The blank page stares at me, like a billboard that fails to fall out of my vision even though I keep driving forward. I type a few words, hit delete and then decide it is time to fold laundry, wash dishes or browse the web for nothing in particular. This is an attempt to sabotage. I know this. But yet, I continue to take this break, hoping for a golden morsel to land in my lap. My wish – words that are worthy enough to write or fall out of me with little effort. In this brief hiatus from the page, nothing materializes.
The tempo of March unravelled this way. I’d start, stop, return and hit pause again. The page is always waiting, like a mom bellowing for her young children to saunter into the house at the end of the day.
I suspect my uneven rhythm is the natural roller coaster of living life. Self-doubt slithers in our veins, like a shadow we cannot see, but in quiet moments, we feel its pulse, whispering, “This isn’t good enough. You keep repeating yourself. You are a fraud.” This dark voice is unrelenting when you compare yourself to others. We piece together stories of “what is” based on tiny fragments, brief glimpses of what we believe is the voice of truth. Speculation is never an accurate portrayal of the truth. But yet, I too, convince myself that the visible is more powerful than the invisible.
To break this dangerous spell, I seek refuge in nature. This morning I walked and jogged in our neighborhood, not quite certain of what I desired to find. Too old for fairy tales, I saw this as another distraction. As I laced my tennis shoes, I whispered to myself, “What am I doing? I just need to write.” But sometimes the things that make the least sense, tug on you, until you give in.
Running my regular route, I felt a tiny lift, finding a silent power in the blue sky, the yellow flowers scattered across the road felt like a welcome of sorts and the sun’s rays beamed overhead, a reminder that there is clarity in absolutes. I spotted a yellow and orange crowd of flowers in the corner of my eye. Walking over, the petals huddled together like they were whispering a secret to one another and I wanted to remember the image as I had seen it, instead of revisiting in my camera feed or on Instagram. I couldn’t help myself. I took it as a sign. Clicking the button on my phone, the vibrant colors popped even more and the words, “starting again” flashed in my mind.
What choice do I have? You cannot always push the self-doubt down, but that does not mean you have to yield to it. The words will eventually come. They always do. Maybe they are clunky, like a toddler taking her first steps, but like that little girl, the walk, with practice, starts to feel more comfortable.
When I returned from my outdoor refuge, I revisited the page.
I gathered my words, envisioning myself pulling those flowers one by one to form my personal bouquet.
Those flowers were a wonderful gift to you today! So glad it led you back to the page 🙂
Rudri, thank you so much for these words. You may not have felt like these words were worthy, but they were exactly what I needed to read today.
I am so grateful these words resonated with you. It is important to know that we aren’t alone in our quest to live life and create work that is worthy of appreciation.
Starting again. Yes, always. The words will come. Beautiful, Rudri.
Thanks, Kristen. Appreciate your kind words. xo
Oh this happens to me, and is happening right now. I am feeling so scattered and am doing everything but returning to the page. “You can’t always push the self-doubt down, but that does not mean you have to yield to it.” This is just what I needed to hear. Thanks Rudri. Glad to be on this ride with you.
Likewise, Dana. We all suffer from periods of self-doubt and questioning, but we must always make a conscious effort to return to our craft. Eventually, the practice will push us to an epiphany. xo
“You cannot always push the self-doubt down, but that does not mean you have to yield to it. ”
That is SO true and so important to remember. I feel like a fraud and a hack ALL THE TIME. I see so many words around me, including this post, that are so poetic and so beautiful in their language and honesty. I’m a much more concrete, non-poetic voice and I often feel self-conscious about that. When I try to break out of that though, it doesn’t feel like *me* so I clunkily move forward anyway one word at a time.
Thanks, Nina, for your affirmation.
There is room for all of us. And I know my world would be amiss, if your words weren’t in it. xo
I love the way you worded this. I have been absent from the page for almost a month. I feel slightly guilty but yet so free…in the meantime I’ve been doing lots of wonderful things. It’s when I’m not present in those other things I feel a twinge of guilt. Trying to teach myself I shouldn’t feel guilty when I’m living.
What a great mantra, Susan – no guilt for living. I do believe that even when we aren’t putting words on the page, we are practicing our craft through our observations and listening to the pulse of what we encounter.
Maybe it’s spring because that’s been happening to me too! Your writing is always beautiful.
Thanks, Tiffany. Your praise is sweet and affirming. xo
Tis a new season but one that is filled with more hope than winter, I feel anyway. It’s like coming out of a cocoon for me, slowly but surely integrating myself back with friends and society. I’m also sick for the 2nd time this season and I am happy that upon walking outside, I’m not freezing – the weather is more inviting. Hope you can shake off this period of self-doubt and embrace the new season Rudri! Have a great one -Iva
Thanks, Iva. Spring does renew feelings of joy and rebirth and the hope at least that the doubt will dissolve.
I’ve been writhing in self-doubt and feeling like a fraud too. Nearly daily. In every aspect. I keep waiting for the magic button to push for me to feel “normal” again.
I think the power is within me, as it is within you. Of course! There all along.
I experienced a period of self-doubt with a writing project. It lingered more than I liked, but I read a piece on persistence and it offered the reminder that I needed. We’ve all been there – struggling, muddling, but finding our way home again.