I’m a bit sad and I’m grateful for that.

I wrote this a few days ago:

Maybe I can’t do this.

Maybe I’ve hit my 6 weeks of writing and that’s it.

Maybe this is the end.

Goodbye, old friend.

I love it but it isn’t worth much if I have nothing to write about.

Well actually I have tons to write about. Lists and lists of ideas. But maybe I’m afraid to jump in.

I’m afraid of what I have to say.

Of what will come out.

Will anybody listen?

Will it even matter?

I wrote that because last week got away from me. I wanted to write every single day. And I really felt like I had so much to say but I never said it. And I let five days fly by without me once sitting down to write. And I don’t know why. I only managed to get those few lines down on the page.

Now I need to tell you some back story.

I, Andrea, am a queen, if not The Queen, of guilt and shame.

Cycles of them. Bundles of ’em.

If I don’t accomplish my goals? Overwhelming guilt.
If I drop the ball? Ashamed
If I mess up? Embarrassed.
If I’m unproductive? Humiliated.
If I don’t follow through? Discouraged.

So when I failed miserably at writing every day I was just waiting for the floodwaters of guilt to wash over my soul.

But they didn’t.

Instead I felt just a little twinge of sadness. Just a bit of sad. A hint.

Go back and read it again. Go on up.

Come on. It’s 10 lines, you got this.

Come ON. It’s going to be fine.

Read it. Seriously do it.

You could have been done by now.

Okay thank you.

You see? Sadness.

There’s sadness in the words. Just a bit.

But you know what’s not in there? Guilt. Or self-shaming. Frustration. Humiliation.

I didn’t use caps lock.

Hell, I didn’t even use an exclamation point.

Just lilting sadness.

You see, I get sad about a lot of things, but not about uncompleted work or unmet goals, no those are reserved for the guilt/shame cycle.

So when I looked back on my week of lackluster writing, I was shocked that there was just sad. Where’s the guilt? Where’s the shame? What’s this new territory I’m in?

Clock that, a wise acting teacher use to say.

Clock that,
remember that,
note that Andrea.
Keep it in your pocket.
Carry it with you.
Remember remember the 28th of January:
The day you were sad because you wish you had written more.

Let me explain.

My emotions tell me something here.

They’re telling me I write for the right. Reason, I mean.

They’re telling me that I wanted to say more, express more, and that I’m sad because I didn’t prioritize it well enough in my schedule.

The sadness tells me that I cared. That writing means something to me. Something deep.

So I’m grateful for the sadness. It’s a good thing, I tell you. You see, sadness isn’t badness, GUILT is. Guilt is what traps me and cripples me and keeps from accomplishing anything at all.

But sadness leads to reflection and change.

The sadness tells me what’s important. What really matters to me.

What’s making you sad today?

Clock that, I tell you. And find out what the sadness is telling you.

For me, I was sad because I didn’t write. Well guess what I’m doing today? Writing. Write write write right now typing tip tip tap on the keyboard.

Even if it sucks. Even if no one reads it. Even if it sucks. I’m writing.

Because I will be sad if I don’t. Not guilty or overwhelmed. But a little sad.

And what’s making you feel guilty or overwhelmed today?

I challenge you to think hard about what you’re investing your time in. Because if it is all guilt/shame/like-your-spinning-out-of-control maybe that’s not what is important to you. Maybe you are letting others tell you what should be important.  Maybe you need to re-evaluate what you’re putting your energy toward. Because if you really LOVE what you’re doing, you will feel a sadness when you can’t do it.

Sadness, not guilt.

And you’ll be grateful for it.


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