Saturday, September 24, 2022

What Sustains Me from the Inside


Hello Invisible Audience,


I am sitting in my pajamas at my desk in my house. The dishes are overflowing out of the sink onto the dirty countertop. There are empty cardboard boxes and a single VERY LARGE zucchini scattered across the living room floor. My bed is unmade, and there’s a pile of clothes on the floor comprised of both clean and dirty clothing. 


I am itching to go to the pool, but I am writing to you instead, because I have missed writing to you like I miss my cats after several days away from them; like I missed interaction with people during the pandemic; like I miss coffee when I have to wait until morning to have it again because it will keep me awake if I have any after noon.


There’s so much to tell you, Invisible Audience, but I’ve decided the most important thing to tell you today is about the discovery I had this week. A couple days ago, I wrote an overdue post to my Patreon subscribers about death. I have made it public so you can read it if you want to, but the important thing to know is that I was experiencing extreme fatigue before I wrote it, and the fatigue went away after I was done.


Certainly, there are other factors, too, but the immediate change in energy level was significant after I poured my heart out about some things that had been bothering me. It was a good reminder to me why I write to you at all, Invisible Audience: while I like to pretend my words might help you, I really write them because they help me.


I journal every day, so it’s not like I don’t write on a regular basis. But there’s something different about writing out loud. It fulfills a different need; scratches a different itch. A necessary one, apparently, if I can mark it so clearly within my body. Before writing. After.


Several weeks ago, I was talking to a friend of mine and she told me about the Curable App. Have you heard of it? It’s for people who suffer chronic pain. I have never considered myself one of these people, and as she talked I nodded and listened, happy that she had found some relief of her own without applying it at all to my situation. Then I told her about my fatigue, and she said something like, “I wonder if there’s a way out of your fatigue other than just waiting for it to go away. If maybe part of it is more than just the physical recovery you’re going through.”


She had already told me that a big part of what helped her was delving really deeply into emotions that she’d stuffed, and staring head on into her tendencies toward perfectionism; how she’d learned that people with chronic pain often have these tendencies, and that emotional processing and release of old emotions can help people heal from pain and fatigue issues that they have suffered from for years. 


Suddenly, I was paying attention. While I no longer stuff emotions as much as I used to, I had never thought about the various ailments I suffer and my tendency to expect perfectionism out of myself in quite that way.


Then I thought about the shoulder pain I’ve had for years and done PT for multiple times. About the debilitating headaches I had throughout the pandemic, that I still get if I spend too much time looking at a screen. At the foot pain I have pretty constantly that seems to be getting worse. And the fucking fatigue, Invisible Audience, that has plagued me for so long.


I found stories on the Curable App and in their podcast of people suffering the same things I do, although often much worse. Debilitating chronic fatigue. Multiple chronic symptoms. And suddenly I began to hope that there was a way out that didn’t include a lot more money and, ultimately, more fruitless attempts to try and find an answer that would stick.


So I’m writing to you, Invisible Audience, because it turns out it helps. A lot. 


I was at an event last weekend and someone mentioned the Spanish classes I teach, which are just about to start up for the fall.


“Is this your calling?” this person asked. “Are you meant to be a Spanish teacher?”


“No,” I said, before I could really think about it. Because it’s not my calling. 


Certainly, it’s a thing I enjoy that makes me money. Certainly, I am fulfilling a need. But my calling? No, it’s not my calling.


My calling is writing.


There’s a line in the poem The Invitation that I think about a lot.


“It doesn't interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.”


It’s writing, Invisible Audience. It’s always been writing.


Love and writing kisses


P.S. Thanks for reading, Invisible Audience member. Interested in reading more and supporting me in the process? Check out my profile on Patreon. Pledge as little as $1.50 a month to get access to more of my ponderings and become one of my Semi-Invisible Patrons. When I can't find time to post both here and on Patreon, I prioritize posts on Patreon--there's always more to read there.