I thought I’d post a snippet of a freewrite that I did with the fabulous Dive Deep group that I write with. Maybe you are thinking you want to write something too? You should definitely go check that out because my facilitator Jen is amazing and the women in my group are some of the most supportive and talented and badass women I have ever had the privilege of hanging around.
The prompt yesterday was very hard for me. It was a prompt that asked me to envision my ideal “year off to write.” What would it look like? What would I do? How? With who? Where?
These are all (intended to be) very inspiring questions, and I had a lot of lovely visions of a house in Baja that I stayed in once, with it’s own mini beach/cove and this big deck with a hammock. It was truly awesome. And I thought I would love to spend a whole bunch of time somewhere warm.
But this is not what I wrote about.
I tried. I really did. If you’ve ever done freewriting or prompt-based writing, you might know this feeling where you’re trying to make your writing fit the prompt instead of the other way around? I do that a lot. I contort myself to fit in around things (even writing prompts) instead of making things make space for me. I don’t know if that makes any sense.
Here’s the thing: in life, there are people who are good at taking up all the air in the room*. You prolly know at least one. Let’s call these people Looming People. Then there are people who are good at letting those Looming People have all the air. We’ll call them the contortionist people because that’s what it feels like for me. Contortion. Bending myself into crazy, uncomfortable (though not unfamiliar) shapes so that the Looming People can loom in peace and I’ll just be over here in whatever tiny space that’s left. I’m so good at the contortion thing that I do it by default — lots of times when there’s no Looming Person at all, I just do it because it’s habitual — a place I know.
I am trying to stop being a contortionist is what I’m saying. Or to do it only when it’s necessary. Sometimes it is necessary: you have to be flexible — nothing wrong with being willing to give. But that can’t be all the time because if you do that, you end up getting nothing. Or to speak in the first person and own my shit, I end up with nothing except a lot of resentment that I’m making all this space, and no one is making space for me.
Anyway, in my ongoing quest to loom a little more (cue Ani DiFranco song please), I am trying to catch myself when I’m contorting out of habit and stop doing it. So like, with this prompt yesterday? I realized about 10 lines in that I was trying to fit my writing around the prompt and that I really didn’t wanna.
So I wrote what I felt. And I’ll spare you my whole ranty thing, but here’s the bit that’s staying with me today:
Here’s the thing: I just wish I were braver. That’s all. It’s not a huge wish, and it’s not that special. It’s not anything life altering, though it would be for me. I just wish I were braver.
I am tired of being a ghostgirl, but I’m scared to be anything else.
Maybe this resonates for you, maybe not. It feels big to me, and important. So I’m just gonna leave it here so I can come back to it when I need to.
Prompt: I am tired of . . . (or he is tired of, or she is… you get it)
Write on, if you wanna.
*not saying that there’s only these two kinds of people — these are just the two that are relevant for me right now.