But I don’t feel like it

original art – acrylic on canvas

I am bored with myself. This morning I feel like I have nothing to say. I feel like turning my brain off and thinking about nothing. I don’t want to be challenged, I don’t want to plan, I don’t want to write this. Is it time to stop writing my blog? Is it time to spend my Saturday mornings doing something different? Even though I am not sure what that would be. I feel myself slipping into wanting just to be ‘comfortable’. I do have a comfortable life. I have a nice home, a good marriage, my daughter is doing great in college and will graduate in a year. I have a good job, and really good friends at work. I have good friends outside of work that love and care about me. I love the friends I have met on Instagram. I am healthy and my family is healthy. I feel very fortunate for all the beauty and love in my life. I could work my 40 hours a week, and hang out on the weekends. I could give up my blog and instead sleep in, go out to breakfast and watch a movie. This is an option for me, it is my choice to write this blog or not write it.

But I closely relate to the saying of being like a dog, ‘ If I don’t have a purpose, I will dig up the whole back yard.’ I know this about myself, or I guess I should say I have learned this about myself. If left to my own devices I will start to turn on myself and the people around me. My brain will start to criticize my past failures, my present missteps, and predict a bleak future. My brain will obsess on details and I will become negative. This is the place that my brain is constantly pulling me towards, and I have to take conscious steps not to go there. I used to tell myself that ‘THIS time I won’t go there’. I am just going to relax, not challenge myself and think of nothing. But 100% of the time I go there. I know this from being me.

So, when I start to feel that pull, I have learned to not give in to it. But sometimes my brain and body follow very slowly and unwillingly. It is like I am walking in thick mud, and it is raining hard, and I have my head down but I can hear a voice in the distance saying, ‘Come on, you can do it, a little farther and there is dry land and sunshine.’ So, I just keep moving forward towards that voice. I am 53 years old, and believe me I have tried ALL the other alternatives to following that voice. None of them worked. The only thing that works is just putting one foot in front of the other.

In moving forward instead of giving in, I am keeping the commitments that I have made to myself. Like writing this blog. I didn’t feel like writing it this morning, but I am keeping my commitment to write it. And as I sit here writing it, I feel my body and spirit feeling lighter, and I am starting to feel happier. With each word I type, and each thought I get out, I feel better. And I know when I am done writing, I will feel really good that I completed this. I will read it back, and I will learn something new about myself. What I am writing will inspire me to draw a picture about it. The picture will make me happy when I look at it. This will inspire me to write and draw some more. This is how it works for me, and because I know this, I sit down and write.

But it is not like it ever becomes easy. I have been writing this blog once a week for 15 months now, but some days I still feel the exact same way I did when I first started. Some days it is hard. Some days I am irritable right before I write. Some days I feel empty and like I have nothing to say. Some days I feel like people are just being nice when they say they like my writing. Some days I just want to be ‘comfortable’ in my self imposed isolation and go deep into my negative thoughts about how no one really cares about me. Some days it feels good to do this. It is like eating birthday cake with thick cream frosting, and whip cream and ice cream. I know it is going to end badly with an upset stomach and me regretting it, but it feels so good at the time. It is like a release. Beating myself up afterwards somehow feels good too. It is a whole pity party cycle of self involvement. I can relax there. I don’t have to be challenged because no one cares what I do, so it doesn’t matter if I do anything. I can let go of responsibility and blame everyone else but me. If they cared more, I would do more.

Believe me, I have lived there! And still today, when challenges come up it is my reflex to go to that place. But I know better now. I know that it never ends well. So, I write my blog every Saturday morning and by the time I am done, my negative mood before I started writing is gone. I am over it!

Regardless of my feelings, I show up for work at my finance job every morning, I show up for my daughter and my husband, I show up for my friends. Regardless of my feelings I show up and take care of my responsibilities; I pay the mortgage, taxes, my bills. I am dependable, the people in my life know this about me and it makes them feel good.

Now I do the same for me. I keep my commitments to myself so that I can feel good too. Now regardless of my feelings, I show up for me

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  1. Hi, Peta
    You just did your morning pages, and it got all that out of you and ended up making sense of it all for you. Did you ever read “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron? That’s where I got the term “morning pages.” It’s the way that artists can clear their minds and end up inspired and making sense of their art and life. The words that come out of you could be anyone’s words. We have all felt the same. That’s true art, and the worth of sharing.
    Thanks, Angie

    1. Wow I read the artist’s way years ago. I remember that I liked it, but really can’t remember the content. I definitely cleared my mind with that blog, right? I wasn’t sure what to write so I just wrote exactly what I was feeling. By the time I was done I did feel a lot better. I will have to revisit that book. I feel like I feel this way when something is going to change, or I am putting myself out there more, first I withdrawal and then I take the next step. Thanks so much for your insight! Love, Peta

  2. Oh, I do understand! That’s what comes so hard, for some reason – showing up for ourselves, keeping those commitments to ourselves. Why does everyone else and everything else seem more worth our efforts than we do, ourselves? I’m glad to hear that you are pushing through, even when you don’t feel like it. I have been trying to do that as well, and I feel pretty successful, but it is easy to slip and sometimes to stay there. It’s also good to remember that it’s ok…yes there are days when we really don’t feel like it at all. Thanks for sharing this, Peta!

    1. Thanks for sharing Lisa, I agree that we hold ourselves to such a standard in others eyes, but we have to hold ourselves to that standard in our own eyes. When I keep my commitments to myself I feel more confident and capable. It makes me feel better all round. I am calmer, and I don’t feel like it is a sacrifice to do for others, when I have taken care of myself. It is a struggle for sure sometimes though! Love, Peta

  3. Wow! I so connect with this! So many times I feel the same way! Beautifully written, real, raw. I have been posting twice a week now for about 2 years. and I feel that apprehension before I start and the sweet relief when I am finished and I can soak in the satisfaction of accomplishment for a hot minute, and then I start thinking about the next one. It really is quite a relationship for me with myself over these posts… some love, some fear, some dread, some pride… great post!

    1. Hi Amy, I totally get it. All sorts of things go through my head sometimes before I write. It is like my mind is playing with me, and it will say, Why are you doing this? Will anyone read it? What do you have to say? I almost put myself down before I start, when I am in that mood. But I have learned just to ignore all that and start writing. And it really doesn’t get easier. It is commitment just like any other, to keep to ourselves to write. Love, Peta

  4. Hi Peta,
    I so appreciate this post because I have felt this way at times too. And like you shared, I too have to give myself a pep talk. It is kind of a strange world isn’t it?

    1. Hi Amy, I think it is unconscious behavior to do for others, and show up at work, and take care of things without even questioning it, but when it comes to ourselves, or at least me, I am the last on my own list, and I really am working on changing that! Love Peta

  5. Peta:
    I LOVE this post and I’m not just saying that;) You have a great way of expressing yourself and I feel like I’m there going through those emotions with you. Maybe because I too go through that. I have made commitments to myself that I am not keeping right now. I keep my commitments to everyone and everything else, but why not me?? I’m going to do better about this, because of your post! You kept your commitment and you helped me.

    1. Thanks Melanie! I am so glad that this spoke to you. We have to keep our commitments to ourselves first, right? I didn’t ‘feel’ like writing my blog post but I knew I would feel better if I did it, and I started to think of all the things I do for others when I don’t ‘feel’ like it, so I should do this for me too!! So glad you are going to work on keeping your commitments to yourself! Love, Peta