I used to write.
Not a day passed that I didn’t create a piece of writing: long, wordy essays; stories, poems. I daydreamed in turns of phrase while loading the dishwasher; composed dialogue in my head while driving. I told myself stories, usually not the fictional sort, but real (if sometimes romanticized) stories about my life. About the choices I’ve made and what they have meant to me and about me. About roads not yet taken and roads never to be taken. I wrote to express myself, to share my truth, and mostly to remind myself of who I am and why I do things the way I do. Almost everything I wrote was, in a way, a love letter to my life: a celebration of the people in it, a reminder of the things I’d gotten right and what I’d learned from getting things wrong, and a nudge to keep things moving in the right direction.
Then, about three years ago, I just…stopped.
I can’t say exactly why, or how, or when I stopped. It seemed to happen gradually. I took a hiatus from my blog, leaving half-finished drafts lingering in the dashboard. I stopped submitting essays for publication, then stopped writing them, then stopped even cooking up ideas for new ones.
After 12+ years of near-constant expression, I just found myself without a lot to say.
At the time I thought I was just taking a much-needed break after having been cranking out hundreds of words each day for over a decade.
But now, looking back, I see more clearly what was happening: I had been slowly falling out of love with my life, and as I tried to draw on an experience or moment to use as the backdrop of a new blog post or essay, I would find myself feeling more and more unsettled. I knew I could get the facts right, but the feeling was all wrong. My writing was losing its heart. It felt dishonest.
I suppose my subconscious knew what my conscious mind didn’t yet: that my marriage was beginning to show signs of a crumbling foundation; that maybe some of the things I’d convinced myself I was so certain of, weren’t so certain at all.
When my husband and I separated in fall of 2016, I told myself I needed to start writing again. But about what? I wasn’t even sure I knew myself well enough to trust anything I put into words. Nothing could have prepared me for how changed I’d feel, how much I’d question the most basic things I’d come to accept about myself: who I am, what I wanted out of life. What kind of people I wanted to surround myself with. Which people I needed to let go of.
Three years later, now 40 years old, the divorce behind me and exciting prospects ahead of me – and yet with more questions than answers about how any of the next part of my life will shake out – I’m ready to write again. The words may be slow and faltering: in many ways I feel like I’m starting all over as a personal writer. But as always, the words will be there if I just keep showing up. My intent is to blog the old-school way, sharing what’s happening in my life and musing over big milestones like moving out of the marital home, learning how to productively spend the ample kid-free time I now have, and the absolute mindfuck that is dating on the other side of a 20-year marriage.
Oh yeah. And unlike my previous blogs, in this one I may drop a swear or two at times.
Thanks for being along for the ride.