Where I am now

When I lost my mother on March 25, I fell into a state of numbness. As much as I tried to function in this fast-paced world, I couldn’t keep up. I fell further and further behind. I managed to do my job, to my job well, but I feel as though I failed at everything else. By the time I returned home each evening, I had nothing left. I was an empty shell.

When my father passed away unexpectedly on June 27, my strong emotional pillars collapsed, and I realized for the first time in my life what it feels like to be lost.

If it weren’t for the grace and mercy offered by members of my family and select friends, I think I would be stuck in neutral, totally unable to move. I’m an only child, and I always feared the day I would lose my parents. But that day comes to all of us.

I’ve learned the great toil grief takes on writing. Last year at this time I was on the fast track to learning how to get published. The future was bright. But I’ve been stopped in my tracks in a dark tunnel. I can’t see the light at end. Maybe it’s after the bend. Despite my love of and appreciation for my writing groups, I can’t participate. I have nothing to offer.

I’ve signed up for the writing conferences. Maybe I’ll serendipitously stumble on what I need.

So instead of writing fiction, I have picked up my guitar and have found a different type of outlet for creative expression—writing lyrics. I consider myself one of the privileged few who is on a first-name basis with a a couple of the very best, award-winning songwriters in Nashville. They have what it takes to pen a hit. I don’t. But That’s not my goal. Sure I know you need a catchy riff, a hook, plenty of imagery, a few metaphors thrown in, and God’s grace shining down on you to make a song-writing dream come true.

But all I really want is to tell the truth—to write what I’m feeling even if I don’t understand it. Even if it’s the worst song in the world. Even if my syllables are a bit off and it only has three chords.

Lately, I’ve been on a blues kick as you can probably tell from my earlier posts, so a lot of what I have written lately uses a blues-type progression. But what I write is inspired by life itself.  Life is unfair. Our dreams are unfaithful. Our plans often fail. But there’s always the chance hope will prevail.

If I could write the ultimate song, I would write it for the people who have taken time to listen to me. I guess that’s what all writers want—a good listener. I guess that’s what all friends need, a good listener who really cares, who never lies, and who always understands.

If could share any tidbit of advice with a reader going through a difficult period, I would strongly suggest finding some outlet of expression. You can’t keep feelings bundled up forever.

What you write, what you paint, what you play doesn’t have to make sense to anybody else as long as what you express is the truth and you give yourself a chance to purge itself of whatever you’ve been holding back.

18 thoughts on “Where I am now

  1. Oh Tee, I’m grateful that you found something to give you some comfort during this difficult time. You are so talented in expression, thought and deed. You are in my prayers and I know that even though you can’t see a clear direction, God is using you and has a wonderful plan for your talents. God Bless!

  2. I’m an only child, too. Three years ago, I lost the father I never knew, except in his last few years, by phone and cards (snail mail). It wasn’t really enough, but it’s all I had and I’m grateful. Sunday, my mom celebrates her 90th birthday. All her siblings are long gone.

    I know that, sooner rather than later, I will face her loss. Your words and example are pillars of support for me. Keep on playing and let your guitar gently weep. We’re your back up band, using prayers instead of drums.

  3. Mother T– Obviously “sorry for your loss”…I don’t even like typing those words because I know you have heard them probably, say, 9,769,001 times lately. The numbness I wholeheartedly understand. I understand just going through the motions but still feeling utterly lost. When David (stepdad) passed away last month it was expected of course, but nothing can prepare you for what it actually feels like. I got a glimpse of how the grief felt when I looked into the eyes of Elizabeth, Hannah, and Alex at the funeral and saw the sorrow and troment of real pain. Since then, I have also numbed myself– I suppose as a defense mechanism I have subconsciously developed. Annnyway, I the point is that I understand although have a difficult time expressing just what I mean. I mean of course I still get sad, but refuse to allow myself to go “there”. Which brings me to what I really wanted to say to you……..

    Maybe you are scared.

    Maybe you are scared to write.

