Blocked.

I’m supposed to be writing.

I lost my job over a month ago now and I’m supposed to be looking for jobs and writing with my newfound free time. My need to find a job is not urgent as I was not the breadwinner in our family, but it could be urgent soon so I’m actively looking. And while I wait, I’m supposed to be writing any of the books I’ve talked about writing for years only I haven’t had time.

And all of these book ideas are still bouncing around in my head every day, trying to get out, and yet when I stare at the blank document to start on any of them I just freeze.

I won’t bore you with the drama of my mental health but it is still not great. I’m bouncing around medications and trying to find peace and joy in the things I seem to have control over in my life and yet many days I’m still clouded in sadness and overwhelmed with anxiety. I’m burdened by the worries of the world and my failure to my family and still sometimes just can’t stop crying.

I found what I thought would be a dream job and I wrote the perfect cover letter and my resume spoke for itself and I cleaned up my social media of all evidence of mental health distress or political opinions just in case someone went digging and then the job came and went without even a spark of interest in me. And now I’m left facing this weird cleaned up social media and trying to face the questions of why I preach openness of mental health and why I proudly stand by my politics until I suddenly erase it all like I’m not worthy when I’m being authentic. And damn if that ugly revelation didn’t screw up my brain for a bit.

I’m tired a lot which creates these terrible bags under my eyes. None of my clothes fit but I can’t go shopping because I have no job. It’s April which is the one month a year that my allergies flare up and rubbing my eyes (I KNOW, DAD, I NEED TO STOP RUBBING MY EYES) has created an ugly scab on my eyelid and my skin is blotchy and I’m just not feeling very pretty.

And then I start thinking about the body positivity movement and how the main faces in that movement are just beautiful women who have shiny perfect hair and curves in all the right places and flawless makeup and they’re the kind of women who I think would look beautiful at ANY SIZE and so I can’t really be inspired by them because my weight is not on my body in a way that creates curves and my hair is only great if I can afford my expensive products and if the weather cooperates and I still don’t know what in the hell to do about makeup and I start questioning beauty in general and who defines it and why am I still struggling with these questions at 42?

I’m at that point as my kids grow older where my husband and I disagree on what we should and should not be doing for them. And lord knows you can find 100 different parenting articles and TED talks to support either perspective and so I’m left constantly wondering if he’s right and I’m babying my kids too much.

Right now the only thing I have going on even remotely successful in my life is parenting and so when I start to wonder if I’m screwing that up then what left is there?

It’s just hard to write that memoir or that young reader fiction when there are voices bouncing around in your head making you question everything you know about yourself.

Thanks for letting me vent. The sun in shining although it’s stupid cold again. Hopefully I’ll feel better tomorrow.

10 Comments

  • Ashley

    I know you weren’t fishing for compliments, but I did see a picture of you (I think with your daughter) on Instagram the other day and thought “Wow! She looks so beautiful!” I also just thought the other day that you should write a book! I know how hard that is to do/get started on though. I attempted that NanoWriMo thing in November and I ended up only writing about 6,000 words but whew, it felt like labor! So anyway, here are your takeaways because I ramble:

    1. You look beautiful to us Internet people!
    2. I would read your book!
    3. No pressure to write that book because either way, you’re still awesome and getting motivated to write is really hard!

  • Joanna

    I hope this isn’t assvice, but what about letting go of the expectation to write and aiming to read instead, at least until the motivation to write strikes? My elementary-age boys and I are finishing the second Family Fletcher book by Dana Alison Levy and when I read this post, I immediately thought of how good you’d be at writing a book along the same lines. Published authors almost always say that they read a ton as part of their prewriting. Maybe that’s totally unhelpful, but I think your mere existence in the world and on the internet is of huge value to me and everyone who comes in contact with you.

  • Fraulein N

    First off, your health is the most important thing so definitely focus on that before anything else. Job hunting is one of THE most demoralizing things in the world, so try not to feel too bad for feeling bad — if that makes any sense.

