Monday, July 23, 2012

A Writer's Life

Although I may at times curse it and think myself weird, although it may result in my wandering off alone, spending Friday nights in seclusion with only a notebook, a pen, and my thoughts, I do believe I am meant to live a writer's life. It is not always the most entertaining, and it sometimes can be quite lonely, but if one doesn't mind being alone sometimes, then perhaps it is not a sorry thing to be. While I of course enjoy my time with my friends and would get terribly antsy if left alone for too long, I will not deny that after a consecutive amount of days spent in the company of others who don't share my same rhythm, I thirst for a period of solitude. Being a teenager and having these cravings can be difficult sometimes, when my friends are off playing but I know I am perfectly content writing or reading. But it is not something to dwell over or think too heavily on. The best antidote is to feed these cravings with exactly what they yearn for: an hour or two of solitary running, kayaking, writing, reading, or some other form of physical activity or reflection. And then I can return graciously to the hustle-bustle of the everyday life.

I have always been somewhat of a homebody. I used to––and sometimes still do––get mad at myself when a friend would invite me out, and I would decline because I wanted to spend the evening home writing or reading. There was one particular Friday night when I stayed home from a school dance to finish reading "Catching Fire," the second book in the best-selling trilogy by Suzanne Collins. There was another night I can recall when my friend invited me over to watch a movie, but I remained home to be with my short story I was writing for school. "I'm not a normal teenager," I reflected to my mom on that particular night. But what is a "normal teenager?" Who says I must comply by the general teenage definition of a fun Saturday night when the whole time my heart would be longing to get back into the enchanted woods of Icnoytol, the land of friendship? Who was going to save Fe? The longer I stayed away, the more her secret threatened to erase her forever.

I've learned that I am one who needs her share of solitude to balance her social life. I can't be going out every Friday night. After a stressful week of school, I need to come home and just have time for myself: write for myself, run for myself, what-have-you. I need time to reflect. I get run-down if I pack too many activities into a week. I've learned to just accept this. You should never be ashamed to do what you love to do. If you love to fence, fence. If you love to garden, garden. My family has an artist friend who at the last minute, cancelled a vacation with her niece because she couldn't bear the notion of leaving her painting. Never apologize for who you are, but also allow yourself to be pushed out of your comfort zone. If I haven't seen my friends in awhile, then I will push myself to prioritize a party over a night at home. It's all about balance.

Too many people live their lives unhappy. The married woman who can't stand to be alone with her husband stays with him, and she is unhappy. The teenage girl who is tired of singing, stays with it because she says she has nothing without it, and she is unhappy. The high school athlete who hates track, stays with it because he is afraid of disappointing everybody, and he is unhappy. Disappoint who? The coach? The other athletes? The parents? The spectators? Yet he says he'd rather be unhappy than disappoint everyone else.

Why? We can only live our lives for ourselves, because in the end, that is all we have. People come in and out of our lives. Are we going to sacrifice our happiness for someone who may be insignificant five, ten years from now? We can only spread our energy so thin. We have to accept that we won't always be able to please everybody. We have to pick the few whose opinions we value greatest. As Dr. Seuss wrote, "Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter." (I'm sorry if I've quoted that before.)  Be who you are. Embrace it. Love it. Own it.

Do you ever feel like "an outsider?" Do you ever struggle with balance? Have you ever felt "guilty" for doing what you want to do (i.e. staying home even though your friend wanted you to go to the movies)?  I don't have it all figured out. My mom graciously reminds that I will spend my entire life figuring it out. I can only hope that I will only ever make progress.

Sweet Dreams,

Megan ;)

P.S. "Did you notice?" is updated.


Gigi Thibodeau said...

What a great post, Megan! Yes, I agree that the writer's life is often a solitary one, and we have to learn how to balance that need for solitude with time spent among friends and family. After decades of this life, I am still learning, although I am now better at claiming the time I need for writing. In fact, I'd say I'm much better at it. Life's too short to spend it doing things we don't love.

xo Gigi

Megan said...

Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Gigi! I know you yourself have been very busy between the new house, your book, and trying to maintain your own blog, so I really appreciate you taking the time to read my post and offer your insight. It's comforting to know that it does get easier as you get older, but also that it is still something even the most experienced of us struggle with.