The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Haunted by the Past (#IWSG)





          Have you been feeling a bit insecure?   Do you have an inferiority complex?  Don't feel alone. Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog.  Mingle with the group for reassurance as well as helpful information.


Haunted by my Past

         Some of my recent posts have been addressing the issues of being introverted and the past that lingers with us.  I have often been insecure in my life when I've faced having to put myself out in the public scrutiny.  At times painfully shy in my younger years, these feelings have been coming back to haunt me of late.   Not so much the shyness, but I do find myself withdrawing into myself, not wanting to leave home unless it's for some road trip.  Get me traveling and I do great, but if I don't have to go anywhere, believe me, I don't go much of anywhere.

         Then too, I've had a lot on my mind with personal situations.  I've been doing a lot of thinking and rethinking.   There's more uncertainty about where I'm going than any insecurity about where I am.  I hate to use that label of insecurity, but I guess in some aspects of my life it does apply.

         After much postponement, I finally installed a word program in my "new" computer and have been attempting to get back into the writing habit.  Not just blog writing, but other writing.  I chose not to do NANO again this year because I didn't want to force things.  And I've got some things happening in November that would be a big hindrance to the writing commitment that NANO requires.

         The writing is getting back into gear a bit and I hope I can rev it up and maintain that momentum.  But something is grappling with my head, vying for my attention.  Distractions are easy and many, but they always have been as such for me.   Like an addict I find myself falling back into old bad habits of uncertainty, doubt, and dare I say it--insecurity.  

          It's easy to fall back, but not always as easy to forge onward.  And yet onward is where we all go whether we like it or not.  The choice we have to make is where do we want to go in life?  And do we want to go kicking and screaming?


       Battle of the Bands

       If you've not yet visited and voted on my most recent Battle of the Bands I hope you will do so now by clicking on this link.   The song is related to the feelings I've expressed above.   You have until tomorrow evening (Thursday November 5th) to leave your vote.  The winner will be announced on Friday November 6th.   So far it's a pretty tight race.   

         What old habits do you sometimes find yourself slipping into?   How does fear hinder you?   When does fear energize you to keep on going forward?





68 comments:

  1. Hi Lee, yes, this post touched me. I feel that what you describe is fundamental to aging. We know too much to flang ourselves at things the way we used to. I'm trying to be tender with myself as I notice the changes. I think it is essential to not push as we transit. Good pluck to you as you make your way. (And no that isn't a typo)

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  2. Oh and for BOTB definitely Ghost version. So clean and lovely vocals.

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    1. Jan, thanks for your BOTB vote--I recorded it on that post's comments. So much to do, so little time seems so true sometimes.

      Lee

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  3. I call them 'old wounds' or ghosts of old battles (appropriate for your BOTB this time). Once I put that name on them, whenever they appear ,they are easier to deal with. A little.

    I'm glad you're getting back in the swing. You offer so much already, it can only be good.

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    1. Diana, I hope whatever I do is "good" or worthwhile in some way. I don't know if my "ghosts" are so much "wounds" as they are apprehensions on past experiences and lessons never learned. I been dealing or ignoring--whichever seems most expedient for me.

      Lee

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  4. Like you, if I don't have to go anywhere, I'd rather hide as well.
    Hope you find that momentum again.

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    1. Alex. I need a power surge that's for sure. That or a blue ray player with a great entertainment center with an unlimited supply of movies to watch. I won't get much of anything else done but I'll have fun not doing it.

      Lee

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  5. Yep, homebody here, too - unless there's a free trip to the Greek Islands lying around. Glad you installed a word program. It's the first step - unless you want to go old school with paper pencil and typewriter...

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    1. Mshatch, I've been limping around with Word substitutes and stopgap measures, but nothing consistent. No thanks to the old typewriters and though I used to enjoy the pen and paper method, I don't think I could easily fit back into that again--not after having the convenience of Word programs on the computer.

      Lee

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  6. I'm so terrified of failure and being unable to compete with other crafters and photographers that I can't pull the trigger on trying to seriously sell my wares.

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    1. JoJo, I kind of know how you feel I guess. Creating is one thing, but actually getting the creation on the market can be intimidating.

      Lee

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  7. It's tricky. If you give into that "hole up inside and alone" feeling too much, you lose human connection and that's not good for you or your writing. But you do need a fair amount of alone time if you're an introverted sort. Best of luck in finding your perfect balance.

