baby keeps crying. So- I have piles of crap everywhere I have to deal with, which I am not looking forward to- but I also know that I won’t look back and regret not doing the stupid dishes. Dishes are stuff. Patrick is my son. I left the cluttered sink and got us some fresh air. I may even remember the walk we took with him in the Moby, quietly snuggled against my chest. But if not, still, I will know that I was there for him, even when I didn’t know what else to do- and I always will be.”

I had no idea what a gift those words would be to me- the balm it gives me to have that unmemorable day and choice locked into word form in some dusty corner of the internet. It gives me comfort like no other to know full well in boring detail how much I showed my love for Patrick when he was here- and how much I love my other children, too. I love having a way to look back on the minutia of my past life and finding small- or huge- joy there, even in my times of struggle. It helps me to see my progress, too… I can see my own writing and heart change from the work of trying to excavate love and memories from brutal numbness and ache, to finding comfort in matter patterns or balance in some times to recording small memories and getting lessons in vulnerability,  it’s this:

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If anything, I’ve learned how short life is- that if you love something or someone, you make it work with what you’ve got for all it’s worth to you. I may never write anything impressive or win any awards for my rambling digressions, and that’s perfectly fine. I’m here to be me, to show up and be counted. I still want to write more subject-based posts as I did before, but as it is, this is where I am, and hopefully me getting comfortable in my own skin with writing more often will help cultivate that.

One of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, says in her book, “Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year

“I decided that the most subversive, revolutionary thing I could do was to show up for my life and not be ashamed”

So here I am, showing up and unapologetic for my life and writing, be they random and silly, heartbreaking and poetic, both simultaneously or neither at all. That’s the point in the name I chose: “Progressive” means “marked by constant improvement” and here’s hopefully another tiny hatch in my heart and blog to mark its place- again and again I find life, love and healing in the little things- like seemingly pointless, random, rambling blog posts.

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