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Why I Won’t Shut-Up

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I had a family member in not so nice words tell me the other day that I should stop writing.

According to them, my writing is worthless. Negligible. It doesn’t matter. I’m not usually one to get into virtual battles, because those require energy of which I have a waning supply, but something about the demand: you need to stop writing, caught me off guard and triggered the deepest part of myself.

The part that has known forever that my one duty on this earth is to share my stories by writing. That’s it and it’s everything. In that moment I felt like an essential part of my being was told to shutdown and leave the building. I responded the only way I know how, which was to say: I won’t. I can’t. I always will. I will never shut-up online. I will write until forever and then after. Because here’s the thing guys, when I write, I save my life. I put my truths online because they belong in the world. I have a voice and I exercise my right to use it every time I hit “publish.”

“At its best, the sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace. It is handed to you, but only if you look for it. You search, you break your heart, your back, your brain, and then — and only then — it is handed to you.”

-Annie Dillard and what I’ve found to be true over the years…it comes, but only if I start.

It gets scarier and scarier to come back on here each time I get a verbal lashing from my family, but it also feels like a dare: don’t quit you stubborn babe, don’t quit yet. There is so much more of my story I wan’t to share and it is constantly ebbing and flowing. I always laugh a little when people say they wouldn’t be able to be a writer because there lives are boring! I love writing from the boring place, here’s hoping I have that privilege soon. I’d love to not have this stuff to filter through. I’d rather toss it all aside and write about the mundane: the way the sun is hitting my feet right now and subsequently warming my soul, the little bit of sky I can see from my seat at the cafe, the way I haven’t had anything to worry about today because my doggy is on vacation.

But subsequently, for me the mundane is the magic. The hours I sat around and did nothing, the countless times I tried and failed and failed again, the 100’s of meetings I’ve been to and stories I’ve heard, the times when I’ve shaken in pain and worshiped the ground I surrendered on. The nothing is always something. Don’t stop talking just because you don’t think you have something to say. I’ve heard and read the most beautiful stories from the very same people who put writers on a pedestal and decided they couldn’t. Like for me, the best artwork in this world comes from the non-artists, the people who make as a hobby, who think they’re bad (myself included), who only made this one thing once. It puts me in absolute awe to think that I am the people I wanted to be.

“We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who we were born to be.”

-Anne Lamott

I remember being a freshman in college, getting a late night tea with a friend, the way she spoke shook me. She could quote her favorite writers at a whim and I remember wanting to do that, knowing I never could. If you have ever conversed with me you know I’m constantly referencing other writers and humans I love and have learned from. That didn’t happen over night, that happened because I didn’t stop trying. I never stopped reading voraciously. I kept writing and researching until the words flowed out easily. There is no secret trick, there is only the knowledge that the only way we become is by beginning.

These last few weeks have been hard and I would be pretending otherwise if I didn’t say they rocked me to my core. But I am still here. Years of on and off sobriety has taught me this: when you stay, you stay. It’s so small, but so big. The world keeps turning, but we decide whether we can keep doing the thing that helps us breath. It’s hard to quit, but I’m telling you it’s easier to stay. Work through the pain and there will be bounty. Sit here, on this beautiful shining day, and there will be magic.

The magic of the mundane.

The magic of the inconceivable.

One day you’ll become like her, but until then, let’s stay.

6 thoughts on “Why I Won’t Shut-Up Leave a comment

  1. I’m reading…binge reading really. Found you today and I need to know your story. So I am hurriedly catching up to today. I read your words and in my mind I am telling my own story. There are some similarities. Not a lot but enough to keep me reading so that I can find that thing you speak of…connection. I like having those moments where I say me too or I totally get it and I pretend were friends. I discovered the gray drinking thing today. I am 55. I have never been to AA or had a ‘real’ bottom. Although… truth be told I probably have had many bottoms…privately. :/ Then of course I have sobriety or rather “I don’t drink” for awhile to prove to myself that I don’t have a problem. Like the insanity quote, I am doing it again, the same thing over and over.
    Anyway, I felt compelled to write to you and say “don’t stop writing” because a random person who needs to read your words, (me) is feeling grateful for your courage and your willingness to share your story. It helps. As of today I am a week without drinking. no big deal, I have done it many times. Its actually easier as I get older and focus on being healthy but the residual of my past and the chatter in my head about it continues. That is what I want to stop. I want to be a person that just doesn’t drink because she doesn’t…period. Just like I don’t smoke or eat veal. I just don’t. You know what I mean?

    • Wow. I am so sorry it’s taken me a bit to get back to you. I haven’t written in awhile and was in the midst of wondering if I should just quit when I logged on and saw your comment to me. Thank you. I wish you nothing but everything you’ve ever wanted and a beautiful sober journey. Thank you for these words. You have no idea what they did to me!

  2. Hi Haley,

    Thank you! for acknowledging i think that was the first time I have ever commented on a blog. It is funny to read my words again. I still haven’t had a drink since I wrote it. However as you know the thoughts continue. However,
    I am going to go out on a limb here and tell you that I just finished a weekend course that has had quite an impact on me. Having been seeking and searching and healing and blah blah blah forever, i now get and understand why I do what I do and how to transform and recreate a different future for myself not only around drinking but everything including writing back to you.
    If you are still struggling and want new possibilities for real transformation Look for the Landmark forum. Honestly my mind was blown and I have been in the “self help” field for a long time. I need to add that I did not want to take this course because I thought it was a cult and I had a lot of opinions about it. (really, you have know idea)
    Any way, This may be weird but i am choosing being loving over my story of being scared and so I tell you there is relief from ourselves and it happens at the Landmark forum.
    If you want to ask me more call me x. also , this is not a sales thing. I mean the forum costs And its cheap as far as this stuff goes. I don’t get anything for telling you about it except the idea of knowing I have the ability to make a difference in the world by sharing. I can stand for you and your possibilities for an amazing future.

    With love,
    Lori
    I’m really not a weirdo. 🙂 Just stepping into the future I want for myself.

    • I edited your comment just to take out your number so it won’t be posted! Thank you so much for your sweet words.

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