Feeling Inspired

I had a great day. One of those days where you wake up and don’t think much is going to happen and then all of a sudden you’re in the mood to talk and create and write and be productive.

I don’t give enough credit to my friends. I am very secure in who I am and I often say that I only spend my time doing exactly what I want to do. That’s kind of not fair to them, though. Maybe sometimes they want to hang out with me or talk with me and I’m in one of my “everyone get away, I need some alone time” phases. Well, those aren’t really phases, I really do want to be alone nine times out of ten. But what’s amazing is that the friends I do have get that. They know I’ll let them know when I want to do something, but they also sometimes encourage me to get out and work on something and that’s pretty incredible. I never realized how rare it is to have such a big group of friends who are really pushing me to be and achieve everything I’ve ever wanted.

I also don’t give enough credit to myself. Much of the time, especially now that I have a full time job, I’m tired and I want to just sit and do nothing and turn my brain off for awhile and veg out. That’s fine, and as I’ve said, sometimes that’s exactly what I need and I need to realize that. But, I often forget that being tired doesn’t necessarily mean I need to go to bed. Sometimes when I’m tired, I think of the funniest, weirdest, craziest things.

 

I had a five hour writing class yesterday. We went over four pages of two separate scripts in that time. I loved absolutely every second of it. I felt like it was something I wasn’t good at yet, but I could be really good at if I worked hard enough. So today, I worked hard. I wrote pitches for a new spec I’m writing. I worked a little on the current spec I’m writing. I made a decision about a pilot I’m involved with. And I made a conscious decision to work on my own pilot the second I get a chance. I’m so incredibly excited to be writing and it’s been awhile since I’ve said that. It’s fun again. It’s not a chore. It’s not something I feel like I need to do just because I’ve declared it’s something I want to do. It’s something that I feel like is good for me. I feel like I’m going to try to keep up with this blog a little bit more, too.

 

I need to start realizing that I do have something valuable and interesting and, often times, funny to say. So, much like me thinking that my friends don’t always want to hang out with me, I’m learning that it’s important to share things with people because people are more like me than I realize. They’re interested in other people’s stories. They’re interested in jokes. They’re interested in me. That’s kind of cool to figure out.

Categories.

Four days ago, on February 28th, it was the eighth anniversary of my oldest brother’s death. The date comes around every single year and my life crumbles. I could write an entire post about the three days I spent in the hospital with my brother watching his body deteriorate and give up, but I think it’s more important to write what I learned in the weeks surrounding that.

 

I went back to school less than 24 hours after my brother passed away. For one thing, what else was I going to do? Sitting around was not going to help anyone, so I figured I’d just go back and see all of my friends. I will never forget being in the second floor bathroom after stepping out of a class for a moment and a girl came up to me and asked, “How is your brother doing?” She meant nothing but the best and I so truly am humbled that she asked. Instead of responding maybe how I was supposed to, I said, “Oh, he’s fine, thanks.” She mumbled something about how she was glad and then I finally said the words out loud–“Actually he passed away yesterday.” I don’t remember how the rest of the conversation went. All I know is that it felt completely normal to say that he was doing fine. I didn’t want to invite questions. I didn’t want to open up to anyone. It wouldn’t have helped if I responded correctly the first time.

It was that conversation that taught me a few things about losing someone: It is truly indescribable to realize that someone’s life defines your own. I don’t mean this in any sense of independence, but I mean that Andrew’s life, and specifically Andrew’s living, made me a person with two brothers. Andrew’s death made me a person with one brother. Such a simplistic category of “Number of Siblings” that we all fit into throughout our lives, but my category changed. I also fit into a new category of “Girl Whose Brother Died”. I realize no one actually thinks of me this way after knowing me, but if the subject ever comes up, I know that’s the first thing they’re going to remember for awhile.

