I don’t remember the exact date, but it was an early August morning. The day was shaping up to be hot again, which isn’t unusual for August, but frustrating for me nonetheless. I’d been working tirelessly on This Book and no matter what I did or how hard I worked it wasn’t where I wanted it to be. It wasn’t the same on paper as it was in my head. I’d been working so hard that my shoulders were riddled with knots from sitting at the laptop so much, I couldn’t lift my right arm above my head. I remember pushing myself away from my desk, closing my laptop, and saying out loud, “I’m done.” I remember taking a muscle relaxer and going to back to bed, and while physically I may have left the bed at some point that day, mentally I didn’t. Mentally I’m still buried deep under the covers suffocating myself with self-doubt and fear and too many other emotions to possibly resurface.
That was five months ago, and I don’t remember a whole lot since that day.
When I say I gave up, I don’t mean just on writing. That was the initial catalyst, yes, but I gave up on everything. I let myself mentally check out. I canceled so many plans with friends that eventually they gave up on me (I assume). I told myself it was easier that way. I stopped going on most social media websites because I couldn’t take being happy and supportive for people while also being so jealous it physically hurt. The only reason I left the house, usually, was to walk the dog. I shudder to think what would happen if I didn’t have him.
I go on a writing retreat with a group of lovely, amazing women twice a year. Last January Kayla brought mason jars and we filled them with encouraging notes for each other with the goal to be to continue to fill them and open them on New Year’s Eve. I put all of two notes in mine. But the notes I got from others were still there, unopened, so I opened the jar this afternoon. I smiled at each one, feeling a bit better about things and about myself. There’s one note in the very bottom of the jar that I fish out.
It simply reads, “Your work is awesome, never give up.”
I have no idea who wrote this particular note or why they chose to write that specifically. For all I know they wrote the same thing for everyone as kind of a “have a great summer!” that you write in school yearbooks at the end of the year when you don’t know what else to write. In the end it doesn’t really matter, because it was what I needed today. It’s what I’ve needed for months but didn’t know it.
I have no idea what 2016 will hold, but I’m somewhat awake again, which is enough for now.