Singlehood, Married-hood, and Being In the Hood

I know what you’re thinking – excuse me, but relationship status has nothing to do with writing, and that’s what the entire blog is about, particularly Mondays.

HA! I’ll show you.

For a writer, relationship status can be a huge thing. I can’t tell you how many people I see on Twitter lamenting that status, for a number of reasons. The ones who are married often wish for quiet times in the midst of the child and spousal chaos. They’re cooking and cleaning and driving and watching and helping with homework and giving baths and putting to bed and, when the rare times come for them to write, they are exhausted.

The ones not married/engaged/partnered lament their state of singleness. They make quips about loving their characters more than people and how their introversion ties them to their home/apartment, and every so often throw out a series of comments about loneliness and how difficult it is to meet someone.

THIS I KNOW.

I have been in both situations, more or less. I grew up in a household of many, many people, and I lived with my parents my senior year of college, following two years out of the home. Unsurprisingly, the most I can dredge up from that time is a few short stories and a couple novelish false starts. I know what it’s like to be surrounded by noise and movement and need and to be strongly considering breaking your own leg just to get a few days of invalid status in which you might have some quiet to write.

I am, at the moment, single. I know what it’s like to finish an awesome passage and have no one to share it with, or to wish someone else was around to remind you to eat, and to eat with you, and to pull you out of a funk when you have to write something dark and feel it sucking you in. I know what it’s like to become so accustomed to your own company that sometimes it’s hard to imagine sharing space with someone that intimately, and to be frightened of this truth.

I’m about to be one hundred percent cliche, so if you need to abandon ship, that’s okay. I might do the same thing in your place.

But please, try to find a place inside you in which you can be grateful for whatever life is offering you right now. Is it incredibly difficult to be so needed that you have no space to follow your own passion? Absolutely. But treasure it, because life is short and temporary, and our time to cherish one another and invest in each other might end much sooner than we think. And when you look back, at the end of everything, I can promise that you won’t be wishing you spent a little less time with people you love.

And is it incredibly painful sometimes to feel like you’re alone, hanging on to the edges of a world populated by people happier, more connected, and more loved than you? Absolutely. Very much so. But this is precious time you have to cultivate your gifts, and find myriad ways to share both your words and your experience with the world. And the more you look to put into the world, the more it offers back to you, and the more you reach out, the more you will be filled up.

These circumstances are the birth places of our words. Our own stories, the stories of the people around us, the reality of loneliness and the truth of too much need, are the true heart of everything we have to say. You would not be who you are without your circumstances – for better or worse. And if you don’t like who you are right now, in your particular place and time, know this – there may be very little you can do to change the circumstances. But you can always change you. And the more you change and grow, the more power you’ll give to your words.

As for being in the hood? Engage in the world. Pour out everything you’ve got and soak in as much as you can take. And when you can’t take it anymore, pull your hood up and nap a bit. Your words will thank you for it.

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