Why are you doing this?
I can’t stop thinking about earthquakes and what I would do if one struck while I was in LA. I spent my first night here spinning my mind into a crazy head space thinking about which doorframe I’d stand under and whether or not I should put on shoes first. This is not unusual for me. I’m always playing the “what if?” game. Typically zombies are the starring villain, tonight it just happens to be earthquakes and they could happen anywhere. In fact, the only one I’d ever experienced in real life was in my hometown of Goshen, IN. It was small and I wasn’t sure what it was. I was sitting on the toilet at the time so do with that what you will.
I think I’m just having some general anxiety about all of the things going on in the world around me. Puerto Rico, where we were planning to go for our work retreat in December, was devastated by a hurricane. Vegas, a town I’d considered visiting after LA, experienced our largest mass shooting to date. Sonoma Valley, which I’d just driven through on my way to Napa Valley, got hit by the largest wildfires.
I somehow feel like I’m navigating around dangers from all sides. Wildfires in the northwest, hurricanes in the south and the vast unknowns in between. Natural disasters combining with human ones and I don’t have any control over any of it. And control is something I’ve struggled with my whole life.
As I’ve been traveling the states, the top question I’ve been asked is: Why are you doing this? Followed by, what’s been your favorite place to visit?
Well, I wanted to see what would happen to my writing, if I gave up control and gave in to the whims of the road. I wanted to see see what I could create if I removed all distractions. I wanted to see what I was capable of if I gave my art a priority.
The reality has been that I’ve had way more distractions than I’d ever had at home. Once in a lifetime adventures like Redstone Arches in Moab, hot springs and bison in Yellowstone, and the awe inspiring Redwoods have all taken priority. Reading to my niece, laughing with my brother and sister in law, seeing the eclipse with my aunt and uncle, connecting with old friends and making new ones, have all taken priority.
It seems to me these are distractions worth having.
I certainly have my fair share of pleasurable distractions at home. Long lazy breakfasts with my boyfriend planning our adventures, laughter with friends and family over drinks, and working in one capacity or another on the next play, have all taken priority.
Here’s the rub.
Why have I been able to write through the distractions while traveling and not while at home. What is it about this instability that has bred creativity? And is it necessary?
I don’t think so.
I think that struggle can lead to growth but that growth doesn’t necessarily come from the struggle itself. It comes from how we choose to face those struggles. It comes from choice. I also don’t think growth from struggle is the most stable nor consistent way to create continuous growth.
Perhaps it circumvents the harder work of claiming time and space, creating a habit, prioritizing oneself. It’s a short cut and it’s no way to live permanently. Can you imagine if I were to try that? I mean I suppose that’s where the slightly unwound crazy artists in our circles plug in but that’s not who I want to be nor the life I want to lead. I prefer to leave my crazy onstage where it belongs.
I’ve written through all the distractions while traveling. Why has it been so difficult to create that space for myself at home? Perhaps I had to throw my system out of whack and into survival mode to truly focus on how to live a life of balance. Perhaps now that I feel it, I can keep it, create the habit of it at home.
I will tell you one thing I have absolutely discovered.
Despite all the places I’ve been and all the things I’ve seen, the one place I’m most looking forward to going is home.