The moment we get stuck, we panic (for me anyways). Something in our mind tells us there’s an urgency to find a solution because the more we dwell on it, the more consuming it becomes.
I have 9 published and 13 drafted. I’ve been on a hiatus with writing (I mean, I’ve been writing consistently but, none of them were up to my expectations). When I first started, I was able to sit down and hammer out a post in one sitting. I was so excited to start and I had all these ideas for posts that were just itching to be crafted. But it seemed that the more I wrote, the harder it was for me to publish. The expectations were exponentially higher because why practice if I wasn’t aiming for perfection? I kept adding pressure to something that was supposed to be enjoyable. Why?
I became an expert at avoidance. When things got tough, I would tell myself to move on. But things always lingered. I’d be sleeping but simultaneously knew my mind would be like that hamster on a squeaky wheel at night; hearing the squeak but had no idea how to fix it. It’s why I am constantly juggling projects; when I get bored, I switch tabs.
I live by a schedule, normally someone else’s schedule, but always a schedule. During the school year, I would wake up at the same time, drive to the same Starbucks, go to work, plan, workout, eat, plan again and sleep. I was never stuck because I could tell you exactly what needed to be done. I thrived under the stability of a regular routine.
Can people even be tired from doing nothing? Because I’m exhausted.
I’d reach out to everyone, make plans and then immediately regret it because I felt like it was something I should be doing. I didn’t have a healthy social life for a long time. I kept telling myself I was fine with it because I love what I do and the only way to meet my own expectations was to work for it. Don’t get me wrong, I took my breaks, had the occasional conversations over drinks but when we got to the inevitable “How are you? How’s life?” my heart sank. I was left feeling obligated to say something in hopes that it didn’t open up a conversation about how I was actually doing. It’s why I avoided plans until I was sure I had something to talk about.
It’s okay to feel stuck, right?
One of my main jobs as a teacher is to help students when they feel stuck. Whenever I give independent projects, I give my students a timeline, a tentative due date, a couple of dates for check-ins. Most importantly, I hold them accountable for the work that they submit. This gives students the structure but flexibility to work at their own pace. If they get stuck halfway through, they come to talk to me. Many students, like me, struggle with getting started. But once they get the ball rolling, man do they go places!
I needed my actions to reflect the squirrel running loose in my mind; I was constantly pacing, fidgeting, drumming my fingers and it became this cyclic pattern of trying to get unstuck. Physical distance was important to me. It’s why I prefer to travel outside of my home if I knew I needed to be productive. The physical environment needed to be conducive for me to reach maximum productivity. It’s why I could never focus in a library. It was just too quiet – all the time. I needed to see the cars, smell the rain, hear the conversations. To be busy, I needed to see the busyness.
It is extremely selfish of me to always want answers for everything. I hated not having black and white answers but life just doesn’t work that way. We have to work through those grey areas to feel satisfied. Putting 100% into everything didn’t mean that the outcome I wanted, was going happen.
For example, this post, I’ve been having a heck of a hard time trying to put my thoughts into words. I’ve been going back and forth with what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it. So I sincerely apologize if it has no flow or makes no sense but I think I’m just going to make peace with the fact that I finally published it. Hopefully, you are too.