“Delfina, what interesting thing have you done lately?” my colleague asks.
I think about a genuine, yet work-appropriate answer, it comes easily.
They look at me disappointed.
“Writing is the most interesting thing you did?!”
One of the major obstacles therapists have to overcome
All clients should be there willingly. Even if a friend or family member persuaded them to get therapy, the client is the one making the final decision. They should acknowledge there’s an issue they need to work on, and this isn’t optional, but a fundamental component of therapy.
Therapy (or counseling, depending on the issue and its gravity) can help people improve, heal, recover.
However, therapists can’t coercively make their patients see the worth of doing this inner, life-changing work.
Similarly, I can’t show my coworker what I mean. For me, writing is and always will be the most intriguing, captivating, out-of-this-world thing.
It’s just ensembling letters in a…letter (journaling; notebooks; birthday wishes; hell, to-do lists), or putting words in a box (articles; research; emails; website copy), yet this process is nothing short of fascinating to me.
When I craft that perfect sentence, or better yet, when the sentences flow out of me almost involuntarily, nothing compares. I’m getting goosebumps as I write this.
I’ve loved science ever since I can remember. Not in the “I loved physics/chemistry in high school” way (though I did!), but in my own way.
In small, quiet, almost secretive ways.
“I loved you like a man loves a woman he never touches, only writes to, keeps little photographs of.”Charles Bukowski, Love Is a Dog from Hell
P.S. I used to love Bukowski so much, my bff made a shirt with his face on it for me (the irony isn’t lost on me) →
I haven’t studied “real” science (psychology doesn’t count I heard 😏), or notably contributed to the science world. That doesn’t make my appreciation less truthful, just less loud.
So what comes to mind when I think of craftsmanship and beautiful processes, may come as a surprise.
A scientist conducting experiments in her lab, with all her charming beakers, and flasks, and whatnot. The lab I envision is more like a library, but without the books, kinda dark, yet warm, liquids pouring, measuring, testing. A chemist, I’m guessing, but I’m not picky.
That’s what I picture when I hear beautiful processes, and I love such beauty, but it’s like that Bukowski quote. From afar, and most importantly, passively.
But what I’ve learned throughout the years, again and again, is that love is a verb, an action.
Just like we have to water plants for them to bloom, we have to invest in relationships for them to thrive.
We have to love actively.
Whereas I can appreciate science from afar, to be able to answer “What’s an interesting thing you’ve done lately?” with “Writing.”, I have to write. A helluva lot.
Maybe it could’ve helped if I had mentioned the great feedback I received on something I wrote, that it was published on a site I (and thousands of others) respect, I recently did a visualization meditation that gave me so much clarity about my goals, especially writing-wise, and it quickly “worked its magic.”
But that’s not the point I’m trying to make. My coworker was probably joking. Plus, people don’t have to deem our passions or work worthy for us to continue doing them.
Have you heard of the 10,000-hour rule?
In the book “Outliers: The Story of Success,” Malcolm Gladwell examined the contributing factors to high levels of success. 10000 hours was one of them.
It states that you can become world-class in a field, once you’ve practiced it for 10000+ hours.
10,000 hours is approximately 20 hours per week for 10 years.
Success doesn’t just happen.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”Aristotle
Have I gotten my 10000 hours in? Does only professional writing “count” as a deliberate practice? Is “have I gotten” the correct verb tense? I’m not sure, but here’s what I know…
I’ve been writing since I learned how in elementary school. Well, my teacher wasn’t very supportive of my northern accent and the mistakes in writing, which slowed up the learning process a bit, but it’s okay.
To actively love writing and be a writer, you ensemble letters in…a letter, or put words in a box, and do that again, and again, and again. That’s exactly what I’m doing.
The process is fascinating to me because it’s so humbling.
Therapists can’t make people see the value of getting professional help. I couldn’t get myself to write, let alone think of writing for a living for the longest time. However, I can say that for a while now, I’ve been catering to my craft, honoring my inspiration bursts, noting things down, and trusting the process (myself too.)
While I can’t show my colleague what writing means to me, why it’s wildly interesting and important, my third-grade self would love to hear that it’s still the most out-of-this-world thing for me. She’d love to overhear my conversations and see me love writing, not from afar or in quiet, secretive ways, but actively.
I dig deep, then deeper, hoping I’ll be so lucky as to find that string of words that will make others feel a certain way, or believe in themselves, or smile, or learn something new, or simply know they’re not alone in this huge ball called Earth.
Love and writing are very much alike in that sense. Now go water those plants!
You’ve already achieved what you have described. Now. Keep going.