Learning to be attuned to my body was a lesson learned from watching it break for an indeterminate period of time. When your vitality shrivels up, you become very aware of your limitations and how you spend your energy. Cancer treatments were a lesson in cherishing what I have (instead of what I lack), working with what’s available, and prioritizing what deserves my time. But I digress. I digress a lot when I talk, but I digress even more when I’m feeling tired. This tendency for distraction used to infuriate me. Ana BCP would self-flagellate, despite all her yogic habits and zen beliefs. I was not fully aware of it; it was more of an automatism.
The way I see it now, lack of focus is my mind’s coping mechanism to deal with fatigue and low spirits. When things are too much, I will seek escapism and procrastinate on significant tasks. And while I fiercely believe that rest is as important as work, honoring your leisure is as essential as following through on your duties; there are occasions where you need to push yourself a bit for the sake of completion. I’m very unfocused and distracted today, but Blogmas will happen because I’m committed to this project. This month of daily blog posts is a vessel that will take me places. The only way of going about this, now more than any other day, is to watch the emotions manifest in me and use them for creation.
In theater school, the actors were often frustrated when they couldn’t get a scene right. They got angry, unmotivated. Sometimes they wanted to drop the part. The seasoned teacher wouldn’t want to suppress but guide the student in channeling their feelings to the role. “Use that! Use that!” I remember a gesticulating director throwing at the stage where we were rehearsing. The character would then gain a quality of presence that rendered it credible, no matter how improbable their behavior or how absurd the scene. The way to make relevant art is to put truth in it. Not in a literal sense, per se. But by putting your experiences and emotions to the service of something else. In our acting classes, we served the character. When writing, we may be honoring the story, providing for the reader, or both. “Use this!” the voice inside me whispers.
(This story was written for Blogmas 2020)