Thank you Writer’s Block. I appreciate you.
I can’t believe I just typed those words. But they’re true. Let me tell you about it.
I’m a writer. And like the vast majority of writers, I occasionally stumble upon a bout of Writer’s Block.
I’m working on a book that’s due to be released in the fall. My book, entitled The Belief in Wings: Evolving from Self-doubt to Personal Power, is a three-part journey designed to encourage teen girls to find their voices, choose courage and step into their greatness. This book is very personal for me. The messages I share with the girls are messages I didn’t receive…messages that would have helped me avoid so much heartache as well as repair from damage that had already been done.
As you can imagine, a book of this nature will most certainly include a section on fear.
And that was the section that did it. That was the section that rolled out the welcome mat for my most recent visit from Writer’s Block.
My good friend Angie is also a writer. She’s working on a book as well. We’re both mothers, wives, daughters, friends, the list could go on. We’re both intriguing women with interesting stories to share. We get one another. And oftentimes, we experience certain phases simultaneously.
Recently, during one of our quick “Let me check on my chic” text sessions, I find out that we were both struggling with the words. Our conversation went like this:
Me: Yes, some things you just can’t force. And Yay! I’m so glad to hear that. I’ve hit a speed bump here myself recently. But I have to believe that happens for a reason.
Angie: …I’ve not figured out the writers block thing…Wish I fully understood what it meant…How to honor it…Because clearly the block is telling us something, right?!
Me: Exactly! It’s as if it takes on a life of its own. Like a royal visitor from some unknown land. And we are expected to roll out the red carpet…welcome it…treat it with reverence, all while never knowing it’s purpose for showing up.
Angie: Ha! Exactly.
Me: LOL! Like a big ole Jabba the Hut sitting in the corner!
Angie: Jabba the Block. And we’re looking for Hans Solo!
After this exchange, I really gave it a lot of thought (and prayer!). And I knew in my heart it was no coincidence that the block came sashaying in just as I was breaking down the topic of fear.
So, what did I do? I did exactly what I joked about! I rolled out the red carpet and welcomed Jabba the Block with reluctant, yet open arms. I acknowledged his presence, and I gave him both the space and respect to do what he came to do. And while I was chained to him, unable to write the words, I decided to express through art.
Everyday, for about two weeks, I worked on my art piece. A self-portrait. My truth. Unapologetically, without shame or fear. Pencil and charcoal on watercolor paper…boldly breaking the rules.
This piece was therapeutic. It took me through a range of emotions and to places I didn’t want to go. Some days I hesitantly followed, but I followed nonetheless.
With each stroke of my pencil, I got closer to fear, terror, hurt and pain. I got closer to joy, freedom, courage and truth. With each stroke, I got closer to clarity and understanding. I got closer to myself. I got closer to Jabba the Block. I got so close to him, I couldn’t tell where he ended and I began. We became fused. I was one with the Block. And it occurred to me that the Block wasn’t this outside being entering my space and bringing interference. The Block was what already existed within me and how I was subconsciously allowing it to control my truth.
In Return of the Jedi, Jabba the Hut says, “Koo Leia. Cha too ma leia kahnkee, ya ee eema loh kah yah lee,” which means, “Soon, you will learn to appreciate me.”
It never ceases to amaze me how the messages and lessons that we need always seem to make it to us at just the right moment. Funny how I had given the Block a name…Jabba the Hut. Funny how I had indeed come to appreciate him.
He forced me to dig deeper. To not only look within, but to dive deeply into the depths of my soul, trusting there would be some outlet that would lead me back up to the top.
Believe me, there were moments when I wondered if I was embarking on a one-way trip to a living hell where I would be tortured forevermore by my personal demons. There were times when my truth was so terrifying I felt it in the room with me, creeping up behind me, ready to attack. During those times, I would literally turn around in horror, my eyes scanning the room for anything that didn’t belong.
And then there were those times, as my pencil caressed the paper, when I felt victorious…invincible…light and free.
Before long, I noticed the red carpet had been taken up. And Jabba was gone, quietly tucked away within me, ready for when I would need him again. And in his place he left gifts. Clarity and understanding. But most importantly, he left the words. And the words were everywhere. In my waking thoughts and in my dreams. Etched within each element of my new art piece.
For years, I despised the Block. I had no respect for it. I had no idea what to do with it or how to properly respond. My mindset was off. I would get agitated and pissed. I would turn my back on it and, inevitably, try to force the words.
But now I see things more clearly. Now, I appreciate Writer’s Block. I appreciate Jabba. I understand that he is a part of me. I am humbled that he doesn’t want me to be burdened with the weight of my unspoken truth.
He doesn’t want you to miss out that truth, either. He cares about both of us. Me as the writer…you as the reader. He knows the only way my words will mean anything is if they flow from a genuine place. How could there ever be any wrong in that?
The truth sets us free. And fears…well, they can either push us forward or hold us back. It’s our choice. Just as it was my choice to respectfully acknowledge the Block, give it the space it deserved, all while remaining open and allowing it to communicate with me.
Jabba let me know that my biggest fear was lifting the self-imposed censor I was writing behind and finally sharing my truth.
My personal narrative is a difficult one. But the only way I will ever be able to help a woman or a girl is by bearing it all…the good, the bad, the ugly.
Thank you Writer’s Block. I appreciate you.