On Making Mistakes

NaNoWriMo Word Count: 12,250 words

Mental State of the Day as a GIF

TRIGGER WARNING: Talk of panic attacks, negative self-talk, depression.

Today we are going to talk about being kind to ourselves, because that is something that I was not today, and I feel like it is an evergreen thing that most of us (especially writers) could use reminding about.

My day started off fine. Woke up, was like, def need to get a shower before heading to this write in. Did that, was getting my stuff together, and wasn’t too worried, because if things had gone to plan, I’d be out the door with enough time to be 15 mins early to the write in I was going to. But I miscalculated how long it would take to get my shoes on, get everything into my bag, and get my butt out the door.

Missed the bus by 3 minutes. And then the stress began.

My phone has been shut off because I got behind on my phone bill, so I could not message my co-MLs to tell them, oops I missed the bus. Nor could I look up when the next one would be, because I had not data to do so. I don’t live terribly far from the train station, so I could walk there, but with my leg injury, it takes me longer to walk places, and I didn’t want to push myself to get there, only to miss it. So I took the risk and waited for the next bus. Caught that one, but as it was pulling up to the station where I needed to catch my connecting train, I watched the train roll by before I could make it to the platform. I missed it by a minute.

Now here I am, about to be hella late to this write in, with a phone in my pocket I can’t call anyone to tell them with, and the next train isn’t for an hour. I stood on the corner just crying to myself, unsure of what to do. I just couldn’t stop calling myself an idiot for missing it, an idiot for not being more organized, an idiot for being a fuck up that can’t afford her phone bill or to take a cab. It was brutal.

Then I saw the bus coming that would take me back to my house, so I caught it. Walked in the door, crying and defeated and in the middle of a full on panic attack that had me convinced I was the worst, most awful person. My roommates were home, and bless them, they helped calm me down a bit, with one of my roommates offering to call me a lyft to get there, even though I was insisting, I don’t deserve to go at this point. I should just stay home and deal with the consequences of being such a fuck up.

He wasn’t having that, and as my amazing roommates have on more than one occasion, they talked with me till I was calm enough that one of them could in fact call me a lyft, and I could still make it to the write in, even if it was 40 minutes after I was supposed to be there.

As an ML, the last thing I want to do is seem unprofessional. Generally speaking, I don’t ever want to let down anyone ever, and yet my anxiety has me convinced this is the only thing I am capable of. So on days like today, when something that should be small goes wrong, I implode into myself. And something my roommate said really hit me when I said I didn’t deserve to go. He said, “You deserve to be a person who makes mistakes.”

Ultimately, I made it to the write in. Got to see my friends. (None of whom, it should be noted, were at all mad at me in the slightest for being late.) Got to knock out some words for the day and talk with an old wrimo friend about a job opportunity I may be able to pursue. It was a good day from there, but the anxiety of earlier is lingering, and I think that’s why I’m writing this post to get the last of it out of my system. I was not feeling like myself, even at the write in, so I ended up cancelling the NaNoHouseCup I was supposed to do.

My anxiety brain tried to get me there too, being all like, if you cancel it then you are just letting down the people who love participating in them, and then they’ll be as mad at you as you are at yourself. I did my best to shut this argument down, and decided to reschedule it and just post that I would be unable to for personal reasons. Well, this is the personal reasons—I needed to take a step back so this anxiety attack didn’t eat me alive.

I was met with kindness from participants who encouraged me to put myself first, and I guess that is the other reason I’m blogging about this. To serve as a reminder for myself that even when you think people will be upset with you, they usually aren’t. Your friends want you to be okay, and if that means letting them down in a minor way to make sure you don’t burn yourself out, then so be it.

I saw this meme in a NaNo Facebook group the other day, and it is a funny personification of this very real issue I often face…

I want to be at write in events for wrimos. I want to lead online writing events to encourage people with friendly house competition. I want to see others have a great NaNo, because NaNo has given me so, so much over the years. But what I needed today was to recognize that it is okay to not be 1000% all the time. I need to be kinder to myself if I am gonna survive this writing month and also life.

All this being said, I’m having a mostly very good NaNo so far, and I think most of my stress is coming from other factors like finances and career recalibration struggles. I am trying to figure out where the hell I fit as a contributing member to society who loves to do lots of things, but who has physical and mental health complications that make that hard to do. But I am still writing.

The writing of this book is the one thing giving me unadulterated joy right now, with its new characters and world that I am just getting to know. While I may not have done all I wanted today, I did get 1,600 words done, and honestly just managing to leave the house when I was feeling as discouraged as I was feels like a thing to celebrate. So here’s hoping for more good ahead this month, and thanks for listening.

I hope more than anything that you are kind to yourself today.


Featured Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🇬🇧 on Unsplash

One thought on “On Making Mistakes

  1. This is a hundred percent correct, I am guilty of blaming myself and negative self talk on days when I just don’t seem to get my act together, Thanks for the piece. It’s a helpful reminder for me on such occasions.

    Like

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