Editing, Beta Testing, and Absentee me

August has been a difficult month for me and obviously I haven’t been posting much.

After completing the 31 Day Ultimate Blog Challenge in July, I was a bit burnt out, not because of the writing, but because of all of the things going on in my world at the same time as I tried to keep up with the writing. There are a lot of things I had thoughts to write about and even have saved drafts of topics and points of interest to follow up on (or not) sometime in the future.  I was actually quite frustrated because “life” kept interfering with my ability to focus on my writing.  Life happened and I managed to cope with it, but couldn’t sustain the frenetic pace of the daily posts and keep up with all the other things, for long after the end of the challenge.  I guess that just makes me human, right?

A pastor I value and respect, Marc Alan Shelske, who has known me and my family, peripherally, for over 15 years, is in the process of getting an e-book ready to publish and he offered an opportunity for a few people to read, edit, and beta-test it before publishing.  This offer came right after the end of the Challenge and I jumped at the chance.  It’s about doing the challenging and rewarding introspective work of identifying actual core values that we are already living from the inside out in our lives.  I really wanted to do a good job of editing and was looking forward to doing this work, believing that now is the time for me to finally move forward in my life processing.

He asked those of us given this opportunity to have it back in three weeks.  Considering that the .pdf document is less than 60 pages, that task should have been an easy one for me.  I jumped right in and started reading and figuring out how to do the editing with the limited e-tools I have.  I was moving right along and then several things occurred: First, we lost our internet service. Second, we had the “crisis” with the Early Head Start Program my daughter was in, (you can read about it here and here). Third, Jerry came home a week earlier and stayed longer than planned. Finally, there was a trifecta conflux of hormonal, biochemical, and environmental triggers that combined to make the depression and fibromyalgia symptoms flare into a pitch black darkness surrounded by flaming pain.

So, I’m four days past his requested deadline and have barely gotten through editing the first ten pages of the actual text and have read a bit farther than that.  I’m planning on spending my day tomorrow focusing on the editing of the text and at least get that back to him.  As for beta-testing the process itself, I’m kind of stymied.

When I was meeting with the school counselor/therapist in my efforts to prepare for being home with Luna all day and we were discussing the various competing responsibilities, health issues, family issues, and life concerns that are demanding my energy and attention and how much I’m struggling to just keep my head above water and breathe each day.  Then, as I was reading through and getting ready to gear up and beta test the process, it was suggested that I be able to spend some dedicated quiet and alone time delving into my personal history and identifying key moments and events and how I responded to them as part of the process of figuring out what values have already been being lived out in my life.  Reading through that section, all of the “stuff” that I haven’t processed or dealt with emotionally and psychologically throughout the four + decades I’ve been alive really started bubbling up.  I think this the real reason why I haven’t been able to follow through on my commitment.

I think I started having an anxiety attack and that it was facing the possibility of opening myself up to remembering that is really at the center of my absenteeism this month.

You see, I don’t really have memories.  I know the sequence and order of significant life events, but I don’t have memories.  I look at pictures taken from my life, and I have to look at the date, the other people in the picture, and really think hard about what job I had, what school my kids were attending, and what part of town we were living in and actively try to reconstruct what was going on in my life at that time.  At the same time, deep underneath all of that is this leviathan of dark and disturbing emotion and incomprehensible subtext that has me close to tears with just about every effort to think of my past, at any point I try to think of it.

I have vague recollections of being energetic, smiling, laughing, playful, flirtatious, passionate, determined, ambitious, proud and confident.  Underneath those recollections, however, is the sensory knowledge that those were my costumes, masks, and facades to get by and to try to convince myself and those in the world around me that I had value and worth, that I was someone worth being around and in relationship with. Below the brief and flickering images is the knowledge that I was frantically hiding the truth of my inner darkness, despair, and desperation as long as I’ve been aware of my self. The memories, or knowledge of my past that is easier to access, are the ones where I leave the activity and people around me, move off somewhere to hide and be alone with my tears and my fears.  I still do that today.

I started to go into that some more here, but looked up and realized that this post would be close to 2,000 if I carried all the way through. So, I’ll sign off for now.  The meat of the matter will be found in Memories and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.

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7 comments

  1. (hugs) I understand where you’re coming from – I got sick in the middle of the blog challenge, lost track of what I was doing, and only retained some of it. Posting a blog entry 1x per week is more suited to me, it seems – I barely manage that, but I do (usually). Sorry to hear your health went on the fritz, though. You know, you’re a great person and I wish you the best with your writing – I learned years ago to get done what I could and try not to be too upset about the amount. (doesn’t always work, but sometimes).

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  2. Sounds like this particular book came at you at a serendipitous moment.

    From what little I know about you (starting a WANA sub-tribe), you seem to be someone who takes on a lot. Writing in and of itself takes a buku time, and you’re doing so much more. Take comfort. Know that depression flips your happiness cards as far as you can see and remember. It’s one of the symptoms. A shake of the tray, and those cards flip and you will see and know light, joy, flirtation, passion confidence.

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  3. I’m so sorry that you’ve been going through such a bad time. I was going to be jocular, but I can see this is not the time! I don’t want to overwhelm you but I am going to nominate your for another award. No hurries. Just whenever you want to accept it – or not, but it’s easy, except for passing it on. (my problem). The title of the award is “The Super Sweet Award.” Your story is pretty amazing, and must be difficult. Nonetheless, you do inspire people as you blog. The details will be on my blog later tonight.

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  4. You had a lot to contend with this month. Thank God it is almost over. Despite what you may think about yourself sometimes, you must realize that you are a strong woman. Let the past be in the past. Live for today, and look to the future.

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  5. Wow sounds like you’ve had a lot to contend with and any one of the issues you mentioned above would be a pain, but combined…wow…Hope this next month you can breathe a bit easier. HUGS

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  6. Hi hun,
    Looking into those instances in the past that we wish would stay hidden and buried is enough to make anyone run for cover, even if they haven’t had anything particularly traumatic in their past to deal with. Self-Analysis is difficult because we subconsciously like to believe we are infallible and everything we have done has been the right decision. We place ourselves up on a pedestal and it is no wonder that we struggle to accept the idea that sometimes we have our flaws, no matter if it is through our own fault or the fault of others.
    You seem like a strong person and I am sure you will find a way of working through those things that you find difficult and emerge from the other side getting back those feelings of true happiness that you only vaguely recollect now.
    I had to do the same myself recently and it is one of the hardest things I have ever done. i had to sever ties with things that I thought were making me happy but weren’t and I had to assess every part of my life to see where I personally wanted to go after living my life trying to please others. I am in a much more happy place with my life now but I still do have a long way to go, however, with each little step I take I get closer to that ideal happiness.
    Sorry for talking so long in a reply but you seemed like you needed the support and I wanted to let you know you can talk to me any time you need someone to lean on, cry to or vent your frustrations to. We all need to let it out every now and again.
    Stay strong my friend

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