Friday, December 2, 2016

What to do when it's the worst of times @LizFlaherty #GemsInAttic


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” - Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

D’Ann Lindun, who was a charter member of Word Wranglers, the group blog I’ve been a part of for at least ever, used to occasionally preface a post with “I got nothin’,” and I have to admit, that’s me today. And then I have to admit that’s been me for a whole lot of 2016.

It's been a rough year. Good things have happened--a new contract, good health, great family times--but also more pain, loss, and anger than I've experienced since...well, I think maybe like I said above, "for at least ever." I'm nowhere near alone in this. I've seen memes of the effigy of 2016 being burned. I know people whose losses are much more grievous than mine. My anger startles me because generally I'm a stay-mad-for-15-minutes-and-get-over-it girl, and it's not happening, but I see on FB (where I spend too much time) anger that is much more volatile and longer-lasting than mine.

So why can't I use this? Why can't I translate this huge vat of emotion into writing? I've done it before, crying like a baby over my own work because that was how I got it "out." And I want to do it again, to get some good out of this hideous pool of pain, loss, anger, and...oh, there it is. There is the crux. (This is what I love about blogging--I so often find the answer to my own questions in the writing of a post. I'm not sure if that makes me gifted or slow.)

Don't you just love the word "crux?" For a person like me who fears wordiness there's nothing like a succinct little word that says it all.

Oh, yes, as I was saying, the...er...crux is that there's a lethal dollop of self-pity involved in that
emotional pool. It's lying across the top of it like a layer of oil keeping me from getting to the good stuff. It's got all this "poor me" and "I just can't write" and "what am I going to do?" crap going on.

I'm pretty sure this is how I reacted when I was 17 and found out my boyfriend really was the creep my friends said he was.

So it's time I grew up. After all that's happened, nothing's going to make this year into a good one, but if I don't glean the positive stuff from it...well, that's my bad. The pain, loss, and anger are still there, but I'm nowhere alone in it and the self-pity is my own choice, so as far as my writing goes, I'm coming out of the "I got nothin'" corner.

29 comments:

  1. Hi Liz - I totally understand and empathize. Here's hoping 2017 will be an emotionally joyful year!

    Hugs, Becky

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    1. I do hope that--for us all. Thanks, Becky!

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  2. I'm right where you are, Liz. And, I have to say, unfollowing some people (not unfriending but checking that 'unfollow' box so I don't see all the virtiol) has helped my mental state immensely. I still get angry, but it isn't locking me up quite so much.

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    1. I'm getting better (you remember the Pollyanna blog ), but still have to stick to knowing it's up to me to change things for me. If I allow myself to be ruled by outside forces, who'm I gonna blame? Good for you for hitting "unfollow." :-)

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  3. My post the other day was about burying my head into the "happy" of writing a Christmas story. I have others that have been edited and are really really ready to move ahead with, but they're angsty and have conflict and after this past year? I just can't open up a file and work on angst and conflict. I cannot do it.

    I will not do it.

    Also, a friend I know has started NOT COMPLAINING. I don't know if it's going around or something she decided to do on her own...but I'm watching her be positive every day and turning her mind away from her complaints (my knee hurts...my blah blah is whiny whiny kind of stuff) And she's succeeding in finding the happy in walking in spite of the hurt knee...she's enjoying the exercise or whatever positive things are going on.

    I hope this makes sense...it's early here! LOL...but I've been trying to think of the positives rather than complaining.

    Add that to my happy Christmas writing and this last month of this hateful year should be a tad brighter.

    And boy...am I ready for 2017!

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    1. Lol. I'm ready, too! And I love the "not complaining." I'm NOT a complainer, and this is a reminder that I don't want to become one.

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  4. I kinda think most of us are where you are right now--I know I am and like Kristina adjusting my FB habits and follows have helped me a lot. I took it off my phone, which means I have to make an effort to read posts and I've unfollowed a lot of the negative folks, and trued to focus on the good in my life and in the world. Social media really controls our outlook and that's kinda scary...

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    1. Right, and the fact that we LET it control anything is not to our credit. :-) I'm not ready to give up FB, even on my phone, but need to limit myself.

