I hope Jenna doesn’t mind me using her photo from last night here. She was amazing, as were all the other readers at the Water Street Writers open mic event.
I’d brought three poems to read, just in case. But I had a feeling I wouldn’t read, beginning a few days ago. I spent my life in front of people: teaching, talking to parent groups, and speaking at technology forums. Presenting seemed easy, natural. Then I went through some life changes that, well, changed my life. Suddenly, I experienced anxiety, gut issues, and sleep problems. I ignored them for a few years, but then realized I needed to learn how to manage them.
After two or three years, I do feel like I *can* manage (not fix) them. And one way is to honor what I am feeling. I try to say “yes” when I mean yes, and I say “no” when I mean no. I knew if I read, I would feel the flutters in my stomach turn to waves. Then I’d have gut issues that wouldn’t subside for days. And I probably wouldn’t have slept last night.
I *chose* not to read. Instead I totally enjoyed sitting outside in the freezing weather listening to my Water Street writers read. The evening was relaxing!
I have become more introverted as I age. I crave solitude. Nothing makes me happier than writing, listening to podcasts, walking on the beach, or sitting in a garden. That’s not to say I don’t love my friends. It was so good to see the writers whom I usually only see on Zoom! So many smiles, so many hugs.
The past few years have taught me to honor my feelings and do what is important for my body. I don’t always make the right choices, but they are choices. That feels right.
What I’m reading/learning: