A Lesson in Avoidance by an Expert

It’s there, always in my periphery, that thing I must address, I should look at, and need to act on. Beastly, it stands over my shoulder like a menacing shadow or an unskilled stalker with a space deficiency.

It knows my every thought, mood, and mode of distraction and will wait me out and dodge any direct hit, only to gather and hover over me again.

There are a few ways to spot it. It usually comes with an overwhelming sense of urgency. Unimportant things are suddenly uber important like straightening those slightly askew picture frames on the wall morphs into home décor CPR.  

Little curiosities transform into earthshattering puzzles to solve, like “What happened to Amelia Earhart, really? I’m going to figure it out, TODAY!” and “Why is her name pronounced air-hart but spelled ear-hart? I’ll figure that out too!”

Today’s mode of distraction started with an email about a potential job opportunity I don’t feel qualified for. Immediately, I overwhelmed myself by reviewing the subject, feverishly taking notes, and then sprinted to the kitchen for an early lunch (is 10:30 am lunch? A second breakfast?). I finished that task, rinsed my dish, unloaded the dishwasher, reloaded it, and completed a floor-to-ceiling deep kitchen cleaning. See the avoidance rabbit hole?

What am I avoiding exactly? Work. Writing. Learning. Becoming something more, something better? No.

I’m not afraid of hard work or the energy needed to complete one scene, act, or plot twist—I’m used to all that! My fear lies within my own passivity and inaction.

Avoidance is an abyss that holds our most profound worry that what we’ve created, poured our heart and soul into, will not matter to anyone else, so what’s the point? We can’t always and only write for ourselves and our moms!

That small space of doing nothing holds two truths: we will succeed, or we will fail, but until we bring it out into the light and take it for a spin, we have no idea of the outcome. That’s scary as hell! So I choose avoidance over self-confidence.

After I ate a sandwich (of ham, cheese, and regret), did the dishes, and cleaned the kitchen to gleaming, that nasty thing returned whispering that must, should, and need mantra again. And suddenly, I realized how to best enlighten that shadow, slay that beast, and exorcise that doom demon!

I took a deep breath. I stopped thinking about all the steps. I picked up my pen and got to work.

One comment

  • There you go! When I find myself in that situation my mother’s “encouraging “words come haunting….”KENNA, GROW UP!”

    So I try to be like my daughter Litta-bug and get to work!

    Love you, Sweet girl!


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