Being Discouraged Is Easy
Picture it: you're on your couch, under a blanket, no tasks for the day, TV on something you've seen a thousand times. It feels good to be exhausted. It feels good to give up. It feels comfortable to just let it all slide away. You're still healthy, happy, you have a job and a roof over your head. You are an adult who can have ice cream for dinner. Who cares if you stay down when you get knocked down? You are reporting to no one but yourself. Letting yourself lie in the middle of a pool of discouragement feels a lot easier than trying.Aye, there's the rub. It is you and only you. You are the only one you have to face when you erase goals from your list. It's only you in the mirror.I almost didn't do nanowrimo this year (Nanowrimo is National Novel Writing month where you pledge to write 50,000 words from November 1st-30th). I did not finish last year because I was fired from my job and my heart and confidence shattered. I wanted to try again, especially now that I have crafted a full idea for a novel and I want to get it all out on the page to see if it works. I knew the first weekend would be tricky because we were going to a wedding in California and I didn't want to bring my lap top nor would I have time to write my word count for the day. At first, I wasn't concerned in the slightest.On the plane, I wrote an outline of sorts. Ideas for scenes and the order they would come in. I normally do not write with structure but I thought I would give it a shot this round so I wasn't walking in blind on Monday. Then I thought "Oh shit, Monday I have plans that night. How will I even be able to write Monday? Will I end up being SIX DAYS behind?"I lay in bed Sunday night discouraged. It felt familiar and safe. I had promised myself I would finish nanowritmo this year but I was 8,000 words behind. Could I catch up? Did I even want to? When would I write? I was seconds away from shutting it down and moving on. I knew if I did give up, I wouldn't get the first draft done. It would take me more weeks of procrastinating to even get a skeleton on paper. I made a goal to finish my first draft by December 31st. If I gave up now, I could see exactly how it would go down. I would be in February without a full draft and writing pieces here and there and eventually it would be another abandoned project on my computer.Monday I found time to write at work on my lunch break. The words fell out of me. It was easy with the ideas I had jotted down and I was moving quickly. I wrote 3,000 words. I did the same Tuesday and wrote even more Tuesday night when I got home before settling in and relaxing. I am almost at 10,000 words and that is just about on track. The website told me I would finish January 24th when I put in my first count Monday and now, it says December 6th. I am almost there. Last night, I watched the election results. I cried several times when I saw the way it was going down. We watched a few happy things to take a break from it all. We went back to the results. I watched Beto lose and I cried more. My husband turned on our favorite episode of Parks and Recreation. The one where Leslie Knope wins her election after thinking she had lost. It is called "Win, Lose or Draw" and it helps in times of despair.I got online and started reading other results. The women who were elected. The people of color that were elected. Openly gay politicians. Young politicians. People with powerful voices that echoed mine. A wide range of faces that the president will have to look at inside of the normal chorus of old white men. The hope returned to me. It made not have been the tsunami size wave we expected but it was a wave nonetheless.Discouragement is easy. I almost gave up last night on any hope at all to make a difference. I thought for a moment my vote didn't matter. All that research and marching and signing petitions, donations, having uncomfortable conversations to try and find common ground. It must have all been for nothing, right?Wrong.Just like my novel, it is little by little. I started writing and I am back on track. With that tiny bit of effort, it has become easier. It is the same with voting. You have to go out and do the first step. It gets easier after that. It will never be immediate. My novel won't be done after this month just because I am writing every day much like the Senate may not be won back in one election. It is piece by piece and this is the first one to go in. Our voices were heard. It does matter. We matter. You matter. Even when you are only reporting to yourself, holding yourself accountable, you matter. My husband made a good point: it is like the Battle of Hogwarts. Blow by blow, it seems like it is getting darker and closer to full defeat. Then hope surfaces and the light returns. Even just a sliver of it. We are Dumbledore's Army and we can't give up. Whether it is a novel, a goal, flipping the Senate, fighting for our rights and safety, we are in a battle for good and we have to keep going.Raise your wands. Write the words. Cast your vote.Discouragement is easy. Don't you want to look in the mirror and know you did everything you could and never gave up hope?