My Struggle with Self-doubt

Hola people. Hope this finds you well and much better than I’ve been in the last several months. My last post here was ages ago and unfortunately, my joy did not last very long.

Since April of this year, I’d been struggling at my current day job (which is highly stressful and taxing physically, emotionally and mentally) with all of the responsibilities that weighed heavily on my shoulders. It led to my irregular eating and sleeping habits, which left me 12 lbs lighter and sleep-deprived.

I also must add that the emotional and mental toll didn’t make my outlook any better. Because I felt ineffective and without control at my dayjob, that also funneled down to my writing.

My spirit took a battering over the last few months, leaving me doubtful of any talent (counseling or writing) I have. So, I took the break from writing. I got off the blogs, stopped tweeting (OMG! I know) and disconnected really from the computer. It was a needed break that I didn’t allow myself.

I allowed myself not to be a writer for a while and try to remember why I wanted to write (and counsel) in the first place. I also took the time to reflect on my spirituality and counted my blessings again. I’m looking more and more for the positive and have been reaching out to other writers and motivators to help me get back on track.

I’ve recruited a great friend to be my accountability partner and ask me about my writing. She did and so I had to report what I’d done so far and what I’d be doing tonight. lol It was great and not so great at the same time. Great because she was checking up on me and not, because she was checking up on me.

I connected with a few mentors about my situation and received so much support an understanding. I also decided to take baby steps by journaling semi-regularly as well as writing down random thoughts that I had along the way. It’s helped too that I put my writing journal back in my purse where it belongs. No more excuses, I’m writing again.

I’m reading “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch to remind me of my dreams and why I set out to write/counsel. I’ll be giving it a long, thorough read-through this time around.

While I still have doubt, it’s no longer the big monster that loomed over my head before this weekend. Hopefully, I can keep the doubts away by connecting with my writer pals/mentors, being held accountable by my friend, remembering my dreams and of course, writing.

Til next time!

Joy and how I found it again

This week’s Prosperous Writer newsletter by Christina Katz asked its readers to talk about joy. I had to stop and think for a while on this because I forgot when I lost my joy.

I know that my highly stressful day job worked me to the bone, kept me from spending quality time with kiddo and got me into easy spats with my son’s father. When the usual case was for me to be a trooper and joyfully live well, it just wasn’t so from April through the first week of June.

Thanks to the advice of my wonderful pastor, I went to a weekend retreat for women in Riverdale, NY. Yes, still in the Bronx, but far enough for me to find my joy again. A weekend for me to breathe, not worry about kiddo or cooking and sleeping in a box big enough to hold a twin-sized bed, simple desk and sink.

I had time to separate myself from those things that were stealing my joy primarily the day job, not sleeping or eating well and not spending enough time with my favorite kid in the whole wide world. It was enough for me to be joyful again. Not necessarily well-rested or with a hearty appetite again, but enough to make some changes. Looking for a new job and spending time away from the computer until I found the joy again in writing, which I had also lost as a result of the stress from the job.

The only writing I did over the weekend was journaling my thoughts and conversations with God. Complaining of course, but also to ask what was the point of all of this for me. Regardless of the answer, I was able to hear and accept it with a joyful, open heart.

That first weekend in June allowed me to regain a sense of appreciation for everything in my life and allowed me space from the joylessness of my job. Joy is about being able to laugh in the midst of hard times and remembering why I’m doing the things that I do. Remembering that I want to help others through counseling as well as through writing and remembering that my child brings me joy.

I had forgotten that in the midst of the chaos of several weeks and reconnected with my spirit. By doing so, I was able to let go of a lot of anger and negativity. And recuperated my joy. Joy in myself, my writing and my life.

Authenticity

This week’s challenge from The Prosperous Writer newsletter was to share thoughts about authenticity.The Oxford Mini Dictionary Thesaurus & Wordpower Guide defines authenticity as “genuineness” and authentic as “genuine” or “known to be true.”

For me, it is about being consistently honest. It is about being real and being yourself. Knowing yourself and accepting yourself for who you are is the very act of being authentic.

I recognize that I can be very anal, sticking to the same routine over and over again. I like consistency and do best when I know what to expect. But, when I get overwhelmed with various challenges all at the same time, my stress level goes through the roof and I can’t keep up.

I know that I have to take a step back to reevaluate everything. Authenticity is about being honest with yourself first and then with others. Whether that is about being a writer, mother, etc.

Establishing boundaries

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s post was inspired by a prompt from Christina Katz’s popular ezine for writers, The Prosperous Writer. After writing my personal view about boundaries, I wanted to share some ways for you to establish boundaries to help you write.

One way to do that is to choose a writing spot, someplace that you can go to everyday to write. Whether it is the dining table from 8 – 10pm or the computer desk from 6:30 – 8, you’ll need a place to call your own.

After choosing that spot, let your family/friends know about it so that they respect your time. Establishing this boundary can be difficult if the people you care about don’t see you as a writer. This is where you have to set the tone and let them know the rules. Such as, from 8 – 10pm I’m unavailable for phone calls. Or “this is my writing time, so I won’t be answering the phone. You can leave me a message and I’ll call you back.”

Boundaries allow you to prioritize what’s important to you and lets others know that you take your writing seriously. How do you set boundaries?

Happy Writing!

My Boundaries

Well,Christina Katz has given me a writer quality I can really sink my teeth into. Boundaries. I know this term very well. Both professionally and personally. I’ve learned more about boundaries in the last few years than at any other time in my life.

Boundaries are so important because I wouldn’t be able to function without knowing where my limits are. As a child I didn’t know what a boundary was and was hurt in the process. Kids who treated me like dirt because I was so desperate for friendship jumped the line quite often. And with a father who was very controlling, I really couldn’t declare my boundaries until much later in life.

Motherhood has definitely empowered me to claim my boundaries. What I will and will not accept is more a part of my daily vocabulary. The power of telling someone else “No” was so good to claim and hard to get. But, I did.

I now have no issue with telling someone they need to back off or letting someone else know where I stand. Creating boundaries means that I’m able to let others know where I stand in a respectful way.

Going to graduate school for mental health counseling reinforced the concept of boundaries. As a therapist, I know where boundaries are both for myself and those I work with. As a mom, I know boundaries are there to best care for myself and my child. And as a writer, I know what I can and cannot do or what I can or cannot accept.

Boundaries also help me see when I’m stretching myself to thin. If I have too many projects on my plate, the boundaries are there to help me cut back as I’ve been doing lately. Knowing where my limits are helps me stay on track.