“We come into this world with a specific, personal destiny. We have a job to do, a calling to enact, a self to become. We are who we are from the cradle, and we’re stuck with it.
Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.” from “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield
I haven’t written much in the past 20 years, and I have been claiming that time is the fall guy. Sure I’m busy, and having an extremely demanding, and disabled, partner that I care for does not help–not to mention caring for an average of 30+ animals for over a decade while holding down a full time job (with mandatory overtime) and running an animals rescue along with the normal daily duties of a household on a 2 acre hobby farm. That alone is exhausting.
But I want to write. I love to write. Even if a post is very difficult for me takes weeks to complete, like this one. During the past 20 years writing has only been periodic. This past January I decided it was time to be a real blogger and blogged most days on at least one of my blogs and then stopped–I got busy and now I’m back to occasional posting. In April, I participated in CampNaNoWriMo–goal was 10K words of a new novel, I got 2K. Again, I was “too busy” to write daily. However, last month I did truly have other much more pressing needs on my time, so I’m still patting myself on the back for getting 2K words of fiction written withing just a number of hours. After all, I haven’t actually forayed into creating writing for almost 2 decades when I tried poetry and a short story or two. But in the past, I get on a writing spurt and then stop writing for months or even years.
I do know now that there’s a lot more to it than time. I hear from other bloggers, self help gurus, and many others that if something really is important to you, then you make the time. If you aren’t doing something, there’s more reasons than just not having the time.
I’m finally admitting to myself that old cliche is true.
I procrastinate. I am lazy but also exhausted. I don’t have the confidence to share with my partner, so I write without telling her what I’m doing. And I worry about money, constantly. I have a million things on my mind, along with a million things to do, and am surrounded by negativity.
Mostly, though, I’ve been fighting who I am. Trying to change myself (or at least give the appearance) to please my partner, or at least to avoid starting fights with her.
When I met my partner almost 20 years ago, I was just starting my journey to be me, show my true self to the outside world. I was a shy person and wanted to please others, even if I didn’t believe it what they believed. I hated that. I hated that I was pretending I was breaking away from the LDS Church as well, a church I joined with my mom mainly because she joined and most everyone around us was Mormon after my family moved to Utah. It wasn’t because I believed in religion, but I felt guilty if I didn’t try and believe. Others said it was true and that you were a “good” person if you had a religion, so I thought it was necessary if you really were a good person. However, I strongly disagreed with the prejudices of both the people and the religion. I have a progressive and liberal mind while still holding to the belief of self sufficiency. Religion was a back and forth struggle for me that I had just broken from when I met her.
Denise seemed to be willing to let me be myself, and even though conversations proved otherwise, I naively thought that lesbians, especially non-white lesbians, would open minded. My eyes opened after I moved in with her. She was quick to anger if things weren’t her way. And with all her talk about discrimination and prejudice, she hated specific groups of people–even with her ethnic diverse background. I was, and still am, more opened minded than her. I started trying to do things her way, doing most things she told me to do, and staying silent if she said something I couldn’t verbally agree with. And she loved to spend money that she did not have, and then be angry that we were poor.
As a result, I learned to revert back to keeping my thoughts and ideas to myself. I reverted back to pretending or keeping my mouth shut. Only, I was no longer pretending so I’d be looked at as a good person. I pretended so I wouldn’t be starting fights with my partner. I pretended so that I could keep the peace. If I couldn’t pretend to be with her on a topic, I kept my mouth shut. I’m working to rectify that, but it’s hard when you have to do it while walking on eggshells. This made me a bad person, particularly because I had also done some very bad things financially in the past so she can have what she wanted.
As a result, I feel guilty about it all.
For so long I have wanted to express myself, but I feel guilt. Guilt because I am not living my beliefs, and guilt that I would be writing against my partner. I used to journal and write letters about my opinions and what I believed in, but now I feel like a fraud if I do that. How can I write about something when I’m pretending to do or believe the opposite? How can I write about self sufficiency when we foolishly spend all our money and our house makes us look like aspiring hoarders? How can I write about responsibility when we constantly bring in more animals in our household than we can realistically support and, again, spend money foolishly? How can I write about how being positive and lifting others up enriches our lives when I constantly hear is hateful speech and how everyone else is stupid?
I feel inadequate.
Besides my partner, whether inadvertently or not, making me feel like I can’t do anything right, I also feel inadequate because I didn’t have a hard life. Sure, my family is dysfunctional and my parents were (and are) selfish people and insufficient at parenting, but I was still safe at home. I didn’t have a traumatic childhood and my early adult life was pretty uneventful. Typical suburban white upbringing. The characters in the stories I think up, my heros, though, have overcome troubled and traumatic lives. They have lived in and traveled to cities I’ve never been. Can I really write stories about things I haven’t experienced? Going back to guilt, do I have the right to create characters that are taking others’ painful expderiences and hardships and not my own?
I am overwhelmed
With everything that’s always going on, and having to deal with the the scenarios I’ve written about here–I’m overwhelmed. I’ve been overwhelmed since I moved in with my partner and there’s no sign of any responsibilities lifting. While money troubles may partially lift from time to time, we are usually in severe financial trouble. Our house and yard is also a mess, a constant reminder that I am not keeping up with my “duties.” Our house, garage, and barn is full of “stuff”, mostly stuff my partner has wanted and I’m supposed to take care of. I cannot look anywhere without a reminder of bills we can’t pay or something I’m supposed to do but haven’t.
I’m out of touch
I stopped reading and growing. I was only learning about animal rescue related stuff or how to grow/market a non profit. I gave up keeping up on issues I cared about because my partner and our animal rescue consume all my time. No more reading feminist works, LGBT issues, or keeping up on alternative politics and religions, or even just enjoying a new book or mind bending movie that I was interested in. I also gave up on vegetarianism because it just became too difficult with my partner being a meat eater and a very picky eater at that.
Taking baby steps.
So, 2015 arrived, I had enough of life as it is. Giving my life up for what? Nothing? I had potential for many things before I met my partner, and I know I could have also made a financially secure life while pursuing my dreams had I stayed alone. But since that isn’t my life, then I just needed to live for the life I wanted.
I don’t know yet if I am going to stay where I’m at or not. Despite being disabled, my partner has a lot of abilities and can probably manage on her own, but allows herself to use the word “can’t” far too much. I can’t change that. She’s used that since I first moved in with her, before she even became disabled. However, I am not allowed to use the word “can’t.” That has made me stronger and able to do more things, but I’m now at an impasse. No matter what I keep trying to convince myself, I keep coming to the conclusion that life will stay as it is if I chose to stay with my partner. Despite the fact that she says she wants to be a different person and that she follows Buddha, etc, she has not shown any real willingness to change enough to give me a break, to not be constantly demanding of me and let me be me.
So for now, I just write when I can and wonder what I’m going to do from here and how I’m going to get out without feeling guilty for deserting a disabled partner and the animals. Been wanting my own tiny house on wheels, so maybe I’ll do that and still live on my property. That probably won’t been seen as acceptable, but it would be a new start for me. I hope.