I love to write. I have loved it my whole life. I have been writing my thoughts down as long as I can remember. I tend to think that I’m pretty good at it. I like to tell stories. I think I’m pretty good at that too. I like to tell the uplifting and funny stories about myself and my life. I feel like those stories cheer people and help them to overcome the challenges that they face.
I also like to teach. Teaching has been a passion of mine since I was 15 years old, and started teaching the Indian Lore and Leatherworking merit badges at summer camp. I tend to think that I’m pretty good at that too. I have a way with adjusting my lessons to fit the needs of my class and making the material fit them personally. I’ve had students approach me years later and express how I’ve personally impacted their lives. Those moments have changed me. I wouldn’t surrender them for anything.
I’ve endevored to express my love of teaching in my writing. I don’t know how successful that has been. The damnable thing about the Internet is the complete inability to read one’s audience. I have picked topics that are both broad and specific; both personal and public; that I am passionate about and that I am mostly indifferent to (less of those).
I haven’t published anything in a couple of months. I’ve written! I have saved in my draft file dozens of articles in various stages of completion: some induce writer’s block after the title, but are subjects that are important to me; others have the first draft complete; and some are ready for publishing, but the time isn’t right.
The truth is, I’m lost. I like to write about impactful things, funny things, insightful things, and uplifting things. But the last several months have been hard. Life is always hard for me: that’s part of being broken! But the last moths have been especially hard. My body has shut down more completely than normal. My back has been in a gradual downslope since I hurt it in 2011, and that hasn’t changed. But my fibromyalgia comes and goes; waxes and wanes. These phases are called ‘flares’ which is an infuriating term to me. Flare implies a flash. It implies quickly coming and quickly going. Some flares are like that: my over activity causes a day or two long flare that makes life hard. Others last a week or others, months… But my most recent flare started in… October? November? And it shows no sign of letting up. These are the worst kinds of flares. They make life nearly unbearable by themselves. Combined with the rest of my health, I’ve been a train wreck. Ironically, one can have a smaller flare on top of a long term flare…. I get those too.
I’m lost because, in the past, despite my health, I’ve been able to focus on other important topics: I’ve spent a lot of time writing about political things. I’m passionate about politics, though I don’t love them like I do writing and teaching. But the world of politics has gone from ‘powerfully important’ to ‘damned, no matter what you do.’ I haven’t had any desire to write about it lately.
So I’m lost. I want to tell the the uplifting or funny stories about my life to help others…. But I haven’t had a share of those for a while. So I want to teach about the impactful things that make a difference….. But the ability to affect change seems stripped from the good right now. I want to approach the overlying principles of faith and liberty…. But I haven’t found a medium that effectively conveys my messages (these are the competed articles that have sat in my draft folder for months: they’re boring: and I’m the one who wrote them!)
I’m lost because I don’t want my articles to be gripe fest after gripe fest about how tough things are: you get it, I know! Life is tough for everyone. But because I’m finding myself lost, I’m also finding myself without a creative outlet. I’m finding myself in deep, depressed anxiety. I’m feeling entirely unconnected with the world. I’m feeling trapped in an uncooperative body. And most defeating to my psyche, is the feeling that I have nothing left to contribute. I still have my children, and that’s no small thing: but I am left wanting to impact others besides my sons… And feeling like I never will again.
So I’m lost, and looking for a compass.
I titled this article “being lost; finding my compass,” for two reasons. If you haven’t gathered the first yet, that I’m feeling lost…. I don’t know what to tell you 😊. But secondly, ‘finding my compass,’ rather than ‘looking for my compass,’ because I am always seeking optimism (not to be confused with always being an optimist….) finding is more hopeful than looking. (In the same vane, my dad always took us ‘catching’ rather than ‘fishing.’)
It is true that I’m looking for some grounding compass, but I have hope to be finding it soon. I don’t like being lost.