Saturday, February 18, 2012

Should-ing, Writing, and Canine Erotica

The weight of what I should be doing nags at me constantly.  I should be working, I should be cleaning my house, I should be going to the grocery store, I should be helping my son with his science fair project, I should be…showering more often.  Let’s just be honest. 

We drown ourselves in should, even if it’s just the dialogue in our own heads.  Right now, this very moment, it’s Friday night and my kids are at my parents’ house.  The Hubs is out of town.  I should be going to collect children, but I should have gone to the grocery store earlier before I went to get the kids.  I should get dressed in something other than what I was wearing yesterday.  I shouldn’t  sit here and write, for no reason, when I have all these other things should-ing in my head. 

Really, though?  It’s Friday night, and I have no deadlines or obligations.  Why do I continue to beat myself up about what I’m not doing? 

I want to be writing.  After a nice week long vacation last week and a week of playing catch-up this week, I should write something.  That should be at the top of my list of things to do for myself. 

Speaking of shoulds… I should really separate the dogs; I’m trying to wax philosophical while the boy Chihuahua tries, in vain, to woo the girl mastiff.  And by woo I mean mount.  From every which angle.  It’s oddly fascinating.  They have their own little canine tragedy playing out here in the living room: star-crossed lovers, trying to figure out how to make their relationship work.  I find myself rooting for him to figure out how to make it happen, for his own sake, even though I really don’t want him to figure it out.  Really, really don’t.  Fine, she says.  I’ll lay down.  But you need to get off my face.  That isn’t working for me. 

Did I just digress into canine erotica?  Oops.  Sorry. 

Anyway… Writing.  I was going to write about writing.  There’s something so cathartic about the clicking of the keys under my fingers.  Sometimes I think my fingers are doing all the thinking; I don’t even know what they’re going to say, not for sure, when I place them on the keyboard.  My thoughts don’t really show up for work like they should until I can put them in print.  I read something in a book not too long ago… I wish I could quote it properly, but it was too many books ago and I’ve forgotten from which one it came.  It was something to the effect of: He was the kind of person who never really knew what he thought about something until he wrote it down.  Yes!  I said.  Yes, that’s me.  Sure, I think things all the time.  But the thoughts don’t organize themselves into any sort of cohesion until I throw some words at a page. 

I've always wanted to write, but I never considered myself a writer.  I always thought that there was something else, something more important, that I should be doing.  And who cares about what I think anyway? Right?? Isn’t that the little voice that lurks underneath it all?  Who am I?  Why would anyone care what I have to say?

Then I have to remind myself of a powerful lesson I learned – and have to constantly relearn – from a very smart lady:

What other people think of me is none of my business. 

It’s a hard one to swallow, that.  I get a twinge when I pull up to my house and see the outdoor projects that go neglected.  What do the neighbors think? And what do they think when they stop by my house and the first thing they see when they come in is a room full of junk right inside the front door?  Do they judge me?  Do I look like a total slob?  Does my messy house make them think I’m a mess?  Or just that I’m a lazy slob?  Do these clothes make me look fat?  I think it looks nice, but then I remember that picture of the outfit that clearly didn’t look as good as I thought it looked when I put it on.  Am I making another error in judgment?  Should I wear this??

What other people think of me is none of my business. 

It stands to reason, then, that what they think of my writing is none of my business, either.  The best I can do is to just write what comes out.  If I feel good about it, I’ll put it out there.  Maybe I’ll start a dialogue.  Maybe someone will read it and nod their head in agreement.  Maybe it will make someone feel validated.  Maybe it will make someone feel like they’re not alone.  Maybe it will just make someone laugh.

What writing does for me, though, is fill me in.  I don’t say that it fills me up, because my life is pretty full, writing notwithstanding. Writing fills in the empty spaces in between, the spaces that don’t get fulfilled by work, by being a wife and mother, by being a friend.  I write for me, because writing feels good.

So... make sure you’re not should-ing all over yourself all the time.  Remember to make time for the things you don't have to do.  Then help me remember, too, because I forget.  Often.