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Writing Bravely

It’s terrifying to write, at times.

Terrifying to put oneself and one’s thoughts out there for all to see. Terrifying to wonder what others will think–worse, what they will say–about your latest blog post. Terrifying to contemplate what strangers might conclude on the basis of only words.

One has to be brave to write.

Being brave is doing what scares me. It’s counting to ten over and over in my head on hundreds of planes, shaking and hyperventilating. It’s walking into a jammed temple in Southern India and taking off my shoes accordingly, forcing myself to connect with the pressing crowd through the very soles of my feet. It’s getting on trains and buses alone and wearing sunglasses over my face to hide my worry on four continents.

I’m tired all the time these days. I’m working nights, cleaning the house and cooking during the day, squeezing in the dissertation that still hangs over my head with a timestamp of “September 1” on it. And now (very happily) I’m planning a wedding in four months!

2014 is a crazy year. I started it a girlfriend, and I’ll end it a wife. I’ve been proposed to on top of the Rockies, and I bought a wedding dress before we bought my engagement ring. I’m trying to balance this international life in ways that seem so much more serious than before.

And I’ve been terrified to write. I’ve been afraid to admit what my MA course truly was (is?). I’ve been worried to write about the mental struggles this year brought me. I’ve been disingenuous and lazy about recording my life in London, letting the City slip by undescribed and forgotten.

I’ve been cowed by the way my teachers tore my writing to pieces and then changed their tune, inexplicably telling me that I should just “write better” when I was devoting 50 hours per week first term,and then rewarding less effort with 20-25% higher grades in the second term. I had all but decided that no one wants to hear my stories, and especially not my struggles.

Happy, easy, recipe-y writing with little substance. I read my blogs from 2011 and mourned the writer I’d become.

Other things have gotten in the way. I’ve lost my laptop twice, once stolen from my carry-on in O’Hare’s Terminal C and once lost in the bag that had more than half my material possessions that remains in limbo with no one looking for it. There are days I’d rather sleep than write, especially when I’m recovering from getting home at 4AM three nights in a row. I’ve been busy.

But writing will come back. I’ll write again. I’ll be braver. It’s just a dry period, not a persistent drought.


2 comments on “Writing Bravely

  1. mmonroe841 says:

    ‘atta girl! Swing back at adversity… Great blog!

  2. Nancy says:

    Dear Coleen: You’re too hard on yourself. Give yourself some credit. Love you, N

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