Note to writer self - in the aftermath of a black moment, your heroine should be feeling completely silly and stupid. Why? Because that's how I'm feeling now.
I did go through a black moment over the weekend, culminating in the tears and unleashing on the blog yesterday. I cannot pinpoint exactly what led it on - it was one thing built upon another and another and another, and before you know it, you are overwhelmed and fraying at all the edges.
You know the BFF in every chick-lit story? I'm lucky to have one too. She lives thousands of miles away from me but she is always there. She sat me down and had a talk with me yesterday. Her words: life happens, deal with it.
Sounds harsh? Maybe, but she was right. Life isn't gonna go away no matter how much you stick your head in the sand and wait for it to 'pass'. And if it does pass, it's waiting for you around another corner.
That's what I had done, and the past few days were one such corner waiting for me to slam in it. I won't recoil from saying that the issues involved were actually people. The people in my life, those who make me whole when I bring them together and place them as the foundation of my existence. But that's a tricky thing - family. It's oil and water and pepper and salt and sugar and slices of lemon. On a good say, you stir and shake and end up with palatable vinaigrette. On other days, you stir and shake all you want and all you end up doing is making your arm hurt when nothing is mixing. That's when you have to realize - will this mix turn into a salad dressing or not?
In this latter case, it was a not. Actually, it was a not for a long time, I just refused to see it because it was easy to just keep on stirring and shaking when the oil and water were starting to separate. And then you get old and your arm muscles are no longer so strong and you grow tired and get aches and pains. Short of becoming addicted to painkillers, you have no way of keeping on stirring and shaking so everything will keep sticking into a salad dressing.
Strange side note - I am not a foodie, not even an enthusiastic cook. Yet using cooking examples come easy to me. Go figure.
Back to that example - translated to real life, the growing old part for me was actually about growing up. I had (hopefully) acquired the maturity necessary to look at things and know that oil and water will never mix and that I cannot keep hiding in the sand. If this were my heroine, this is the basis I would've given her to get on with her life and move to find her own happiness in her arc. So if I knew all that, why wasn't I doing it? Because writing is fictional, and real life isn't. In your writing, the sh*t may hit the fan but over your plot progression the mess miraculously disappears. Not so much in real life.
That was my dilemma - I had to do this, separate the oil from the water though I couldn't cut either from my life. Face it - we need Essential Fatty Acids and H2O to survive! That was me in a nutshell. Had to scrape off the salad dressing and figure how I could get both so I'd still be healthy yet without the hassle of having to make said dressing. Yeah, I may not be making much sense right now, I know that (beauty of blogging!).
It was hard to do. It nearly killed me. But like every writer knows, a character arc cannot progress if issues aren't adressed and there'll be no hope of HFN let alone HEA. So I did it - separated my oil from water.
And guess what? We're all still alive and kicking. Yes, there was a lot of hurt on the spot, but my mistake? I never gave the people involved enough credit to believe that they'd all hold on tall and strong without me to act as a supporting pillar in the display.
I don't know what consequences this move will have in the long term. If it's bad and the people are hiding it, it breaks my heart but sadly, I can't do anything about that. I tried, and look where it had gotten me. I know now that I may approach a corner and not be afraid of slamming into this particular issue. I know my arm need not hurt anymore from trying to stir and shake an impossible mix.
How do I feel? I'm still numb, I guess. Beneath this particular issue sat a few others, little ones that appear of no consequence but accumulate to something substantial when put together. We're working on them. My water (and I guess by now you know who I'm talking about here) and I are trying to figure out where the waves are coming from and what is triggering such tsunamis on the calm surface of our life together. My oil, well, is trickling along as usual. I just hope I haven't hurt them badly and that God will forgive me if I have. And my little dose of sugar was the sweetest of the lot, of course - yesterday he saw me crying and he came up, hugged me, and said, "can't you go to one of those places where they do massages and put that icky goop on your face and all that?" Yes, in his own little guy words, he was telling me to take a break and go to a spa! I think he'll know how to speak to girls later (yikes!). I told you, didn't I - we don't credit our people with enough good sense.
Yesterday I had a breakdown, a meltdown, and a black moment all rolled into one. I agreed I needed to move forward, and I took the plunge. Strangely, like my heroines, I didn't drown. I just emerged up and out as good-looking as a drowned rat, but you know what? It means I did come out.
I'm not seeing the light just yet, but I know it's there. Up to me now to cut through the brambles of thorns to be able to see the brilliant sky.
And yes too - as soon as my paycheck clears, I am gonna listen to the sugar's advice and book myself to have all that icky goop plopped on my face!!
Thanks to everyone who have listened and bothered enough to try and talk some sense into me at my black moment. Everyone needs people like you in their lives.
Incidentally, did I mention all this gave me an idea for a story...?
In the meantime, don't forget:
Live. Laugh. Love. I am followingmy advice now.