It has been so long that I felt an ah-ha moment that I wanted to go sit down and write about.
I have told my therapist that I have felt so blocked creatively since returning from treatment last year. “Blocked, or not comfortable being vulnerable?” asked that kind lady I pay to help me unravel my emotions.
Even before beginning school, I was trying to figure out how I wanted to show up in the world as myself in a way I never really had before, so afraid of what people would think of me. Writing in a way that was open but maybe not vulnerable. (Jordan had a great post on this.)
Since I started school, I’ve been thinking of how I want to show up online in the future as a therapist. I certainly want to bring some of my past experience in—that’s what led me here and will help me connect to clients—but be cognizant of boundaries and also recognize the expertise I am working to build. I’m not sure yet what that will look like. Also, if I’m being honest, I’m really afraid of cancel culture and being canceled for inadvertently saying something offensive that blows up. Branding-wise, I don’t know if writing on a site called Preppy Runner when I mostly write about mental health makes sense, or if I should start writing elsewhere.
As I walked sweet Lucy this morning, I saw a tri team’s truck. I started thinking “ooh! I want to work out with them! I want to get back to tris!” And then I saw surfers and thought “ooh! I want to surf!” And I also got a Peloton recently [my referral code is 8P95DZ and gets you $100 off the bike or treadmill, and in full disclosure, I get free gear!]. And my fave yoga teacher is starting to teach outside. And I’m working out with a trainer. And signed up for several virtual races (maybe I’ll do a separate post soon just talking about them)!
My immediate automatic negative thought was “ugh, why can’t you focus? You’ll never get better at any of those if you do #allthethings.”
And I immediately countered it with “There is a reason for every season.”[Addressing automatic negative thoughts is a principle of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). I downloaded an app called Thought Diary that is really helpful for working through these. But not a substitute for therapy.]
Fitness-wise, this season of my life is just working out to feel good mentally and physically, to feel strong and capable. I want to be able to run a 10K comfortably this fall, but I have no time goals for it, I just want to feel happy running it. (And also, although I want to do all the workouts, I do know how to be cognizant of doing it safely and not overexercising. Exercising is too important to me to overexercise and risk injury.)
Writing-wise, I don’t have to have all the answers of where to write and what My Brand should be right now. And maybe more importantly, I don’t have to be baring my entire soul the way I used to. (This may sound at odds with what I said earlier about being vulnerable, but it’s also self-care of setting boundaries for myself about what I write about here, what I share with friends, and what I save for my therapist.) Maybe I’ve felt blocked because of the depth of what I used to share, feeling like I should always be sharing like that, but I have typically shared almost exclusively when my life is at a high or at a low, but it’s kind of just in the middle right now. (Which, also, is a little more boring to write about.)
My friend Kat, who has a site and podcast called How to Be Creative recommended the book Writing Down the Bones, and it is an amazing read for anyone—because we are all creative in some way—but especially writers. It’s really digestible. Each “chapter” is an essay of two to three pages, so I can just read it for a few minutes at a time. It’s helping me ditch some of that perfectionism of needing what I write to meet some internal high standard.
What season in life are you in right now?