Writing the way out

There is always something sad to me about seeing Christmas lights glistening in the rain. Maybe it’s that I grew up in the always snow-in-the-fall prelude to wintry winters in northern Michigan or the melancholy of a chilly, windy rain when it’s dark at 6 p.m. Whatever it is, it hit me this evening in that way I knew would happen but wasn’t sure when.

Photo by Jimmy Chan from Pexels

Hello, by the way. It’s been years since I’ve done much writing outside of my world of work where I spend my days, and some nights and early mornings, in the art of communication for a global company. It’s way more fun but totally less glamorous than it sounds.

Last week, I was swimming in the realities of an upcoming back surgery, heavy with pain, when several of the books I am in the middle of reading converged at the right time and right state of mind. Yes, I’m one of those people that continuously have between 4–6 books in varying stages of read. I feel compelled to mention here that one is always an audio book. It’s something I started over the summer to find more ways to engage with the list of books that far outweigh by time capacity. It cut back on my podcast time, but I think I’m OK with that.

After three plus years of living with increasing chronic back pain caused by a slipped disc, I learned that I actually have an unhealed fracture — most likely caused by power lifting. The hope of one day being able to lift again was given it’s final death seal by a very nice, but concerned looking neurosurgeon. I’ve recently come to describe the feelings the back pain (which extends up into my mid back and down my legs) as the equivalent of what I often imagine Frida Kahlo felt as she painted her self portrait wrapped in thorns.

As it happens, my audio book of recent is Seth Godin’s The Icarus Deception. I won’t review it here — I have about 20 minutes left after the rainy Christmas light drive — but I will eventually review it on Goodreads. Godin’s advice is to do your art, even if you do it poorly, everyday — for an audience.

I’m also reading The Wisdom of your Body, and the suggestion of my therapist. It was the following that sent me into a shame-triggered anxiety:

I had never actually been aware of my body from the inside. I was a floating head. Most of the time, it seemed like nothing existed from my jawline down. If something bodily did exist, I only knew how to scrutinize it as if detached, and from the outside.

Next cue Brene Brown. I adore Brene, and of all the passages I highligted in Rising Strong, the one that stood out that same day was: “We are the authors of our lives.” Finally, the next day I was reading Abby Wambach’s Wolfpack. It reminded me of the power we have if we jump into something new or different.

These things, combined with a desire to do something — anything — to begin to feel something other than the pain in my body. I wanted to create. I thought about the previous Project 365’s I had done — but self portraits were not going to solve my unnameable phantom. I knew I needed to write. A lot. Every day.

And so, here I am. 22 days out from surgery. Documenting the journey. Ready to heal — physically and metaphorically.

Song of the day:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4DeaXf1FzE

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Normal human in an extraordinaire world. Memoir / Humor / Just Life

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Nikki Barr

Nikki Barr

Normal human in an extraordinaire world. Memoir / Humor / Just Life

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