Sometimes I completely and utterly exhaust myself with my self-sabotage. I hold back from giving myself what truly delights me and instead engage in mind numbing, soul destroying acts…
…like scrolling through Facebook looking at pictures of cats. Don’t get me wrong, I love cats. I love all animals, but the scrolling is neither providing me with soulful experience nor getting me where I want to be.
Like this morning – I knew I had work to do – more specifically, I needed to write this essay. I was scrolling like the procrastinating champ that I am, looking for “inspiration.” Writing seemed like the heaviest burden possible. Then, I came across a post about a collection of books I have written for before.
I messaged Trista Hendren, who is the founder of The Girl God Books, to ask if the submissions were still open for this particular title. She said submissions were closed, but that she will hold a space open just for me!
I am thrilled! The feeling hit me like a grave robbers’ shovel on top of a just discovered casket. I bolted upright in my chair with the sense of joy that flooded through me and realized how much I love to write. The endless possibilities of what will end up on the page, the conversations I will have with people who read it—I get so happy about being introduced to another part of myself. It sends bolts of energy through me, and indeed, raises me from the dead.
So why the hell do I procrastinate so much about such a joyful and nourishing experience?
Because my inner dialogue is dire! Before I even pick up a pen or a laptop, I have to jump over an assault of negative inner commentary about how crap I am at writing and why am I even bothering. Even before I put the first word on a page, I am exhausted and deflated from fighting myself.
Getting past negativity.
It is important for all of us to get past this negative inner dialogue. People with troubled pasts find it difficult to change our impressions of ourselves. While we are living in the trouble, we are not even aware of how we speak to or think about ourselves. We are so engaged with trying to survive we are deaf and blind to ourselves. Then we come into recovery and we are faced with all these conflicting sides of who we are, all demanding attention at once.
The loudest voice is usually the negative one because it has been top dog for so long. But then our creativity and self-respect make an appearance and throws our negative side into a tailspin. We don’t recognize the feeling of self-respect or the magic and joy of creativity and haven’t a clue what to do with either.
From years of self-harm, the reasons for the self-harm and the horrific consequences of both we believe that we deserve nothing good.
I am so familiar with that feeling of worthlessness. It is the most comfortable and ingrained feeling within my body and mind. It’s like an old friend – but an old friend that wants to kill you. That feeling welcomes and nourishes addiction, self-harm and depression along with anything else that wants to suppress us. It brings us no joy so we turn to artificial joy found in abusing chemicals or food or unhealthy dramatic relationships.
It is indeed a very difficult thing to overcome the familiar feelings that have sustained our lives as we know them. Welcoming new familiarity is a work in progress for me. My old life and way of being clung on hard and fast. I had to battle hard to release myself. But change is a fact of life for us all regardless of our past. Life ebbs and flows like the tides – we have no choice in that.
You have a choice.
What we do have a choice in though, is what we give our energy to. Each way of life requires equal amounts of energy to live it. My procrastination requires as much energy as actually writing an essay, but the rewards are very different.
I would rather be exhausted from nourishing my soul with creativity than destroy it with procrastination. Today I chose to do offer myself joy instead of misery. I did good today. Tomorrow, I just may scroll Facebook looking at cats.
The choice is always mine.