free-writing: inner critic (3.1)

free-writing: inner critic (3.1)

D's summer holidays have officially begun!

This morning, I woke up in my room alone as KrA co-slept with D. There were a few moments of serenity, followed by a crash-landing of the grief and sorrow I had experienced almost all of yesterday.

I mourned the 'only' one child I have in my life right now and all the others that I don't have, probably never will. I worried about how the day was going to transpire without the regiment of school to schedule our day around.

Five minutes later, I heard D's voice in the other room. He knocked on the wall to check if I was awake. I hesitated for a few moments, and then decided to knock back. And thus began our beautiful morning together.

In that moment, I decided sure – all these feelings of inadequacy will keep assaulting me, but it is up to me to take the steps to cope with them, face them, and assimilate them as part of my life experience.
Yesterday I felt as if I had no choice, as if life had dealt me a poor hand and that my life and, as a consequence, D's were doomed. This morning, I could once again believe that I do have a choice. I can always choose.

I can choose to lament what I don't have or to cherish what I do have.

I can worry about how we're going to fill our days of summer or I can choose to explore, come up with ideas, make some plans, and either follow them or go where the wind takes us.

I can feel anxious about all the times I've slipped up in the past and bury myself in fear of the future, or I can forgive myself for all the mistakes I've made and realise I'm only human and that it's ok to make mistakes and move on rather than hold myself to some impossible levels of perfection, which I'll never achieve, and keep berating myself for not being able to attain those standards.

I can feel angry that right now, I'm unable to write fiction and am typing out this free-writing exercise instead, because D is playing downstairs with KrA and gosh! the racket those two are making is so loud I can't even hear my own thoughts. Or, I can notice how much I'm actually enjoying this free-writing exercise, which I'm writing without any pressure or thought – it's practice for writing into the dark, it's practice for letting go of the critical voice that has been plaguing my writing, and it's so much fun to write here because these words are simply flowing out of me, my mind is not racing ahead, in fact I'm reading these as I type them out, it's not the other way round in which my mind thinks up something and I hurry to type it all down, instead my subconscious is offering all these words and I'm typing them all over here as fast as I can, writing cleanly, writing with so much fun, writing without thinking from the critical voice – and continue to enjoy this one hour of time I've given myself this morning, while also delighting in the playful sound of my little one, and wondering why on earth do I feel like I need more children when the sound of one alone sometimes drives me nuts even though I love this one to bits?

After putting in the words here, when I spend time with D, I can either choose to lament how I ought to be writing instead, because unless I write fast enough and a whole lot, I can't publish fast enough to make more money. Or, I can play with my child, explore things around the house with him – he wants to clean up the basement and his play area in time for his birthday – cook and clean and do chores with him, he's sure to make them all fun and pleasurable by his very presence, enjoy these days of summer for what they are: timeless, unconstrained by the dictates of time, free, the preciousness of childhood.

Because I will eventually get to my writing. I know I will. Right now, life has other demands of me. And I have too much muck in my head. That is not the state I want to be in at any point – either when I'm writing, or when I'm with D or KrA, or when I'm relaxing.

I want to get into the habit of cleansing myself, shedding all those thoughts and beliefs that do not serve me at all, and telling my inner child, my subconscious over and over again that I trust it, that I'm sorry I doubted it for so long, but now I'm back, I'm learning how to adopt a playful nature towards everything ... and who better than D to teach me this? D who makes even sorting of library books a fun, silly act. I'm the one who's in a rush to get things done, and am unable to play along.

So let me make the most of this summer to enjoy this vast expanse of time that stretches ahead of us to go about things at a slow pace, without pressuring ourselves to do something other than what we're engaged in or be somewhere other than where we find ourselves.

I don't want to wish this moment away. It is going to go away of its own accord, whether I will it or not. So let me simply enjoy it, rejoice in it, take it as the gift it is. As the gift this life is. This beautiful, beautiful life. With the wisest of them all, KrA, and with the most wonderful manifestation of life I've ever seen – D.

I still have about six minutes to go on the timer (I set a 30-minute timer for this session), so I'm going to try and fill up this space with something more.

This free-writing exercise is quite similar to Julia Cameron's Morning Pages. I tried doing that by hand, but for the most part I found it difficult to stick with it. I think I've gotten used to expressing myself better by typing on a screen rather than by writing on paper. I do not find it a chore to get to the laptop, log on to my site, and start typing.

I still haven't gotten around to saving these new posts that I've been putting up. Lesson not at all learnt from the previous debacle of the site going down, now that KrA has retrieved the data and I have to get around to re-posting everything back here. But this free-writing exercise is far too much fun and I'd rather spend time here than worry about old posts.

But sometimes I say something I'd have already said before, or build on something I'd have mentioned before, and that's when I wish I had access to the old post to link it here. Ah, well! I will get around to it eventually.

It's summer. The season of endless time. The season of timelessness. Of blue skies and white clouds. Of basking in the sunshine. Of knowing it's ok. If I'm ok with myself, no matter what we do, D will feel free to have a great summer.

This is what KrA and I decided yesterday. What D needs is simply the space to be his own self. We don't have to 'teach' him anything. All he needs is for us to be 'present'. When he's making a mess, I can enjoy it with him, instead of worrying about the cleaning-up we'd have to do in the future and preventing him from exploring in the present. Instead, I can participate or stand aside, and then help him clean up.

Isn't it better to live a life in which we can make a mess, trusting that we can always clean up later, instead of a life in which we dare not even make a mess for fear that we may not be able to face the consequences of it?

With that thought, I'll end this morning's free-writing session. The timer's gone off. Of course, I'll be back in the evening for another session. I'm enjoying this far too much to stop right now.

Oh, there's that niggling worry that I'm going to be doing this for the rest of my life and never get back to writing fiction. So right now, I'm going to point myself back to the previous paragraphs and trust that as I'm having fun with this now, I'll once again learn to have fun with fiction too. This, right here, right now, is the only moment that exists.

See you in the evening then. À plus tard!