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  5. Excellent post, Liz! Less than a month and 2017 will be here.

    Bonnie, I like the idea of NOT COMPLAINING!

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    1. Isn't that great? Be sure to thank her for us, Bonnie!

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    2. I will...I too often mention the "too tired" or the "this hurts...that twinge". Since my friend started this I go for the positive first (or try to) and then the complaint just doesn't come out. It really brightens the day!

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  6. I've loved nearly all of 2016. So much happened that felt as though hubby and I were jumping off a cliff and hoping the parachute opened! We moved into our fifth wheel RV, sold the house and took early retirement. Even taking a bad road in Tennessee and sliding into the side of a mountain didn't dampen our spirits. Hoping 2017 will bring more adventures---but with good roads! I try not to let anyone get me down. Life is too short for negativity.

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    1. I'm glad you've had a good year, Karen, hope the adventures get even better.

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  7. Maybe you're not quite done listening to yourself in your varieties of pain. Not fun.

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    1. I don't know, Lynn. For the most part, life IS fun, and I'm definitely crazy about mine. I'm not accustomed to the negativity Karen mentioned, and now it's everywhere--including with me.

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  8. I added this quote to my bulletin board yesterday, "The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation, but your thoughts about it" - Eckhart Tolle. Having come through a very difficult year I realized that I must make changes within myself if I don't want to drown in negativity. I hope you have a happier 2017.

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    1. I have to do that, too. I'm sorry you've had a difficult year, Carolyn. The odd thing is that I AM happy, but normally I don't have to work at it and right now, in this sucky year, I do. I wish us all a better 2017!

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  9. It has been a hate-filled year. I'll say no more. Here's hoping 2017 is better.

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    1. And I think what you said is at the crux (there goes that word again) of it for me. Hate has always been a non-starter, and these days it's everywhere. I hope we leave it behind us.

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  10. I hear you on 2016. For me it's been one obstacle after another to overcome, if not for me, then for a member of my family. I blame my lack of writing on that--but one of your quotes has it right. It's not the situation but our reaction to it. I'm giving myself a good talking to--and I hope I listen! Here's to 2017!

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    1. I'm with you, Barb! And it IS a good quote.

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  11. Hang in there, Liz. 2016 is almost over. Let's hope 2017 is a banner year filled with kindness, tolerance and hope.

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    1. I hope so, Jana, and hope I'm "big girl" enough to help make it that way.

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  12. Liz, hang in there. It's not been a great year for me either for a lot of reasons--but we are ploying through. I always look to the first of the year to reboot and this year will be no different, but I'll be rebooting in a bigger way. I've had three life-changing events this year--one good, one bad, and one somewhere in the middle. Stressors, every one, of course. But I'm also a "glass half full" kind of girl so I'm looking to the good things that come out of every change, and focusing on the things I can control. I've already got my new 2017 planner/calendar and I'm ready to fill it up with good stuff! Now, if only I could get back writing again like I was a year or so ago.... Thanks for your post.

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    1. I hope we all can, Maddie. I really hate that I've done the Debbie-Downer thing (and more than once!) My determination to get back to that particular glass is renewed, though.

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  13. It's cold comfort, Liz, but I know exactly how you feel. Life is peaks and valleys but sometimes it seems that the valley is wide and deep and the peak is short and small. The only answer is to just keep going and do what comes next. At least that's how I do it. I suspect you do it the same way. Wishing you a much better 2017.

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    1. I know how your year has been, too. I hope you have a better one, too. One thing about writers is that we do tend to be a determined bunch--I hope that helps us in 2017.

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  14. I can so sympathize with your post. I had a rather dark time when I had to quit working due to health reasons. I am so thankful for writing bringing me through it.

    It seems to have paid off--my debut novel is releasing on the 14th. Despite the challenges of this year, I can't quite not be happy with all the positives.

    But, I wish you success in your endeavor to not focus on negativity. Here's to a better year for us all!

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    1. Congratulations, Lori! Good luck with your release. Thanks for coming by and commenting, and I hope your next year is even better!

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