What if I’ve run out of words? The thought danced around in my mind a couple of days ago, unbidden. Everyone who thinks of themself as a writer has probably entertained the same thought once or twice or a hundred times. What if I’m empty?
Who am I if I’m no longer a writer?
The answer is easy. I’m the same person I was when I was no longer a Business Analyst, a stay-at-home mom, or a college student. Me. The same me I’ve wrestled with for 63 years. Sometimes stubborn, fiercely independent, often insecure, someone who struggles with social anxiety and whose thoughts go deep. A ruminator. Easily overwhelmed by what’s “out there”, most comfortable in the sanctuary of home. A wife. A mother. A grandmother. A friend.
But, a writer?
I’m struggling with a piece I’m working on for my writing group. It’s intensely personal and I’m writing in a different genre than I’m used to. It’s a good, albeit draining, exercise.
I’m dabbling with a new book about living liminal. The work challenges my mental health and surfaces feelings I’d rather not touch. It’s slow work that I could easily set aside, but won’t. The foundation has already been written so I’ll continue to slog through for now.
Yesterday, I risked vulnerability and shared thoughts on social media about the Freedom Convoy protest in Ottawa, our nations’ capital. Discourse occurred. Mostly healthy. Politics are not my wheelhouse and I won’t make that a regular thing, but it was an interesting experiment.
Use your words. I’ve been hearing that whisper for days. But what if I’ve run out of them?
Maybe it’s the late-winter doldrums or the sheer exhaustion of living in the land of COVID for almost three years but, these days, I’d rather sip tea and read books, or put pieces in a jigsaw puzzle, than the harder work of tapping out words. Or maybe I just no longer want to open myself up that way. It can be scary to say what you think in a cancel-cultured world.
I’ve learned to grant myself grace in January, and allow a season of doing not very much but the month is winding down. It’s time to decide if I’m going to continue to use my words or if I’ve run out of them. I think I already know the answer.