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  • Writer's pictureJenny

May I?

Felt like I should check in....and also I'm stalling on settling in for a decent writing session. True to form, I give myself little assignments that only serve to get in the way. In my defense, I really do need to do laundry and dishes. But I also really do let those things take up more time and headspace than is strictly needed. I live alone during a pandemic, no one is coming over. No one cares if there's a pile of mail on the coffee table. No one is here to see that the carpet could do with a vacuum. But, there's the other side of the argument. The one about how order in the physical space can contribute to inner calm.

My inner self is almost never calm. I have a mild OCD that means it's never, ever calm in here. So if the best way to get things done is to trick the brain, mine is pretty good at batting most of that stuff away. Usually, we can make ourselves do the stuff we don't want to by promising a reward -- a sweet treat, some tv time, etc. But I set up the same dynamic not always recognizing that the writing isn't a reward. It's not exactly a punishment, but the cold truth is that it isn't always fun. To paraphrase Dorothy Parker, I don't want to write but I love having written.

What I'm really waiting for is permission. Something that says it's okay to devote this time and energy to writing. And I feel like that's what I'm asking for when I try to do all the chores first. See, fates? I'm earning my allotted time. It's a little messed up, I'll grant you, but it's a good thing to know. Because that permission can only come from me. There's no balance sheet. There's no one keeping score. That my brain sees it that way is just the hand I've been dealt, and I'll have to combat it the best way I can. Sometimes that's about writing first thing in the morning before any of those thoughts can take root. Sometimes it's about allowing myself a little time to do some chores; tick a few things off the list so my brain can relax for a g.d. minute.

It's 9:47am on a Sunday and I have nothing to do today but what I want to do. So here's the plan. Make sourdough pancakes (reward first!), take the garbage and recycling out, and get to work on having written.

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