Thursday Thoughts: Living With "And Yet"

Sometimes, my life seems really full of "and yet." I want thisthing to happen ... and yet. I need to accomplish thatthing ... and yet. I'm longing for this, craving that ... and yet. And yet.

But honestly, even with the challenges of parenting two complicated kids as a single mom with no co-parenting partner, that's just life. I'm not the first woman to have ever found herself in this position, not the first little girl who grew up to write stories, not the first person with a feast in their heart but a famine in their life. Even my challenges aren't original, though they are many and often complicate each other despite my best efforts.

The hardest thing about it is the way it's all entangled with my battle with PTSD. Life is full of "and yet" - and yet, dealing with that sense of waiting, of watching, of walking into the unknown with every step, of struggling to climb a barrier you can't even see ...

Well, that can be tough to cope with sometimes.

And yet ... I'm trying.

Lately, the idea of public speaking has been nagging at me. Several months ago, I had someone reach out to me, asking if I would be willing to come and speak at their local library - they wanted me to talk about writing, sign some books, that sort of thing.

I write it like it's such a simple thing, like I get offers like that every day, like it's just so passe. But it's not. That was new for me - but even as new as it was, it planted a seed.

And yet.
In the months since, I've gone back and forth on whether or not that trip will even be possible. I've been offered partial reimbursement for the trip, but it won't be paid until afterward and also won't be enough to cover the cost of a trip for a family such as mine - and going alone isn't an option since I'm a single mom and therefore, a package deal in all ways. I don't have someone to leave my family with, and honestly I'd rather have my kids with me anyway; a road trip would be a great thing for Team Kennedy.

And yet.
My van isn't reliable, so I'd need a rental car. I'd have the munchkins with me, and probably Chance too, so I'd need a dog-friendly rental company. And since the speaking engagement would be in the evening, I'd need at least one night in a hotel. Plus fuel and food and things to amuse the girls and ... well. I would have loved for it to be simple, to all fall into place.

And yet.
I'm also peaceful with the idea that this trip might fall through - peaceful with the idea that traveling outside my home base might just not be in the cards right now. Peaceful with the idea that I'm looking to God and asking, "Is it time yet?" and He's patiently shaking his head. "Not yet."

And yet.
Even if it isn't the time for travel, the way for me to write - and to talk about writing - is still wide open. In fact, I live just outside of a big city with lots of possibilities, and the variety of my platform would allow me to speak well about any number of things. Writing would obviously be a choice topic - I could share about my process, how I develop my characters, how I combine "planning" and "pantsing" to allow my well-planned characters to lead themselves through a plot I've only loosely outlined beforehand. I could share about the organization process, about the journey of independent publishing, about finding time and motivation to write even when life gets in the way.

And speaking of life getting in the way, I could speak about boldly single parenting, about the challenges of raising strong daughters in today's world, about coping with multiple mental illnesses. I could connect my life lessons to my writing and speak about self love and female empowerment - both in fiction and in life. The possibilities are endless.

And yet.
Are they, really? Are the doors really so wide-open, is the opportunity really just waiting for me to reach out and take it? Are the possibilities really so endless? Is the sky really the limit?

Even for me? The woman with all the problems, the woman with the past trauma, the woman with the present trauma? Me, the woman with financial challenges and lifestyle challenges and health challenges? Me? The woman who is so incredibly open and yet simultaneously so buried under such an insurmountable pile of secrets?

I have to believe in possibility. I have to believe in hope for change, and I have to trust that even the most shareable journey begins with one impossibly small, insignificant step. I have to believe in the value of my own hesitancy even as I embrace and attempt to overpower the fear that rules so much of my life. Because I can't move forward at all without that one shaking step, without that minuscule inching forward.

PTSD does not live in leaps and bounds; I despise and am deeply triggered by swift or unexpected change even when it's the good kind, and the truth is, I am not fearless at all - nor am I as strong as my friends and family want to believe. Quiet suffering is suffering nonetheless, and "invisible illness" is no less ill.

There is a hidden part of me that is always quaking at the thought of the unknown, squinting into the future with a roiling stomach and knees knocking painfully together. And, hidden or not, that part of me will likely always be there, whispering doubt into my heart and fear into my thoughts - sometimes in my own voice, other times with voices borrowed from those no longer part of my life.

And yet.
I awaken each morning, if not quite ready to leap or bound, at least prepared to tiptoe a little bit forward - and I spend each day creeping as far as I can go, preparing always to begin again after a bit of rest, no matter how interrupted that rest may be.

Because it's in the little things. in the tiny motions of our waking moments that barely even look like progress, that momentum is built - like the created ember of a new fire, forced into being but then nurtured and coaxed until finally it bursts from its own smoke with such unexpected possibility that even the firestarter braces against the shocking heat of the flame.

As much as I share here, very few people are actually close enough to know the fullness of my reality - and yet those who keep coming back to this site don't need to know every detail in order to keep cheering me on and believing in me. And I don't need to know the fullness of your reality either. But what I do know is that you too are a flicker in the wind, perhaps not yet fully empowered to flame - and that together, we can spark the inferno of an Undaunted community, each empowering the others to burn more brightly.

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