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    1. Samantha, I appreciate your advice. Now go away and leave me to brood. I'm kidding of course, but sometimes it's how I feel and that concerns me when it happens.

      Lee

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  8. There's quite a bit in my past that keeps rearing it's ugly head.
    Enjoyed your post very much Lee.
    Have a good day.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Yvonne, I'm glad you enjoyed the post, but I wish it was something that hadn't had to come to my mind.

      Lee

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  9. Good luck with finding your momentum.

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    1. Patricia, what? Did you say something? I was daydreaming. Ah, maybe that's part of my problem.

      Lee

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  10. Being an introvert is difficult. I've recently realized that's what I am, too. Lee, you'll find your way. I know you will. Just pay attention to what your heart is telling you, not necessarily your head.

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    1. Karen, my head seems a bit crazy sometimes so I should probably avoid those voices up there. Gosh, I hope that doesn't sound too bad!

      Lee

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  11. You took the first steps of installing a program. That's something to be proud of. Each small step is forward movement and actively working toward the forging on you want. Best of luck, and I hope to hear that you've gotten some words down!

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    1. Loni, I've been rebelling against Word programs and other computer stuff. It's all a big money grab, but that's life! I'll try to stay motivated.

      Lee

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  12. I have similar patterns that haunt me, like being too much of a homebody. Still, it's necessary for my work as a writer and editor. But I'll often leave home to go work elsewhere just for a change of pace and scenery.

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    1. Karen JG, if we expect to interact the world especially from some commercial standpoint I think there is a necessity to be a part of at least some of it. You know how it's done and I congratulate you.

      Lee

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  13. The only good that comes from thinking and rethinking choices you've already made is is they lead you to discover a pattern. Or something you've done in the past that you want to do differently in the future.

    One thing I've discovered from all my thinking and rethinking is that life works better with Intention applied to it. If you don't have any Intention life still happens, but it feels aimless (because it is).

    I, too, am struggling with figuring out what my Intention actually is. Sounds like maybe that's part of your problem, too.

    If it isn't, I hope you sort it all out soon and start feeling better.

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    1. Robin, part of my problem is that maybe I feel too good about most things in my life. I've become somewhat complacent about things. Or I'm just avoiding what I need to be doing.

      Lee

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  14. Those old evil patterns. Yes, they are so easy to fall back into, like a fluffy pillow--then that pillow goes all hard and flat and it's hard to get out. I wish you the best on your way out. :)

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    1. HR, I'm kind of working on things, but I know I need to work harder.

      Lee

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  15. Lee-I left a similar comment on Your Daily Dose and think it may be relevant here as well.

    I work from home a few days a week, and have my computer set up at a desk upstairs, in a space I really do not use for much else (the advantage of a single man in a 2,500 SF house-how do you think I pull of a "CD Room".

    When I go up there I am "in the office." I find that that helps me avoid the distractions that could come with being at home, as well as not feeling like I need to always be working when at home (been there, done that).

    I wonder if, as a writer, a similar approach would be valuable, where you schedule X hours a day like you had an employer and this was your job.

    Back in my misspent youth, I used a rigid approach when preparing for the CPA exam-I scheduled out what I was going to study and on what nights, and stuck to that schedule. I allowed myself nights off during that six month stretch, but found that the discipline of a schedule worked. Do you realize that with a CPA certificate and $5 dollars you can get coffee at Starbucks?

    I was a fan of Robert B. Parker (Spenser novels), and he practiced something like this-went into his office for five hours a day, every week day. In fact, he passed away at his writing desk.

    Now, I am not saying you need to die for your craft, but if you treat it like a job, you find you reach your goals, and may even find you get through the minor writer's block because you don't let yourself walk away.

    If you do decide to go the whole Parker route and become a martyr for your art, can you send me a few signed rough drafts first? One of us ought to make it rich from all of your effort...

    Larry

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    1. Larry, I just saw your comment on Robin's site before I came to see your comment on my site. It really is good advice, something that I've known for a long time but seem to lack the discipline to do it. Then there's the other stuff I need to do. Better organization of self is what I need. Maybe a taskmaster with a whip would help as well.

      Lee

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    2. It is difficult-I do not know that I would be a great candidate for self-employment for that reason. My taskmasters are our company's clients, so I have the deadlines for my whip, and then within that framework I have enough discipline to keep on track.

