I don’t experience writer’s block often, but it’s almost always when I’m having too many feelings.
I’m not an emotional writer. I care about what I say and how I say it too much to spew only feelings on the page. I wear not-feeling like badge of honor. I am self-righteous in my choice because I am more comfortable controlling what is seen than seeing it.
I’d rather critically consider my feelings, and writing gives me every excuse to step away and appraise myself and others. Writing looks for purpose, and while meaning can give solace, sometimes life is irrational.
But rationalizing others to find the nugget of hope and good and explanation is what I do. It’s what makes me a great listener and talker. I have the desire to understanding a situation or process first and to feel it later when the person is long gone.
I am empathetic without overly inserting myself into the situation. A feeling-less compadre with which to handhold without any messy reciprocity.
I am affectionate and caring or quiet. I am a soft rock upon which my kids easily find footing. My children are shocked when I raise my voice because I so rarely do. Instead, I assess the situation and quiet my mouth while screaming in my head. I meet the need and escape into watching them or writing me until my feelings have stopped.
I am also the parent who is told that my kids need to see me get angry or sad.
I also the person who is told that I need to treat my feelings like kittens. I have to let them in. Acknowledge them. Love them. Not strangle them.
I laugh at the idea. I say: But I don’t do feelings until feelings do me in.
Sure, I’ll let my kittens in but not until after bedtime or tomorrow or maybe I’ll have time to cry this weekend or I can watch the sad movie and cry about those fictional characters instead. I’ll wait until I’m breaking under the strain. I’ll wait until I’m not sleep or eating or breathing.
I stick out my chin and exclaim: I’m less stoic than I used to be. I no longer think tears are a sign of weakness and yelling a sign of strength.
Feelings are great for everyone else, I shout.
And anyway, I can finally say to a few people, Today, life is hard. I follow it up with 100 reasons why it isn’t hard. Or why it will be okay. Or why I deserve it.
Where is the line between self-pity and self-awareness? When is it okay to cry? To feel? To be less quiet? I don’t want to overstep my bounds. I don’t want the drama.
But after staring at a blinking cursor on and off for hours, I take other people’s advice anyway. I cry to myself. I cry to my husband. I cry around my kids.
I cry away my writer’s block.
I cry for 20 minutes and spend the rest of my day wondering if it is worth it.