Pushing Through

All of us have times in our life where we just have to push on through. Just clench your teeth, put your head down, and walk straight into the metaphorical wind of whatever you are fighting against. Living with anxiety disorder, I have done some version of this pretty much every day of my life. In fact, I attribute my stubbornness in overcoming a lot of writing obstacles to the fact that I have a lot of practice in not giving up.

This past month I have been pushing through a lot. I’ve just been feeling physically awful for much of the month. I’m not sure how much is physical and how much is a result of an anxiety flare-up like I haven’t had in years. But I’ve been pushing through because when you have a 5-year-old, you have things to do. So I’ve done a lot of pretending lately.

Pretending my stomach doesn’t feel like the acid is churning like a whirlpool.

Pretending the acid isn’t crawling back up my throat.

Pretending my head isn’t pounding.

Pretending my brain doesn’t feel foggy and silent.

Pretending my brain doesn’t feel under so much mental pressure that it might explode.

Pretending that I don’t feel as if I truly will go insane.

Pretending that I don’t want to scream or cry.

Pretending that my legs aren’t weak and shaky.

Pretending I don’t feel unstable or vertiginous.

Pretending everything’s fine when all I want to do is go back to bed.

I am good at pretending. Most people never know. I want it that way.

At the moment, I think all this is anxiety-related. Some of it feels familiar, although it doesn’t present like it did the last time I had a major flare up (years ago). But all of the above COULD be anxiety-induced. October was a very stressful month, both good stress and bad stress, and now that the stress is over, as usual, I “fall apart.” And the end of November is always a hard time for me. My best friend’s birthday is November 29th. I lost her to cancer almost 12 years ago. The grief sneaks up on me every year at this time. So that’s likely a component of the anxiety, too.

I will continue to push through, because that is what I do. And, really, it’s the only thing to do, so I can get to the other side of this and move on. I’m dusting off my “anxiety coping mechanisms” and hoping they’ll help.

So that’s a glimpse into my world and what I’m pushing through to reach my dreams. What are you pushing through? What have you pushed through to get to where you are?

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Spinning Plates…on a Rollercoaster

I’ve written several times before about my quest for balance—balancing my writing life with my mommy life, in particular. I have learned one thing from all this searching:

Balance is a pipe dream.

Balance can’t be found, largely because I don’t control all the variables in my life that I need to balance. Just when I think I’ve got it all figured out, something changes. For instance, I am now used to having 6 hours a week free to write. Then summer will come and that time will vanish like a mirage. Or my kid gets sick. Or I do. Or technical issues stop my progress. Always something unplanned gets in the way.

So my new metaphor is spinning plates. You’ve seen what I’m talking about—the people in circuses who spin plates on top of thin sticks and then run around frantically spinning the ones that are slowing down so the plates don’t fall off.

Yeah, that’s my new life metaphor.

See, I don’t just have two things to balance—work and mommy. Each item has sub-items which become plates of their own. The writing has my fiction work, non-fiction work, blogging, sometimes editing for others, social media, and querying. The mommy has school, play time, dressing, feeding, washing, entertaining the child, among others. Household duties include everything from cleaning the house (that plate falls a lot) to doing the finances. And that doesn’t include other family and friends. Plates everywhere. Lots of running back and forth.

Inevitably, some fall.

Usually just one or two fall, and the crashing is cyclical. The social media will fall for a few days, then I’ll pick that up and the finances will fall. Then the finances are back up and the querying falls, etc. Eventually every plate gets picked back up, but it is rare I can keep them all spinning at once.

As if the plate-spinning wasn’t hard enough, I’m doing it on a roller coaster. It’s no secret that life has its ups and downs. Sometimes everything is going smoothly and I feel like my dreams are within reach. Then, sometimes just days later, I feel like everything is completely out of control and I’m a terrible mom, terrible, wife, and terrible writer. Usually the down time is when many plates have crashed to the floor simultaneously. All that shattered porcelain gets me depressed (did I mention my aversion to cleaning?).

But the thing is, I’m stubborn. Some people prefer the word “determined,” but stubborn fits me better. There’s nothing like life saying, “You can’t.” to get me saying, “I can.” Most successful writers I know are like this.

So, I’m stubborn and I pick up the shattered plate pieces, and I glue them all back together (I’m too cheap to buy new plates) and start them spinning again. I begin slowly, one at a time, and add them back as I can. But eventually, all the plates are back up, all are spinning, and I am once again on the upswing of the roller coaster.

What a wild ride!

What about you? Is stubbornness your key to pushing ahead when things are tough? Or do you have a different secret you can share with us?

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