How to lose your readers in one easy step?

Easy…stop writing.

And there it is. A year of putting real effort into something that brought me joy and I haven’t touched this computer in two months because, why? Why exactly did my favorite thing to do get sidelined in favor of…well, I don’t really know. Everything? Nothing?

The answer is simple but difficult to articulate and maybe, if I’m being honest, it’s not that simple at all. It’s like exercising or eating healthy. When you’re a writer, you know you should write. Just like you know you should take the dog for a walk or not have that 7th taco. You know that you should make time and that it’s something your soul needs. So, why haven’t I made time?

True, I moved to another state, started a new job, moved the hubby into an apartment six hours away, and then have just been struggling with wiggling around to try and find a way to fit into this new mold I’ve created for myself. And the truth is, it doesn’t fit right. Things are just caddywhampus and, for the record, I just looked that up so I could come up with a string of similar words to be ….um…funnier. But, what I came up with is the correct spelling – catawampus – and the defintion: askew, awry.

So, that’s it. I’m all catawampus. I’m askew, awry, crooked, lopsided, uneven…freakin’ discombobulated, alright?!?!

But, for my kindred creative souls out there, you know as well as I do that when we’re feeling out of sorts or sad, that is when we reach new levels of creativity. AMIRITE? Which leaves me wondering why I haven’t sat myself down and waxed poetic about any damn thing. It would have made me feel better. Maybe I didn’t want to feel better. Maybe I needed to sit with the catawampus and wallow in all its crooked misery. Ha! That should be a creature. The Catawampus! Like the Grumpus Under the Rug. Mom will know what I’m talking about.

Now everyone knows how my strange little mind works and that when I say there’s a reason I make the mental leaps I do, sometimes that’s actually true! That’s my copy of the Grumpus Under the Rug and I’ve had that book with me everywhere I’ve been since I was a little girl. It’s been to North Carolina, Virgina, Louisiana, Iraq, the Philippines, Jordan and is now back with me in Texas.

And I guess I understand where this post is going now.

See, the Grumpus is a wiley little character. He was always getting the little boy into trouble. He put peanut butter on the mirror and toothpaste on the phone. No one believed that the little boy was innocent of all the mischief. They just assumed he was the problem but it was the Grumpus all along. Eventually, the mom discovers the Grumpus (under the rug, duh) and kicks his butt out in the stratosphere. No, literally, he became some sort of creepy smiling star by the end of the book.

There’s a point here. I swear. I’ll figure it out in a minute.

My point is, there is a reason I haven’t been here. I’m not lazy and my creativity did not go the way of the Grumpus (into the stratosphere – ya with me?). It’s still here but it’s been clouded over by a set of circumstances….and people. People who think I’m the problem or maybe problem isn’t the right way to describe it. Let’s put it this way, have you ever dug deep, put your absolute best self forward and been met with vacant stares? Have you ever been the only one in a room that has any energy or pulse for life? When you approach life this way, you hope that it will be infectious – that people will see all of your good intentions and thirst for joy and just feed off of it.

But it’s hard to maintain that level of zest when they don’t SEE you or what they see is just the package and the surface personality. They make up their minds about who you are and just stare vacantly while you happily bare your soul. It’s crushing…and exhausting. Snap judgment, quick reactions, dismissive attitudes.

Is it their insecurity? Most likely. So, we adjust. We try to make them more comfortable. We start conversations. We ask questions. We are intellectually curious.

And all of that…with very little in return…is exhausting.

I’d just as soon be booted out with the Grumpus into the stars.

But that’s the thing. They made me the Grumpus. They put me in a category that made them feel more comfortable with themselves and it is not always my job to make them SEE. That job is tiring and I feel sure it’s one of the reasons I’ve been a little off lately. After 43 years on this earth spending way too much time giving people space to determine I’m not a threat, I’m weary of it.

You shouldn’t have to advertise your greatness. You shouldn’t have to put your resume on a billboard to garner respect. People should ask questions, be curious, be patient and while they’re figuring out if you have anything in common, for goodness sake…just be nice. Is that too much to ask?

I have gone….askew.

Why did I stop writing? Because I didn’t want to admit that I might have made a mistake. I might have chosen poorly. This might not be the right road for me. And I didn’t want to give that the power of words. I remain hopeful and I know that this is just part of the journey. So, I shouldn’t be fearful of writing. Writing is not a contract. It’s not a promise. Just because you say you’re having a bad day … or year … does not mean the world is ending. It doesn’t mean that your journey is over or that your situation is hopeless.

So, don’t shy away from the proverbial pen when you’re questioning the direction of your life. Sometimes the words help you find the map.

3 thoughts on “How to lose your readers in one easy step?

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  1. I have found the older I get, the less I become about the small talk. As an introvert, I never did it well anyway but I just think that deep connection and authenticity are what always bring the value to all relationships. Eventually, surface level conversation runs its course and you’re left with another casual acquaintance. So I really hear when you say making the effort to put yourself out there and not having the effort returned is exhausting. I just don’t do it anymore. If it’s just a void coming back, I usually let it go. I like that you said you’re are a positive person with a zest for life. I enjoy those people immensely because they usually help improve my mood when they’re around. That’s not generally my default and some days I have to work to get there. Appreciate your words. And you.

    1. Thank you so much friend! I totally get what you’re saying. I am kind of an odd blend of type A and introvert – which I guess is probably where the weariness comes from. It’s tiring to be outgoing when you’d rather read a book. LOL At any rate, I pride myself on recognizing people’s comfort level with interaction but in this situation (work), being a turtle isn’t tenable – it means the job doesn’t get done and that ultimately means people’s lives are in danger which is something I think we all have a responsibility to address and overcome. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t always feel like being positive or having the zest or constantly being the instigator of engagement. I don’t think it should always be my responsibility I guess? ugh…tough situation but I’m grateful for people like you. Self awareness is such a good thing, isn’t it? 😉

  2. That all makes sense. I don’t know the personality makeup of your coworkers but I can guess, lol. And I will say, for myself, being one of those people that rarely comes in fired up with a ray of sunshine over my head, I really appreciated it a lot of days knowing I was going to be around a positive person at the job. Even if I didn’t express it outwardly or give them the credit they deserved for helping elevate my mood, I was appreciative of who they were. Kudos to you for trying to expand everyone’s emotional horizon, even when there’s very few takers. Sometimes you just never know the impact you’re actually making. And I know that to carry that burden of always having to be the positive one is a heavy weight to bear. Burns out a lot of preachers. Be who you have to be to get the job done most of the time and then be gentle with yourself when you need to withdraw for your well being. Good talk.

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