Spring is here, kind of. I say kind of because it’s still not even a little bit warm in Oregon. Honestly, I’m usually the one telling people to buck up and enjoy the rain, but even I’m tired of it. We finally hit our first 65 degree day last Friday, and it was about three weeks later than usual. C’mon, sun–give us a little break!
But despite the cold and rain (or because of it–not sure), I’ve had a few successes that I thought I’d share:
1) I managed to knit forty baby and toddler hats over 40 days.
2) I successfully completed my 12-week exercise challenge. I only missed one workout in 12 weeks, but since I did also go on a 5-mile hike during a campout, I feel like that made up for the missed workout. I’ve lost about twenty pounds so far, which is about 1/3 of what I want to lose. I am down about two sizes, though, and I feel a lot better. I’m into my second 12-week challenge now. This one will be tougher since I have a lot of stuff coming up on the calendar, but I’m determined to do as well as I did last time–or better!
3) I completed my Lenten fast. I won’t say what I fasted from, but rest assured that the successful completion was solely on the power of Jesus and not my own efforts. This was the first one I’ve ever managed to finish, so I feel very satisfied. And grateful.
I share these things not to boast, but rather to segue into what these three things did for me…
Knitting all those hats reminded me that when I set a goal, I can accomplish it. There were days I skipped knitting, days I knitted two or three hats, days I cursed at every pattern I touched, days I was on autopilot, but I did it. Every hat has some imperfection in it, but forty babies and toddlers will have warmer heads because I knitted. Not only did I persevere and meet my goal, I contributed something positive to the world.
Exercising reminded me not to beat myself up so much. I am so brutal with myself. I expect to be able to run as fast as I could ten years ago when I was younger and at peak fitness. That’s stupid. I had to (still have to) keep reminding myself that it takes time to rebuild fitness, that I still have time, and that every day I do the right thing and force myself to get on the treadmill or pick up the weights, I’m taking a tiny incremental step toward long-term health. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I’m stronger now than I was 12 (now 13) weeks ago. I’ll be stronger still (and hopefully thinner) in another 12 weeks, and even better 12 weeks after that. I am learning to be kinder to myself.
The Lenten fast was a challenge. I took cues from respected friends who were also doing a fast. I followed the “rules.” Did I grow closer to Jesus? I don’t know. Maybe? A bit? I know I got through it on his strength, not mine. I guess I was reminded that when I am weak, he is strong, and that his strength is made perfect in my weakness. I don’t have to do everything alone. I’m not an island, and it’s okay to ask people (and Jesus) for help.
There was a downside to the knitting… I think I gave myself a repetitive stress injury. My right wrist and elbow have been hurting for a few weeks. I’m sure it was a combination of knitting and re-introducing weight lifting to my very out-of-shape muscles. So, I’m giving myself a break from the fiber arts. So far, just two weeks away from needles and hook has made a huge improvement in the wrist and elbow pain.
However, I now have time that I didn’t have for a while. So…
I started working on Unquickened again.
Don’t get super excited. It’s really slow going. I am taking it in very small bites and doses. I’m trying to put these hard-won lessons about contributing positively, being kind to myself, and leaning on Jesus to work, but they are lessons I have to re-learn every day. It still hurts to open the documents and re-read them. I still have to silence the demons every time I start working on it. I can only do it for half an hour or an hour at a time. And I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to finish it.
The Muse is not really back. I haven’t had a real WRITING session yet. It’s more just re-reading, editing, moving things around, jotting down some notes, and thinking through some plotting. I have about 1/3 of the novel written from a couple of years ago, but I don’t know how much of that I’ll keep. Some of it is pretty bad. I don’t work on it every day–just when I have time and feel strong enough to stomach it.
But in the scheme of rebooting, this is a good thing.
I still don’t know how to feel about writing. I am trying to not insult myself or my work as much out of respect for those who actually DO like both me and my work, but that’s really hard to do. This is the “be kinder to yourself” bit that I can’t really manage very well. I still blame writing and my own mistakes for all the bad stuff that’s happened here. And I admit that I am afraid of opening the door to the writing again–afraid of going down the rabbit hole, afraid of being stung again by the writing world, afraid of hurting my family. Mostly, though, I think I’m afraid that if I start opening up my heart to the writing again, I’ll start crying, and this time, I may not stop. Like, ever.
But for the moment, for now, I can work on it a little bit. So I am.
The writing software is buggy, but it’s loading. I think the kindness software is loading, too. The perseverance software is up and running, for the moment, but it tends to crash without warning. But at least the OS is up again, and I didn’t blue screen (yet), so maybe…
Here we go again.