A Blog by Jennifer Aulthouse

A heart for those who want more of God. A desperate plea for those who don't.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

On Writing IV

Usually I find a great sense of personal joy in the fact that I’m atypical. Lately, though, I’ve been wondering with great longing what it’s like to be normal. To finish the tangible workings of the day, sit on the sofa as evening transforms into night, drowning my attention into television, and feel no aching sense of pursuit inside that would tell me there’s so much more potentially to be discovered and experienced, yet leaving no promise that I’ll ever find any of it. I’ve clearly gone off the deep end.

I feel like I’m stuck in a Choose Your Own Adventure story......wait; no, there’s more. I’m not only stuck in it, but I’m being held responsible for whatever choice I make in regards to how this story ends, without seeing what the other options are. And bearing the weight of this decision has become such a burden that I’m crumbling underneath it.

Basically, I’m desperately, deeply desiring permission to walk away from something – something in particular hovering over me that is at times intoxicating and other times loathsome. I’m longing to be freed from it because of the looming sense of failure always accompanying its presence as I continually live in strife to incorporate this something within my life in a meaningful and fruitful way. And never quite seem to do enough. Or never seem to reap any sort of harvest when I can meet its preposterous demands.

Of course, as desperate as I am to walk away from this maddening and laborious thorn, I am equally terrified that I’ll be granted such permission. Then what? This intrusive burden has wedged itself into my life over the past few years, bringing to me with it an ownership of my giftedness, a bleak realization of the infrequency in which opportunity arises, small glimmers of ecstasy when brilliance, timing, and opportunity collide, and large enough quantities of psychological torture that would warrant UN involvement, all teasing me with what could be in the way I was drawn to the sensitive, artsy/musician, pony-tail bearing types in my younger years. They never ended up being as sensitive and artsy and pony-tailish as they advertised.

If you’re a writer, is it possible to break up with Writing?

We have such a connection, myself and Writing. I’ve never felt such a sense of purpose with anything else. But we’re clearly incompatible. I don’t think I can ever meet its demands. When I fight to create time and space for Writing, Writing just doesn’t seem to come through for me in the manners in which I believe it should. And everything else suffers because of the amount of mental attention Writing consumes of me. And yet, everything else suffers when I ignore Writing, too......

I think I just want to separate for awhile. Do the whole devoted mom and wife and community-service thing, and end each day with goals met and nothing beyond that moment pressing me for more. Let Writing go and watch it walk away, turning to focus on the here and now and nothing more. But we’ve been together long enough now that I know letting Writing walk away would be trying to force myself to fit into a life that wasn’t designed for me....and I’d never fully turn my focus. I’d always be watching the path to see if Writing might come back.

Well, I’m tired of feeling like I’m leaving something behind. I can’t give all parts of my life right now the attention they all deserve. And it can’t be Writing that’s broken up with, even though that’s the one whose absence will leave much more mental, emotional, and tangible room for the rest to be attended to. It’s the biggest psychological pain in the tuchus to me; but it’s who I am......a psychological pain in the tuchus.

I’m at a point in the story where I have to choose what page I’m going to go to. I can’t keep experiencing life as a to-do list, in a just-do-it-good-enough-to-get it done mindset. Something’s going to have to go. A few things are going to have to go. A few things that I don’t want to let go of are going to have to go. A few things whose absence I will mourn.....but I trust will come back to me some day. So I will spend some time in prayer, assuring that what is cut is what is meant to be cut, regardless of how painful or nonsensical it all seems to me. I can’t break up with Writing and Writing can’t break up with me.