When I was going through my divorce eight years ago, I had a handful of friends contemplating, initiating, or reeling from their own break-ups, so at least I had company. (Granted, not the kind of company you want for dinner unless you plan to hide the sharp knives.)
What we all wanted was resolution. Not a silly list of do’s and don’ts. Real resolution—an end to the re-hashing, the second-guessing and what-ifs, a giant kiss-off to quitters, cheats, Peter Pans and control freaks, a rousing ‘up yours!’ to the judges and lawyers playing God in our lives.
In a recent blog, I asked if there was any topic you’d like me to write about. I thought it would be fun to have an “assignment.”
Dave sent me this: “I would like to hear about your biggest challenges for 2018, challenges you know that if you decided to embody and embrace, you would uplevel as a mom or writer, and allow you to give more of your gifts to the world.”
Hmmm. This is a tough request.
This month marks the winter solstice, the shortest, darkest day of the year. It’s a time to turn inward and allow the shadows to loom up and over us while we patiently, trustingly wait for the light. It’s fitting then that when I wrote last week about some of my challenges as a single mom, I heard from readers who were remembering their own dark times.
Three women shared with me why it’s particularly hard to hold the light around the holidays:
Today I want to write about something I’m pretty sure I can’t put into words. I realize that sounds crazy and it probably is.
But isn’t that the fascination behind writing–that desire to brush against the ineffable? To come as close as possible to defining the formless?
It is for me. And since Christmas is the time of year when we make lists of the things we want, I started thinking about those desires of our hearts that we don’t write down, specifically the longings we don’t realize we have until something strikes a chord within us.
Here we are, smack in the middle of the holiday season, and I’m waffling on how much good cheer I plan to spread. Too much will spread me too thin, and too little will make me feel crusty and crotchety. I’ve already told my kids that I don’t feel like buying a tree this year. “Jeez, mom, why not just cancel Christmas?” my daughter said.
See? There’s pressure everywhere to be jolly and generous, to shine brightly, to bake and shop and make polite chitchat. It’s the time of year for white elephants—the kind that come in wrapping paper or as 2-ton grievances that crush the joy out of family gatherings.
Vince Reidsma started out as just my friend Martha’s dad, the guy who kept the pool clean so we could swim all summer. Later, when I was in my teens, he was the guy from church who spent a lot of time talking to my parents as their marriage was unraveling. More than 30 years later, as one of my mom’s best friends, he has re-entered my life wearing a new hat: seasoned writer.
This poem was written by my friend Vince Reidsma, who has been penning rhymes for the Holland Sentinel every week for 27 years!
I have terrible writer’s block today. I’m talking the worst. I’ve stared out the window, snacked on stale peanuts, made a cup of tea and let it get cold while I paced around, yelled in frustration (just once), done two loads of laundry, and bought a pair of boots online.
All I want to do is write about being thankful. Why is it so hard? I think it’s not because I have nothing to say, but because there’s too much and no easy place to start.
It was my first time facing a group of millennials and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was serving as a panelist at the Indiana University Media School Career Day. As an alumna with a journalism degree from IU, I was there to talk about writing careers.
How would I relate to a generation steeped in technology and global influences when my college memories included snail mail, interviews conducted on landlines, an electric typewriter, and learning to “burn” and “dodge” photos in a darkroom?
I was lying face down in a dimly lit room, listening to the sounds of a harpsichord or sitar or something equally soothing, willing myself to be soothed. I’d been looking forward to this massage all week. I’d finally convinced myself that I deserved it and that I would not, under any circumstances, regret the expense. It wasn’t regret that followed me into the room, but a sticky cloud of anxiety.
Why did I drink coffee before my appointment? And why, why, why did I get on Facebook? I should have known better than to start my day wading through negative stories.