Why Writing Is Both My Excuse And My Motivation


Today, I wanted to talk about something that is extremely personal. I don't usually make a habit of posting/discussing super personal topics but lately, I've had this ONE thing on my mind and I felt like I needed to share my feelings because 1. it's cathartic and 2. I *know* there are other people ( especially writers) out there who are going through the same things.

So, what I want to talk about today is my health. No, I'm not sick and I don't have an illness (that I know of...) and I'm extremely thankful for that. But the older I get, the more and more I realize just how unhealthy I am. Little things here and there remind me of this and then the big, obvious things. The "thing" no one wants to talk about which is weight*.

I'd like to think that as an intelligent, well-educated young woman, I know the difference between "real" women and what the media likes to pretend is "real," but does that mean I'm immune to the way it all makes me feel? Of course not. Logically, I know there are more women who are my size or bigger than skinny. These women are absolutely beautiful and stunning. But that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt when the majority of pictures that are labeled "beautiful women" on Pinterest are of extremely skinny women. It doesn't mean that every time I turn on the television or read a magazine, my heart doesn't drop to the bottom of my stomach knowing that right now, at this time in my life, I'll never look like those girls. That deep down inside of me, I hate the way I look. I don't have an ounce of confidence those girls do. There are articles floating around the blogosphere doling out advice like, "it's important to stay pretty in your marriage. Never let yourself go because your husband will start to find you unattractive and that could lead to cheating and divorce." Do I believe this? Not really. But don't think for a second that it doesn't cross my mind sometimes. The thought scares me more than I want to admit.

But really, I'm getting off topic here. What I'm trying to get across is that, in my life, I've always found justifications for the things that are too hard. That's just the way it's always been. I think it's ingrained in your brain at an early age and some how throughout your life, you just start accepting that it's just "who you are" and that's just the "way you'll always be." But why? Why should I stay this way? Why do I *want* to stay this way?

For the longest time and up until this very moment, I've been using writing as an excuse. A crutch. A justification. "I don't have time to exercise or eat healthy because I'm so busy writing." "I can't possibly find the time to do this or that because I'm on my deadline." "I bet all the famous authors who are putting out book after book don't have time to exercise, they sacrifice it so they can finish books!"

But the absolute worst one I've been using lately is this one, "my readers are waiting so patiently for the next book... I have to finish this. And then I need to work on the next project and the next project."

What I didn't understand until now is how insanely stupid that excuse is. I mean, I'm by no means a famous writer. I'm by no means a writer that is releasing books that have people on pins and needles just waiting for. How narcissistic does that make me, thinking I could forgo my own health because I had something so wonderful to give to the world?

On top of that -- I realize now that my priorities have been screwed up. Don't get me wrong -- I love writing and reading more than just about anything else in this world. They ARE my world. But if I don't start taking care of myself, none of that will matter. My writing won't matter, reading won't matter because if I don't start to take action now, I might not make it that long.

I need to make the conscious decision to put my health first. At least for now. And if that means that it takes me a little bit longer to finish a novel, or taking a hit in sales because I'm not able to market my books as long or as hard as I used to -- then so be it. None of that makes a bit of difference if I allow myself to continue down this path.

So while I used to use writing as an excuse, I'm turning it into motivation. Hoping that by getting my health turned around, I will have more energy, feel better physically and mentally and be able to know that I've offered myself a chance to write for the rest of my life. It will suck in the short term -- knowing that every time I'm sweating or in pain or fed up with the process, I'd much rather be writing, but it's what I need to do.

I've always prided myself on being a realist and I know that the chances of me staying on track are slim. I'm the classic case of "try, try, try again," because I do. I try and try and try again without any success. But I feel like if I put this out there -- if I admit something that so many other women go through, maybe some one out there will say, "me too. I'm right there with you," and with a little support, we'll be able to cling to each other when the times get rocky. When it feels like all I want to do is go back to being the same old me.

So call this little post whatever you want: a cry for help, a manifesto, an accountability record, but it was something that needed to be written. Something that needed to be said. So you know if I'm not around, it's not because I'm being lazy or avoiding you. It's because I'm trying to be the best version of myself. And I deserve it. And you deserve it.

So in the famous words of Nike, I think I need to "just do it."

*For all purposes in this blogpost, when I refer to my unhappiness with my weight -- it's not directly related to the actual # on the scale. It's about the unhealthiness of it. I'm not a "healthy fat girl." My weight and health is a product of my bad choices and lifestyle.