The Danger in Blogging About Your Growth Processes

A recent Mixel thread involved presenting collages of what we do when we aren’t making Mixel art.

Hey, look! I’m back!

If you have been around for a while, you know that I take unscheduled breaks from time to time. Part of the reason for these breaks is the nature of my creative process. Part is the fact that my four children come before my writing, and children have irregular needs. And, part comes directly from what I have chosen to focus on in this blog.

The posts that seem to resonate most with my readers blend theories about writing and creativity with reflections on my personal journey. In writing these posts, there is an element of self-disclosure, and often related self-discovery, but also an element of analysis.

Sometimes, I am so busy living my inner transformations that I have no time to reflect upon my recent experience in a way that might be meaningful for my readers. And, when there is a lot of transformation going on, I can be so deep in trying to understand what I am going through that I find I cannot write meaningfully about anything other than my current experience.

During those periods, I often find myself struggling for cohesiveness in my writing and my blog goes dark for a time while I go through whatever life experience I am going through.

There is big stuff going on with me right now and I don’t have a handle on it.

Pushing myself deep into my emotions and imagination to improve my novel is awakening feelings and ambitions that have been suppressed for decades. I feel a need to honour these awakenings, but determining how to do that in the context of my current life (as opposed to the life I was living when I suppressed the dreams) is challenging.

At the same time, our new house is calling out to be transformed into a home that truly reflects who we are as a family. It is a unique house, perfect for a nonconformist family – and we are all nonconformists in this family. I speaks to me, “make me yours,” and I find myself wondering which aspects of me and of us should be reflected in the decor, furniture, use of rooms, etc.

I have been hiding in plain sight for years, acting like a pseudo-normal suburbanite, and delving deeper into my writing, choosing a house that reflects my unwillingness to look and act like my neighbours, and writing about giftedness for An Intense Life have all pushed me into an existential quandary.

Who am I?

Once upon a time, I knew I was in training to be an eccentric old lady. I think I am back in training.

But, I have been feeling adrift, without anchor, unable to encapsulate any of this experience in blog posts.

When I read Suzannah Windsor Freeman’s post Don’t Quit! Help for Burnt Out Bloggers on Write It Sideways today, I knew I had to write something about what I have been going through. I don’t want to disappear.

But, I can’t. Not clearly.

All of my past identities are vying for attention: artist, activist, intellectual, parent, wife, home-maker, preacher, existential philosopher, lawyer, biopsychology student, writer, actor, director. A desire to dream big and change the world has been awakened and is raging through me without direction.

My battles against petty fears have given me courage. My struggles with writing have given my sources of inspiration hope.

I feel like I’m on the verge of something, but I don’t want to jump too soon. I need to let these stirrings grow and coalesce without forcing them into an intellectually selected box.

There are passions rising within me. They need channeling and I have never yet succeeded in channeling them into productive projects that satisfy the big dreams.

I’m positively disintegrating.

I have been through periods of positive disintegration before. I am familiar with the feeling of not knowing who I am becoming – of my emotions and cognitive self-understanding trying to rearrange themselves in a more effective manner.

I know that my tendency is to force a  solution that only accommodates some of the crucial elements of my personality. Being adrift in all one’s potential is scary. Making meaning from so much richness is not easy.

I will try to keep blogging as my inner life reorganizes itself, but I expect that all of my theories will be tentative and all of my understandings limited for some time.

I’m okay with that.

I hope you are, too.

If these words resonate with you in any way, I would love to hear about your experience or get any advice.

