I lost my Writer’s Badge today. Not that it’s a real shiny star like the one I used to parade around with from ages of 8 to 10 as my town’s rough and tumble sheriff. (Why isn't there a real shiny star for writers? Something we can hold onto when times get tough and make even brighter with obsessive buffing?)
While I didn't lose something tangible, I still lost something real. Today I lost the comfort that washes over me when I open my laptop, shut off the world around me, and create. That comfort is a powerful feeling because by taking the time to disconnect and create, I’ve honored something sacred. And there’s no greater power in today’s world of distraction that spending time on yourself.
If you'll forgive me, an aside that just struck me. Talking about the importance of spending time on yourself, however, true it is, makes me laugh. Why? It's easy to interpret “spending time on yourself” as a call to say “fuck the world, I’m more important than all y'all.” Equating self-care with selfishness certainly feels like how a lot of citizens today act as they interact with the world around them. So, no, when I say “spending time on yourself” I mean taking the time and the space to make sure you’re right for the world by acknowledging the needs of your body, brain, and heart.
Far too often we ignore those needs. They’re so deep inside us that, ironically, they’re terribly easy pass over for far more superficial issues. If you need to breathe heavily through a run, a walk, or lifting weights – do it. If you need to kiss or hold your partner – do it. (Maybe ask first, though. Or put on your most dashing outfit.) If you need silence and stillness – take them. Me? I need all of those…and writing.
See, two kinds of days define who I am – the days that I write and the days that I don’t. And I’ve had far more of the non-writing days in my life than the writing days. And those days when I've dreamed instead of acted are what drive me to make the most of my present. I don’t want to waste any more time with excuses and superficial replacements for something I need at the core of my being. I want to create and, by creating, stockpile the comfort and power I find when I write.
So while I chucked my Writer’s Badge into a field of dirt and bramble today, tomorrow I’m going to find it again. The finding never takes me too long. The badge is shiny, after all, and I’m drawn to it. It to me, too, I think. No amount of dirty or disuse will hide that 8-pointed star from me. I’ll pick it up, dust it off, and call myself a writer once again. In fact, I’m doing it right now.
Do you have a need you’re fighting to reclaim? Or that you haven't thought about in a while? Tell me about it. Or don't. Sit down and figure out how to acknowledge the needs swirling around your gut. Take these words as a reminder that your need is waiting for you give it some attention. No matter how long you’ve ignored it. You haven't forgotten it and it certainly hasn't forgotten you.