      Maybe if you committed to someone to have a draft for their review by a certain time, or something along those lines, where all of a sudden you had to deliver to someone external, that would be the "whip."

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  16. Funny how childhood memories can overwhelm and bring such sadness, and even make us question our now, and the future. But it fades and we move on. I think it's wonderful that you're venturing back to the fold. Embrace it, write it, and expunge it! You'll be better for it. One of the things that helped me move on was a journaling challenge run by Mari L McCarthy she does something called the 27 days Life Changing Journaling Challenge - it was cathartic! Here's a link. Good luck!

    http://www.createwritenow.com/journaling-service-listing/journaling-services

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    1. Yolanda, I'm not dredging up sadness, but mostly remembrances of bad habits that seem to never change. The journaling is something I do need to do and partly what I've been doing. My need is not so much for catharsis to heal the past as much as a process to get past the past.

      Lee

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  17. Institute change.
    I'll be writing about that before the end of the year.

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  18. It's comfortable to be where you are, as you are. You know the terrain and you've travelled it well. Trying something new, doing something different, can lead to disappointment and heartache. You want to do more and be more but...

    Life itself also doesn't help. There is other stuff to do right where you're used to being. Some of the things might even be important so it lends a legitimacy to putting of whatever was going to take you to new places or dreams.

    Regret is probably the worst feeling, honestly. Failure hurts a while. Discomfort fades as the new becomes known. But the things you wish you would have tried are cement shoes you must walk in.

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    1. ****Putting off whatever, not of whatever. Darn typo.****

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    2. Jennifer, one thing I rarely do and I make an effort not to waste time on is to have regrets. But unfortunately I have pathways of habits ingrained in my brain. As for life, the things I desire to do are often superseded by the daily life things I have to do. That combined with the downtime recreation that I pursue to no great extent but taking up enough time to matter I guess interferes with all the other things I want to do. More time would help.

      Lee

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  19. I find myself having the same excuses about why I can't do certain things. It's frustrating, feeling like you're in the same spot, but maybe one day I'll conquer those fears.

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    1. Quanie, yes I think it just boils down to ruts, habits, and avoidance. Breaking barriers can be difficult, but I know that's partly what I need to do.

      Lee

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  20. It's amazing how much we limit ourselves just in our thought process. I'm right there with you, unmotivated to go out. I think it's because there's so much happening right here, but I need to get out. My poor baby is starting to become scared of new faces, and that's just not okay.

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    1. Crystal, parenting holds it's own special challenges and it doesn't change much until kids are out on their own. You'd think that with my lack of motivation to go out and all the time I spend at home that I'd get more of my stuff done, but it's amazing all the things that one can find at home to keep us busy. And I don't even do most of those things.

      Lee

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  21. We might as well go willingly because it's going to happen no matter what.

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    1. L.Diane, we don't have much choice about going forward in time, but it's the things we choose to do as we go on that time forward journey that matter most. I know I squander a lot of time, but still it seems like not having a job I'd have more time than needed to get other things done that I don't do.

      Lee

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  22. Even if I actually had all the time in the world to read and write, I bet that I, too would still manage to have excuses not to. It's as if you peeked inside my junk drawer and discovered nails, but no hammer.
    You've inspired me, Arlee! My word for the month shall be Resolve:-)

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    1. Diedre, glad someone is inspired. Now if only I can inspire myself.

      Lee

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  23. You better get back to writing, ole buddy, or else....

    I need to stop feeling sorry for myself. That's my deal right now. It's going to be a long winter.

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    1. Teresa, I'm going to try. Feeling sorry for oneself is something I guess I resort to as well. Good luck to you this cold long winter.

      Lee

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  24. What a wonderful post. Very touching. I don't compete in The big contest of November because I know I can never make that sort of writing commitment with my little ones. I do wrote everyday. I do my best to turn out whatever word count I can, which leads in to my biggest fear in that I will never move at the pace I want to so I get frustrated and then I sometimes jump the gun. I find motivation in talking to my friends, like minded people who are as action driven as me. I wish you the best.

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    1. Sorry for my couple of typos :)

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    2. Erika, dealing with children is a full time job in itself. They're the most important thing right now for you. I need some like-minded friends, but at least I have a few friends who I can talk to about various other stuff and that's reassuring.

      Lee

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  25. What hard questions, Lee. Old habits? No, since they weren't always good for me. Fears? No, God has that covered.

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    1. Susan K, you sound like a very secure writer! And wise.