    Writing is terrifying to me at times, and that is when I know I need to write the most. Perhaps this block you speak of is you trying to not let yourself “go there”. I know that I can be sad, upset, elated, anxious, (anything!), but when I actually get quiet and still and sit down to write and let go of all other outside inluences and worries that whatever emotion I am feeling is just intensified and mutliplied times about ten! Does that make sense to you? Like, for example, I used to avoid writing about certain subjects of my past because I knew that I could avoid really feeling what happened in my mind, but when I put that pen to the paper and actually let go that I would allow myself to feel the reality of what happened. I kind of space out when I write; sometimes I have no idea where all of it comes from even. But I do know this–you are one of the most talented and special people I know. Please never stop writing. It would be a disgrace if you did.
    If I am way off target and wrong about the being scared thing then I apologize. But hey–you said you wanted advice! For some reason I just felt pushed to write this. Actually kind of weird, because I hadn’t planned on even commenting. 🙂

    Ditsy Chick No. 1

    • You don’t know just how righw you are. Truthfully, I’ve even been too afraid to go back to this blog to check to see if their were comments. I was afraid to read them, not because I thought they would be bad, but because I didn’t want to deal with how they would make me feel.

      I believe God puts people in our lives for a reason, and I am so glad He put you in mine. I needed to hear what you wrote–even if I was too scared to read it at first. You know you are a really amazing writer yourself, and maybe you’ll be using that talent more often to help others in the future. You never know. I think that would be great.

      Thank you for reading. Thank you for caring. It means so much to me. Love you, Ditsy Chick. 🙂

  4. Strange is the best word I can use to describe your writing appeal, so strange that from the actual amount of time that I have actually known you has reinforced the fact that we have grown ( my wife says that I have never grown up)up 179 degrees apart and supposeI that is a ,much of the intrigue.
    Having no musical ability or song writing abilities have not diminished my admiration for song writers in the least as I learned a few years in a Nashville eating establishment manned mostly by struggling song writers and also doubled as cooks, servers, janitors and what ever the postion demanded.Being there more for the refreshments than the food, I had the privilege of having some conversations with one of them who was very interesting. I mentioned once that I didn’t think I had ever had an original thought in my life; rather than bragging she told me, ” oh yes you have you just never put them down.” There is not any doubt whatsoever that if happenyou to go cold on the blues, you will change speeds and move on to writing or whatever you decide to pursue. You have been such an inspiration to me and I look forward to each new writing.
    The fascination has not been lessened by the fact that I spent much more time on tumbling and dodge ball than writing songs.
    Looking forward to the next chapter.

    • It’s amazing the effect a person can have on another person’s life. It’s like you have been giving me confidence all my life. I can never repay you for that. All I can do is say so sincerely how much I appreciate it.

      Life is pretty terrifying at times. I’ve been stopped in my tracks, for sure. But I”m hoping that I can start out again, knees shaking, and start that next chapter. Your encouragement is what gives that “Little Engine That Could” that little push to get up the mountain. 🙂

  5. I’m glad you’ve signed up for the writing conferences and you’re writing lyrics. Writers want a good listener… good listeners treasure the opportunity to hear a gifted communicator.

    May the LORD be your lamp and turn your darkness into light. (2 Samuel 22:29)

    • Terri, thank you so much. I woke up Sunday morning with an idea that I have no doubt that God planted in my brain. I don’t know where it will go, but I feel better. I know that it has a lot to do with the words (blessings) and prayers of friends like you.

      Words really do have power.

  6. I’d love to hear the blues you’re making. Being broken hearted makes me want to write, but usually in a prayer journal. Don’t know what it is about writing down the prayer, but i feel it helps me. And, who knows if you can’t write a hit song. That would be cool. Just think of all the Yankees apparel you could buy me!!!

    • Ha! I have not given up my hope to convert you to God’s team. But music does have a way of soothing and speaking to the soul. I believe it.

      I don’t have a prayer journal, but I have a thank you journal that I write down how a person has blessed my life. Someday when I’m gone and pass it on to my great grandchildren, I want them to know how much it means to lift others up. I’m sure they’re going to want to know how Great Grandma could have possibly been blessed by a Yankees fan. 🙂

  7. Glad you’ve found that outlet! Praying for better days for you!
    We have reached a strange point in the adoption process – waiting to hear we’ve been approved, so we can find out how long we will wait to bring some little ones home- and I could really use some creative outlet! Obsessive googling and/or scrubbing a hole in my kitchen sink aren’t necessarily creative! :/

  8. I go on cleaning crazes too when I’m anxious. How about starting a memory book and writing down all your feelings for your little one when he/she gets here? It will be a treasure. Thanks so much reading and encouraging me!

  9. This story is so true. As I sat here and read this story, I think of myself. I am an only child too, and am facing losing my parents due to ilness. Keep up the good work and your faith too and that will see you through

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