    I don’t know *how* you’re trying to write, but maybe the pressure of trying to do it a certain way is getting to you? Instead of sitting down with an overwhelming blank screen (screaming WRITE WRITE WRITE) in front of you, maybe start just jotting down ideas here and there? Like when you’re sitting in your car waiting for your kids, or times like that. You could even keep your bullet journal open next to you while you watch TV and scribble bits of dialogue down if inspiration strikes. Sure, being out of work is a great opportunity to start on your book, but if it’s not happening, it’s better to wait and get healthy and maybe employed so you can really focus on your writing … and do it from a place of JOY.

    Also, I know social media doesn’t give a full picture, but your hair looks awesome and your kids look happy and loved, for what it’s worth. Always happy to talk/text if you want!

  • Elizabeth

    I completely empathize with how you are feeling. (I’ve had waxing and waning depression since I was 12, been on and off different meds, etc.) I was also recently unemployed for about three months and, yeah, job hunting during a low point is brutal. I’d like to gently remind you that it’s okay if you can’t find peace or joy right now, and hope you remember that it’s not your fault. Yes, lifestyle changes and mental attitude can sometimes help, but not when you are in a really bad place when you are fighting to get out of bed every morning. (And certainly not when you are cycling meds and trying to find one that works for you; your brain is trying to cope with all of that right now.) I feel like you and I are similar in that we are much more empathetic and kind to others than to ourselves. Think about how much slack you would give to a friend who was going through this, how you would understand they weren’t at their best, how you would cheer them on or let them cry on your shoulder. You would be proud of them for getting up and getting through the day even if it was hard and even if it wasn’t the best day. You would give them credit for trying, you would give them the benefit of the doubt. It is so so so hard, but please try to do those things for yourself, too.

  • Misty

    Start with one story – one sentence. Don’t sit down thinking you’re writing a while book, just start small. What helped me was starting with – some day when I’m nto around ( I KNOW SO MORBID) what do I want my kids to knwo about me? What story do I wqant to be sure to get down somehow so it stays around long after any of us are around to tell it? Start there. Just something small. The small things add up and then -down the road you can figure out how to bring them together. But for now, just go one sentence, one story at a time. You will get there. I promise.

  • Lucy McConville

    Giant Virtual Hug… except if it was in real life you’d hate it because it is more comfortable to be alone when you are feeling like this…at least, if you are me. Haha. I have so much faith that you will get through this struggling time in your life.

    Regarding your “block”…how about if you just start with listing out some brainstorming ideas on that blank page? Set a timer for ten minutes and say, “In this ten minutes I’m going to brainstorm ideas, or outline ideas, for such-and-such book”. You can do anything for ten minutes. Let the timer be your friend.

    And know WE are all your friends, cheering for you, but understanding how you are feeling. We will be patient for those books, but SO EXCITED to buy them when they are finished!

    PS: Omg, the body-that-gained-weight-but-not-in-that-voluptuous-curvy-way-that-is-hot…I SO hear you there. It’s ok, though. We’ll be ok.

  • Rachael

    I really struggle with that aspect of the body positivity movement too. A lot of the women I see are still proportioned like models, and that’s just not how my body looks. I started seeking out advocates that are more like me – I love @glitterandlazers, @iamdaniadriana and @fatgirlflow on Insta, because they remind me more of myself. It’s so, so hard to lose your job and then find motivation. I lost my job almost 2 years ago now, and I spent much of that year in a pretty serious depression. I think I have a few books inside me, but there just feels like SO MUCH that I can’t figure out where to start. I’m trying to just focus on blogging for right now because I don’t know how to manage the rest. I suppose this is all just to say you’re not alone, and hopefully it helps that there are people out here listening.

  • vhmprincess

    Have you tried allergy eye drops? They work wonders for me and both my children that have allergies! Prescription ones, not the ones at the drug store.