As I sat down to write this week’s blog, my mind was racing with what to write about. I felt simultaneously devoid of ideas and drowning in them. I started two different posts before this, deciding that I either didn’t have the guts or the creativity to follow through and finish them.
My family was snowed in on Monday and I had an entire day to write, but I didn’t. I lounged around with friends and read synopses of horror movies I won’t watch. It was nice and restful, and as I struggle both with resting and being with other people, it was important for me to engage that way. But I still felt that little twinge guilt. I set a goal to blog weekly, to post on Tuesdays specifically, and here was an opportunity to meet that goal that I let slip by. This is a common issue for me.
On Friday, I wrote a post on instagram about being a chronic overthinker, becoming easily overwhelmed by ideas, even the ones that I’m excited about. The sensation of being overwhelmed now is different than when I was younger too; when I had deadlines for research papers and several of them due on one day. “Overwhelmed” then might mean that I would produce shitty work, but it had to be done and I knew I could do it. Nowadays, when I feel overwhelmed, what seems concrete and steady begins to melt away. I can’t function when I feel overwhelmed. I can’t pack my daughter’s lunch or answer my husband’s simple question of what I want on my toast. I feel delicate, and as someone who prides herself on her own resilience, this fragility is a major source of shame. But serendipitously, while avoiding writing yesterday, this article came to me tucked at the bottom of another sent by a friend.
It’s been a long time since I’ve thought about attachment theory. While I was in grad school it was almost like Pokémon, collecting your inherited family issues to share and trade with each other;
“Oh you’ve got a narcissistic father? I’ve already got that one, but I’ll swap you a drunken uncle for your drug dependent mother.”
I think our sharing and occasional oversharing was a way to connect, a way to demonstrate that we could be vulnerable and were evolved enough to not have to hide our trauma. I definitely was not evolved enough for that, but I forced myself to pretend to be. And in the pretending, miraculously, I did find my way toward growth. But it would take years before I would really be able to sort out how my family of origin has shaped me and what my attachment style is. In fact, I’m still sorting it out.
But this article, “The 4 ‘Attachment Styles,’ and How They Sabotage Your Work-Life Balance” really helped me. I knew that I have an avoidant attachment style, but attaching the /fearful/ to it made a lot of sense to me. I constantly anticipate bad news and assume that any time someone “needs to talk“ to me, it’s going to be very serious and I’m probably in trouble. I avoid them for as long as I can and then meet them in full “fight or flight” mode when I can’t any longer. And I never though about how my attachment style could impact the way that I function in every aspect of my life; that it influences how I spend my time, how I manage my fear. I especially didn't think about how it could effect my working life. But it makes sense work, whether alone or with other people, is relational.
Work isn’t a person that I can avoid indefinitely. Work is something that I either do or don’t do. I can either accomplish it, or I can fail. And failure is a very salient fear for me, but I’m coming to terms with the fact that if I want to find any sort of success as a creative person, I have to create. I have to work.I appreciate the suggestions the article proposes of reducing fear with positive self-talk (I’ve been trying to do this more consistently and have a running document called “Dear CRL” on my phone) and just setting small goals to remind myself that I’m capable of accomplishing something . I may have to go slower than I would like to and accept that I do get overwhelmed. I am fragile sometimes, that’s part of what it means to be human. And I have to be kind to myself in the process, or I’ll never get anywhere.
#blog #process #thiswritinglife