Day 49 - Writer's Block, Father's Day, and Divas
This is the first post I have nothing to say. I write these the day before I post them with this thought in mind: that one day I might come up blank and could use an extra 24 hours to fill in the space.
What you don’t say means as much as what you do say.
The space between words, the space between sentences, between paragraphs, says as much as the words themselves.
It’s like my self has become a wall without a mouth or really a brain. It’s like I’m not even here.
But this is, of course, not reality.
This is what a lot of people call writer’s block. They think it means it's time to turn away from writing for a while, but I think the opposite is true. I think it's time to turn into the writing. I think the block is trying to communicate to you.
What I’ve learned in the last couple of years is instead of focusing on the feeling I have nothing to say, on the block, to focus on what is pushing on the block.. The block is inert, but something behind it is dying to break through. It’s what I call opportunity. Having nothing to say means only that words are not coming easily to you or that your usual way of putting words together no longer works for your brain. It means you have run out of tools and need to get some new ones. This is when everything gets interesting. This is when you start tapping on the door of truth.
This is the time to challenge old beliefs, find the courage to say what you thought was unsayable. It’s time to find out what makes you you..
I’m going to write some sentences with my left hand. I’m going to ask my brain what it is thinking. I’ll be right back. I have to breathe for a few minutes first, shed my bullshit coat and get quiet enough to hear the space between.
But you know what I really feel like doing, more than any of this? I want to put my entire face in a chocolate cake. I don’t want to eat it as much as I want to have it, know it’s there if I want it. Part of me is mad there’s no cake, that I keep shoveling salad into my mouth, chicken, peas. My pissy self wants a 4-year-old’s birthday party with cake and candles and friends and presents.
I didn’t even have to pick up a pen and write five sentences. My self started talking to me as soon as I was willing to let go of what I thought it should say and really listen.
Here’s what I want to say: it’s Father’s Day. Last Father’s Day I had one father that I knew about, but now I have two. I’m only allowed to correspond with one. Maybe allowed is the wrong word. I mean, I could write him an email, but chances are good it would go unanswered or he would write something back about his wife not wanting me to be in contact. And that’s not fun.
This is where being adopted can be this underground rot that affects the surface and we, the adopted and those who are close to us, may have no idea that our behaviors: silence, anger, confusion, don’t actually have to do with what is going on in real time: the fact that we feel we have writer’s block or that we want cake. Our behaviors stem from a deeper place. A deeper story we aren’t acknowledging or hearing or thinking is important.
The idea of taking both fathers out for Father’s Day or calling both or sending both cards is kind of like wanting to stick my face in a cake. It’s not that I necessarily want to do it because there is such a thing as father overload, but I want to know that I can, and I get angry and quiet and confused when I can’t. My brain tells itself that this need is silly, that I have one father and that should be enough. My brain tells me it has no language to grieve the connection to a father I hardly know, and so my brain offers me anxiety and anger instead. Here: take this. Let you eat cake and deal with your feelings that way.
The beauty of a big chocolate cake right now would be that I could numb out, give my brain something to focus on: Oh, I feel so sick. Oh, I wish I had not done that. instead of the ADD thing it’s doing now, hunting through the woods of itself looking for something that it can’t name.
I spent most of my life numbing out feelings I was too afraid to feel. I’m so done with that. I’ve made a decision since writing my book: I’m going to feel. But today I decided I’m also going diva on this line of work. I’m not going to suffer quietly. I don’t mean that I’m going to walk around blaring on and on about how my past hurts, how the stories I tell myself hurt. I mean I’m going to figure out how I want to feel and focus on that. I’m going rock and roll on this stuff. If I have to feel, I’m going Keith Richards on it. I’m going to have fun.
I’m not sure what this looks like. I’ve spent my life living in the shadow of my mother in one way or another. Since I was three inches taller and twenty pounds heavier and not nearly as shy, this was not always an easy act. I had to get smaller.
What if one way of feeling is to celebrate? What if I go Doubting Thomas on my feelings and stick my finger in there, really see what’s going on, but at the same time go Lady Gaga on the situation and sing it out? What does that look like?
What am I afraid of?
I thought writing my story would kill me, but it didn’t. Now I think writing a creative work like a novel would kill me. Who am I to make things up? Who gave me the right to create a life of my dreams on paper?
Yeah. That sounds familiar. And stupid.
See you tomorrow.
(I never even got to the five sentences. That wasn't writer's block so much as writer's open door.)