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About Kate Arms-Roberts

www.katearmsroberts.com

Posted on July 25, 2012, in Blogging, Creativity, Daily Life, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear from me, that I completely relate to all of this. It’s been what my past two years have been about. I too was hesitant to relay the along-the-way epiphanies, thinking they wouldn’t stick. I had a new friend who I didn’t know who I emailed all my stream of consciousness stuff (including strong declarations) to, someone who didn’t know who I had been. This was very helpful. At a point, he didn’t even need to write back. Before that, though, writing in a journal didn’t suffice. I didn’t have the epiphanies without an audience and getting a little feedback even if it was only a request from him for clarification. What I found out in the end was, I was writing a book. I only realized this bc I happened to be setting aside time every week to write fiction too. During that time, not only did I complete a novel that was deeply in my unconscious and autobiographical (though no one would guess, all the characters were me) but I attracted characters from the novel in real life. Versions of myself? It’s an amazing experience. It’s not at all easy though. Family relationships that caused you trouble can become huge scapegoats, bc of the feeling their “neighborly” dominant and oppressive point of view made it harder for you to be more who you are long ago (and still make it hard for you). I even had folks I said: You’re a creativity killer. I can’t be around you right now. Probably your immediate family won’t cause you problems, bc you chose them but more people from your past. It’s good that you tell people what you are going through, even though some will not understand and will see it as juvenile (You already know who they are.). You will probably be out of your body a fair amount and will be aware that this is dangerous, that your psyche is in a dangerous place. You might even feel if you go on any longer, you might go mad, it may feel like mania (the way OEs can feel like bonafide ailments, ie the whole misdiagnosis thing). You’ll probably also have psychic experiences. I read a lot of Jung while I was doing it–espec his autobio. He was my pal. Mine lasted two years. I came out of it with a novel but less in the way of psych growth. The psych growth was my first completed manuscript of a high caliber, which perhaps means self-acceptance, honoring my work, making sense of my life, but it didn’t result in my being better adjusted or life being easier. The price paid was worth it. Now that I’m out of it, though, I want to address all of the issues raised, but it would have been a mistake to try to put brakes on the journey, judge my freeing excessiveness too early. You have much more insight into it going in than I did, so I can’t wait to read your “en route” revelations in your blog. If you need someone who doesn’t know you to email…feel free. With love. 🙂

    • Kate Arms- Roberts

      Andrea,

      Thank you for sharing your journey.
      I read “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” in college and have carried it with me every move since. Each time I go through one of these transitional periods, I think of rereading it. Maybe this time I will actually do it. I am finding myself drawn to mythology from cultures I don’t know well, so I am clearly searching for archetypes and images.
      Your need to have an audience as you worked through your stuff reminds me that I get stuck in my own ruts without being witnessed in some way. A very useful reminder. Thank you.

      Kate

  2. I really can’t tell you what to do, or how to do it. All I can say is that you always know what’s best for you at any given point in time. I’m sort of in a funny space like that too. I’m fighting the urge to fight what is right for me. I’m refusing to conform. At the same time, I know I need to do something that will WORK. Diving into exactly what I want will NOT work for various reasons. I just have to figure out a compromise. Imagine that. Having to compromise with MYSELF. Lol. It’s sad, and it’s funny. Above all else, it’s a challenge, and one that we all face at some point. Some of us are willing to take bigger risks than others. It’s all about what works and what is right at that point in time. It’s in you. You know. Do it!

  3. Nicely said and good luck with the transformation.

  4. I’m in awe of your many and various identities. If I had that many, I’m sure I’d feel like I was “positively disintegrating” too. Just being a writer feels like about all I can handle this lifetime.

    I can totally relate to “I know that my tendency is to force a solution that only accommodates some of the crucial elements of my personality.” My husband observed once: “You try too hard.” Easy for him to observe, easy for him to say. Not easy for the person who’s doing it to herself to ease up.

    The major shift I’m undergoing right now is learning how to let go of control and let my inner compass show me the way. In finding ways to do that, I’ve been amazed at the ideas and solutions I’ve been shown. Things I would not have thought of using my standard approach.

    • Kate Arms-Roberts

      Milli,
      Learning to let go and letting my inner compass show me the ways sounds like exactly what I need for this stage in my development. I have ltos of relevant tools in my arsenal and on my bookshelf. Now, to use them.
      Kate

  5. Loved your post. It left me wondering if someone cloned me? ….. that daunting stew of ideas and introspection mixed in, in my case, with a more than generous helping of emotion…. How often I have been there, in spoken word and, in silence …

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