      Lee

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  26. Best of luck with your renewed writing. If you've read my past few posts, you saw where I and my ghosts are not fans of NaNo. I'm into distilling your words to a precious few with skill and not forcing them to hit a word limit.

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    1. Roland, yes, NaNo is a certain writing philosophy that is valid for some and not so much for others. You sound like you edit as you go?

      Lee

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  27. I am more skilled at procrastination than anything else in life. I hope your issues resolve soon. Hang in there Dude.

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    1. Dolorah, I'm probably better at procrastination than you are. Maybe we could have a contest someday later down the road.
      The issues will be resolved in one way or another. I just wish I didn't have to think about them.

      Lee

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  28. I've always been insecure about my writing and that keeps me from getting serious about it. I've been told for my whole life, ever since I was in high school, what a good writer I am and how I should write a book. So why don't I believe that?? It'd be one thing if no one had ever said that to me but when I hear it over and over again, why can't I wrap my brain around it and accept it as truth??
    I've always been too afraid to do the NANO. Every year I say "Next year I'll try this." And so here goes another year.
    I'm glad you're getting back into the writing Lee. I always enjoy reading your writing. And you're so good at memoir writing. Your stories are always interesting and fascinating so keep it up!
    You know I'm into the power of gemstones and you may have read in one of my recent blog posts that I credit the gemstone pyrite for getting my butt in gear to finally, after years of putting it off and being afraid of it, producing a blog. I don't know if it really was the pyrite but I honestly am convinced that it was. I was wearing a pyrite necklace at the time that the energy just overtook and I pounded out a blog in three days. So you might want to get a hunk of pyrite and set it on your desk or wherever you do your writing. Who knows? It might help energize and build your confidence. I believe that the stone did exactly that for me...
    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Michele, I won't discount any idea until it's been disproven to me and even then I might wonder. Pyrite you say? Maybe.

      Lee

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    2. Yep, pyrite. Pyrite is also known as Fools Gold. It's also the gold specks you see in Lapis Lazuli. If you have a rock shop near you, which I imagine in CA there should be plenty of rock and crystal stores, you should be able to find some hunks of pyrite. They also have some nice "eggs" and "balls" available on ebay. You can buy it in hunks and chunks or slabs and balls. Just depends what strikes your fancy. Here's an ebay page with a bunch of pyrite:
      http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2050601.m570.l2632.R2.TR12.TRC2.A0.H2.Xpyrite.TRS0&_nkw=pyrite&_sacat=3213

      Some are pretty decent prices too...

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    3. I've seen rock shops around here somewhere. Now I'll have to be more aware. I always see them when I travel.

      Lee

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  29. Arlee, thinking too much about the past and having regrets is one of the biggest hindrances I have in my life - it's my issue, but it brings about the same results. I end up doing nothing and regret bitterly that I'm not. After the unexpected death of my significant other earlier this year, I really fell into a stasis; mostly mourning him and our wasted opportunities together, and once again, that old devil, regrets over what I perceived to have been a life of blown opportunities and relationships; we are always so very hard on ourselves.

    I've come to realize that it's a pattern of thinking that has to be just halted before it gets going; make it stillborn. I have two insecurities; that of a writer and a musician. Never mind as a person. I've never had a successful relationship, other than with my dead boyfriend, and that will have to do; I'm too weird I guess and too old to learn new tricks. I'm fine with that and will just keep on my merry way. You're fine too, Arlee. The grace of accepting myself is knowing that everyone else is undergoing some kind of inner turmoil and struggling. That's why we reach out to one another. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Viola, your comment really touched me--thank you for that. I know where you're coming from here. In the times after my divorces I went into that mode of trying to figure where things went wrong. Now in retrospect I see those times as wasted to a great extent. But there's always been some good to come after the bad so it all turns out. I do like to examine the past, but not burden myself with regrets. It's wasted energy.

      Lee

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  30. I almost think that you need to fall out of your comfort zone so you can become enthused with your writing. You may need to leave the introvert behind and push the extrovert out. Sometimes doing something that does not come naturally can be quite invigorating

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    1. Birgit, I may be doing more of that in the weeks and months to come. Still though I need to engage in some just-write time.

      Lee

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  31. Good luck getting your writing going again! I'm hoping to do the same this month.

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    1. Shannon, It seems like you've been doing a good job already!

      Lee

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  32. Good to have you back in the writing fold. Have fun, Lee <3

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Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee