I have barely been able to put pen to paper this month. Luckily, my advisor is totally rad and realizes that this sort of thing happens. I have an extension for my third packet, and my fourth will be a re-working of my first. So that’s a relief.
But the thing that’s been bugging me the most is why? Why did I churn out the first two packets with no problem only to hit the wall at number three? I brought this up in therapy yesterday. Apparently, I have very underdeveloped “struggle muscles.”
As a student, from kindergarten through college, I always did really well without really trying. I would get the concept, commit it to memory, move on, and ace the test. I never needed the extra practice or extra help. Meanwhile, other kids had to work for every A, stay after, practice on their own time. While I had it easy then, those kids were practicing skills I never needed. They were strengthening their struggle muscles.
It makes total sense. This is why I usually only do things until they are no longer easy and quit. I don’t have practice in “pushing through even when it’s hard.” I quit the clarinet when sight-reading was no longer easy. I stayed away from sports and activities in which I wasn’t naturally skilled. If it wasn’t easy, and if I wasn’t great at it, I didn’t want anything to do with it.
Now, something that was so easy for so long–writing–is painfully stretching my struggle muscles into shape. This process is bringing out a lot of fear and insecurity: What if the words just stop? What if no one cares? I’ve never taken my writing this far, and the possibility of failure as I have never known it is stopping me in my tracks. But I have to press on, and see it all as simply practice for the next packet. This is not something I can just quit without consequence, and I’m tired of giving up when it’s not easy anymore.