In 1922, in a letter to his friend Max Brod, Franz Kafka wrote “A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.” It’s not a new quote for me. I’ve had it on a post it for years. I believe it to be true. Still, I hesitate to let the thoughts flesh themselves out on the page. I try to recommit to writing and yet here I am once again. I’ve held back.
Why do I hold back? I’m not entirely sure. I love to write. I’ve always loved writing. Once I begin it’s the crack in the dam scenario and the words surge forth.
Perhaps fear of the flood that follows is what makes it so hard to begin. The rush of creativity and coupled with the vulnerability brought on by the exposure will surely overtake me. I fear it will send me spinning among the rocks beneath the churning surface; smashing and bruising me until I’m nothing more than sodden corpse to be washed up later on a dusky beach somewhere, to traumatize a pair of young lovers who’s only goal was to share a kiss in the glow of the sunset. Yeah. Something like that.
I’m working it out. I have no desire to enrage a beast to the point of insanity. A writer must write. I KNOW this. And yet…
It seems logical that the concept behind Kafka’s words applies to the stifling in general of one’s passions, dreams, and gifts. So? How about you? What’s nagging at you? Do you have a little something special that you’re keeping on a high shelf? We mamas do that. We tell ourselves we don’t have time. We may revisit the idea once in a while; take it down, ponder it, and dream a bit, only to say “someday, when the kids have grown.” More often though, I believe we fear where the pursuit might take us and what it will require of us downstream. A rushing torrent may overwhelm us, or a meandering flow might float us along. It doesn’t matter. We barely have the energy to keep our head above still waters, because we are unquestionably exhausted! Far too often though, we grab the nearest stationary object and hold tight seeking “rest” in ways that don’t revive us. Yes. Sometimes we feel the need to grab hold of a week of naps, or binge watch a show while eating chocolate and drinking wine, but allowing those shallow gasps of air to take the place of deep, oxygen rich breaths that prepare us to dive to depths we’ve never experienced, is a surefire way to be drowned in overwhelm and regret.
What are you doing to grow your capacity to go to greater depths? Is there too much going on in your mind to sort through? Do you need ideas or strategies? Do you need resources to help you deal with your fears or overwhelm? Or are you in need of a retreat to even begin to dream? It’s my hope that this post and those to come will inspire and encourage you to figure out what you need, to help you do your thing.
Being moms and pursuing our passions is daunting, but it’s doable. We may not believe it right now but we’ve navigated much tougher things as moms than we’ll ever confront while pursuing our passions. We can do it.
While we’re at it, let’s not allow each other to drown. Let’s be life rafts.
Our best friend, our neighbor, the woman checking our groceries, or the one serving us on a rare night out might need a handhold today, she may need the emotional equivalent of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation! Be that. When we have opportunity to do so, let us encourage not just the dreaming, but the doing as well. Let’s get creative and help each other in any way we can. Swap child care hours, loan a computer, or barter services to fill in each other’s gaps. We always have opportunity to be a heroine in another woman’s story.
We must be kind to one another. We must stop ourselves in our tracks when the urge to judge another woman’s passion or success creeps in. We have endured enough as a whole. Let’s have grace for one another individually. Let’s lift each other up to pursue our passions, explore the depths, do the things, and keep the monsters at bay.