I’ve always known that writing was good for us – and not in the “eat your broccoli” way, either (although do eat your broccoli! It’s delicious! Unless it’s overcooked. In that case, please reconsider your approach to veggies).
Writing does so very much for us, and helps us get through those things we don’t know how to navigate or those things that just frighten the bejesus out of us. Writing helps us figure out what we think, and it helps us organize our thinking. We can toss out the stuff that doesn’t serve us anymore, and we can (hopefully) find things that do serve us, even better than the old.
I’ve fallen away from the meager habits of writing I had managed to establish, and then as I discovered how very unlikely it was I would ever find a full time position making a living wage…well, depression, sadness, disappointment – they all make it really tough to get excited about creative projects. The COVID-19 quarantine has made it even less likely that I will see Charly and Doc any time soon, which makes me really sad.
Being stuck in the house isn’t really so bad. I’m not so much of a “gotta go out” sort of person. I learned early on in AA that most people mixed their alcohol with their socializing, and that most people had bars they went to versus staying at home to drink.
That never fit me, really, although there were times when I really enjoyed drinking in a social setting, but as it does, alcoholism did away with those friends and social situations after a while. Decisions I made led to isolation, far from those people I loved and had depended on for social interaction.
That first bit of time when we were in Texas, I realized I was in a spot of trouble when I stopped getting dressed unless I had to go to class. I stayed in my robe and pjs all day, most likely playing the Sims. My Sims became the stand in for my friends and family back home, and it also fed the desire I had to control all aspects of my life as well as the lives of those around me.
So I moved into a long time period of my life where getting out and mingling and making friends just wasn’t fun for me anymore. I didn’t have a job, really, not one where I saw the same people every day like I did when I worked at the best law firm ever in Nashville. I wasn’t as young as I used to be, I no longer had kids around to make it easier for me to meet people (kids are great for that, btw – through Chris’ interest in baseball, I wound up having more fun than the law should allow).
So I’m used to spending time alone, and time at home without going out at all for days at a time. I’m finding this extended vacation to be – now that my fear is pretty much under control – actually pretty awesome.
I can get up when I want, go to bed when I want. I can’t go to the store at the drop of a hat (which ultimately isn’t THAT bad, because my last second store runs have recently been for vegan ice cream and cookies and maybe some chips) and I can’t wander around Target. I can still go for a run with my best friend, and I can still get work done that buys my best friend her kibble. I don’t have to stress about how long my run takes, because I don’t have a schedule to maintain. I don’t have to be anywhere, and indeed, CAN’T be anywhere other than where I am.
This is, as so many things in life are, a double edged sword. Without the structure I had in place through work, I find my days drifting by with the only thing I manage to do is a replay of Bioshock: Infinite. My writing falls further and further into the rear view.
I need some structure.