About a month ago, my friend, Monica, said to me: “I’ve heard that creativity is a gnome that lives in your walls and only comes out when it wants to.”
This strange comment has been bouncing around in my head ever since. “Who is this gnome? Gnomes are scary, do I even want to let one in? Do gnomes like watching Netflix and eating fine cheeses? If so, we would totally get along but probably wouldn’t be very productive together…”
This small snapshot should tell you two things about me:
Number 1: I like to surround myself with some wonderfully weird people.
Number 2: I overthink virtually everything (…and I’m pretty weird too).
Six months ago, I made a big move across the country and then I sort of froze up. Anxiety amped me up and then wiped me out and I started walking around with my head in a fog, making myself sick by overthinking about all of the ways I am messing things up rather than leaning in to the newness and enjoying this chapter. When I get in that mode, my walls grow higher and higher and no one is getting in… especially that creativity gnome. It’s been exhausting and I let the exhaustion ripple through my life in a variety of ways: Lately, I’ve been too tired to write, call friends back, hike, or do much of anything besides go to work and then go to sleep. Then, in the same two-week span, a soccer mom totaled my car, my iPhone broke, and a pseudo-relationship ended… so… it was a rough couple of weeks. It was also an enlightening couple of weeks.
The silver lining of being mildly depressed and car-less in a new city? Friends and colleagues stepped up in so many ways – from offering to drive me around, to hosting me for a fabulous dinner and old-school slumber party, to helping me navigate the horrifying world of car dealerships, and even letting me borrow their car. It meant a lot to realize that, in the six months I have been here, I have built a stronger community and support network than I even knew. Clearly, I am not messing absolutely everything up.
It sort of feels like the Universe wanted me to grow up a bit in the last month of my mid-twenties… maybe I was getting too old to be driving a car I borrowed from my parents, battling with a phone that barely worked, and spending time with someone who wasn’t on the same page as me. So, I did grow up… a bit… but there was a LOT of anxiety (and whining) involved – and I am so grateful to everyone in my life – both near and far – who put up with it and was there for me throughout this process. To each of you: Thank you… please feel free to whine to me anytime.
I had another conversation last night – this time with my friend, Fiona – that motivated me to set new goals and reclaim some pieces of myself that have felt fogged up and distant lately. She talked about making changes for radical self-care. Because, when that gnome doesn’t come out on its own, you might just need to bulldoze that shit.
So, that’s what I’m going to do.