There are two days a year that are incredibly important to me that don’t necessarily phase anyone else. Anyone who has lost someone can tell you the birthday and “death”day of someone they lost are two dates that will never go unnoticed. Is their birthday still one to celebrate? Should we celebrate the time we had with them? Is their “death”day one to mourn? Should we celebrate that they are no longer in pain? My new categories become “Person Who Hates Two Days of the Year No Matter What” and “Girl Who Doesn’t Know How To Feel”.

 

I do not pretend to know the depth of pain that so many others in the world have known, but I do claim to know the vast and all-encompassing pain of losing a loved one. If you know someone who has lost someone they love, give them a hug. Ask them if they’re okay. Don’t feel weird saying “I’m sorry”. They know. They don’t want you to know the hurt they’re going through. They don’t want you to make things better. It’s not in your power to make things better. It is in your power to learn from them and to listen, I mean really listen, and find out what they need.

 

There are so many categories that are a better fit for me as a whole. I fit into the category of “Girl Who Likes Football” and “Singer With A Crazy Low Alto” and those categories are just as important. This year, I got some new categories and they distracted me from the sad categories I’m reminded of twice a year–I became part of the “Employed Millennials” category and I also became part of the “Figuring Life Out” category. One day, maybe, I’ll learn that none of my categories are sad. They’re all important to me and they all define me. And yet another day, maybe, I’ll find out that my category is mine alone–it makes up every part of me and only me and maybe someone will want to join my category. Until then, I’m learning and I’m loving the people I have left and I’m missing the people who are gone. Especially today.

 

Making time count.

You know in an earlier post when I mentioned that I wanted to make my time count every day? Well, that’s a learning curve. Not necessarily a lesson in making my time count, I think I’m pretty aware of how to do that. I need to be present, I need to be conscious, and I need to make a decision.

I’ve learned that decision is really what makes a difference. If I’m not deciding to do something with my day, I’m not making my time count. What do I mean by this? I mean just letting that next episode of whatever show I’m watching roll over on Netflix. I mean just opening the fridge and grabbing the first thing that I see because I’m hungry from being so bored. Making my time count means consciously making a decision about how I’m using that time.

 

I mentioned it before, but I started a new job this week. It’s a full time, five days a week kind of deal and it’s very structured. That’s something I’ve been craving. Before this job, I did a lot of unconsciously passing time. A lot of realizing that I had a lot of time to get things done that I wanted to get done, so putting those things off and off until I completely forgot my goals.

This week of training was absolutely exhausting. I got home every night after a long day of absorbing information and during the week, I really made that time count. I made nice dinners for myself that would take a little time and would allow me to put on a podcast and just enjoy the quiet around me. I would catch up on some work that I was still doing for my old job in this time of transition. I would meet up with a friend for coffee to decompress from the day. I used that time to do things that I wanted to do.

Then came the weekend. I was sure I was going to get up and run errands and be an incredibly productive person who amazed everyone around me with the amount of energy I had. Here’s the thing, though. I listened to what my mind and my body needed, and I needed to be completely lazy. Lazy in a way that’s a little irresponsible. On Saturday, I woke up and laid in bed until about 10 at which point I pulled myself out of bed, made some coffee, and promptly set myself up in front of the television. I could have gone to work out. I could have run errands. I could have been productive. If I was going to make my time count, though, I needed to learn what I needed.

That might be the hardest thing I’ve realized. Some days I will need to just completely lay down all day and take accidental three hour naps and call my friends and do nothing that’s propelling me forward as a person other than maintaining my mental health. So that’s what I did. I made the conscious decision to do nothing and that’s pretty amazing.

 

Sunday rolled around and I was sure I’d be in a more productive mood. Well, I sort of was, so I listened to what I needed and did the things I needed to get done, but slowly and throughout the day. I was still productive. I still made my time count. But I did it at a pace that my mind and body needed to maintain.

 

I don’t have it figured out, but I have learned a lot about myself this week. I now know that I know what I need if I pay attention to it and that I can distinguish wasting my time and using my time intentionally to waste.

On to another week and more figuring things out.