Spring is in full force in the DC area and a lot of folks (myself included) are awaiting the arrival of Brood X. The last time these interesting insects emerged, I was celebrating graduating from undergrad and looking forward to starting my First Real Job as an adult.
Suffice to say, the world is a different place now. I know I’m not alone in feeling as though I’ve lived several lifetimes over the past five years or so, and the pandemic intensified my feelings of dread and helplessness. 2020 was not a fantastic year for me and I’m sure most of you can relate.
Perhaps it was naïve of me to think that I would feel better after Inauguration Day. Or after I was fully vaccinated. Restaurants, bars, and venues are starting to open back up around here. The weather is better. (I abhor the cold.) And yet, I still find myself struggling to get out of bed some mornings. Intense feelings of panic, rage, and despair still overwhelm me, especially at night when I’m trying to fall asleep. I do not feel as terrible as I did last year but I continue to struggle with “getting back to normal” and I know a lot of others are, too.
I came across this article about languishing from the NYT earlier this week and have been sitting with it since Monday. While the concept helped me to think about why I’m feeling the way I am still, I was also drawn to the notion of toxic positivity. It’s not new to me by any means but I’m blogging about it because well, I’ve fallen into its trap.
During the pandemic, I found myself responding to questions from friends, family, and co-workers with “I’m fine!” or “Well, doing my best to do my best!” instead of being more honest. Looking back, I think this is behavior I learned when I was much younger. I’ve realized toxic positivity has had a stronghold over me for most of my life…and I’m blogging about this now because I don’t want that to be the case anymore.
I don’t have concrete solutions or action items, other than to try and be more honest here. Perhaps admitting that I have a problem is the first step? I’m not really sure.
What does this have to do with my writing, you ask? Well, a lot, quite frankly. I’m working on a particularly difficult time involving my four MCs. One of them has to come to terms with the fact that yes, emotions are real and sometimes you have to verbalize them in order to deal with them. In addition to moving the plot along and developing my characters, writing this chapter has been cathartic for me. I’m making slower progress than I’d like with this particular WIP, but I’m trying to come to terms with this because writing really is my sanctuary.
So there you have it. Languishing is something I will continue to deal with. Toxic positivity is something I will continue to battle. My WIP will get done when it gets done.
A Thing I Enjoyed This Week
I recently finished the fifth book in Ann Swinfen’s Oxford Medieval Mysteries Series. I fell in love with this series late last year, despite not normally being drawn to the mystery genre (though I will admit to a particular fascination with medieval European history). Swinfen has an incredible way with words—her descriptions of scenery are paramount—but she also has a way of getting the reader invested in her characters. Additionally, the England she writes about is recovering from its own pandemic—the Black Death, though these books were written long before COVID-19 hit.
I’ll wrap up for now. Mother’s Day is tomorrow here in the States, so I’m posting a day early.
Stay safe and well, pals!