Friday, March 6, 2015

Moving Past What's Expected

I haven't blogged in a while. I was wrapped up in a major novel revision throughout January and the first half of February, and I thought when I came out the other side of it I would be thrilled to get back to blogging.

But I wasn't. I also found I couldn't figure out what creative writing project to focus on next. Beyond this still, I've been wrestling with bigger "what am I really doing with my life?" questions. It's been an introspective few weeks, to say the least. Probably brought on by how much time I spent trapped indoors and alone due to the hundred inches of snow Boston got this winter.

I've been in a confused, upset place trying to figure out where to go next. I'd open up my blog, and feel like I couldn't post anything because I couldn't find a science story I really wanted to talk about. I'd open up a new word document, but find I couldn't start a project because I couldn't decide which project would make the most sense to focus on next. I'd go to work, and fret about personal finances and whether or not I'd be able to secure a future and support a family with the career path I am currently on.

Nothing in my life was working. And just in these past couple of days, I've started to understand why.

I was focusing on what was expected of me. What others expected of me, and what I expected of myself. I've fallen into this trap before.

But today I put on my Let It Go bracelet my friend Marie gave me, and really started to take that song to heart once again. (I'm sorry for those of you sick of Frozen, but Elsa is my soul sister.)

Anyway, I realized that first of all, this is MY blog. I can post about whatever I want. Or not post at all. This space isn't meant to be stressful, it's meant to be fun, and if I'm letting it stress me out, then I've got to take one big step back.

Same goes for my writing. I love writing. But I've been panicking lately about writing the right thing next, and this is making me run in tinier and tinier circles in my head and I'm sure I'm on my way to imploding. So rather than try to come up with the perfect story, I've decided to let myself write whatever moves me. Right now, that's a trilogy I've been poking at for years. The first book is drafted, the second two outlined, and it speaks to my heart. I don't need to try and logically pick apart how marketable it is, because if I love it I will write it well. That's most of the marketing battle right there.

And heck. If I start working on it and decide it's not for me after all, I can move onto something else. That is okay.

As far as my job goes...well...I love my job. I'm really awesome at it. I like where I work, I enjoy what I do, and I feel fulfilled by it. I can't control everything in life, so I will just have to trust in fate a little bit more that I will eventually figure out a way to financially support a family by myself. I don't have a significant other, and I don't want that to hold me back from being a mother some day, so this is pretty much a constant concern. It's scary trying to plan for this alone! But I can't let that fear take control of my life.

That's really the take-away point for me. Not letting fear control me. (Elsa. Soul sister. See?)

I set up these strict deadlines and goals and convince myself that the world expects certain things from me. I don't want to fail the world. I don't to fail myself. But all these expectations do is trap me in a box of anxiety. I have to be free to do things that feel good, that feel right--even if my life isn't lining up as perfectly as I'd hoped at the moment. I'll figure it out. There's no way I can see the whole picture from this one place and time. Who knows what opportunities are on the horizon? All I know is that I work very hard, and I've set myself up in the perfect position to grab opportunity if it should ever finally grace me.

So as far as my blog goes...for my own sanity, there isn't going to be a blog schedule. I'll post when I want to, I'll write about what I want to (let's be honest, that will continue to be either science or kidlit, because those are my worlds), and I'll enjoy this space again.

I need to stop thinking in terms of expectations, and start listening to my gut. I need to pursue what makes me happy.

And I need to reread this post probably every day going forward to remind myself of that.

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