Over the years, writing communities have been integral in my personal and intimate growth. Whether it’s in person or online, I find value in sharing writing materials with others as well as learning from what other writers share, so when I found out that A Chronic Voice does monthly writing prompts for chronic illness bloggers, I couldn’t wait till October to arrive! The 5 words, or prompts, for this month are: Producing, Acquiring, Switching, Disappointing, and Forming.
As a newbie in blogging, I am obviously producing content. Consistently. I am gradually creating a space where chronic illness, mental health, and faith (body, mind, and soul) meet face to face. Around this time, my head has been (and is) spinning with ideas and directions of where The Acceptance Journey will take you and me. There’s just SO much to write about regarding the themes of chronic illness, mental health, and faith. And to be honest with you, it’s been hard to pray lately about my content and direction of The Acceptance Journey.
The thing is, blogging is hard. I nowhere thought it was easy, but it’s definitely a learning curve for me (and for many others). So while I am stretching myself with this new undertaking in my life, I forget to invite God into this “stretch.” If I placed The Acceptance Journey more in prayer, I’d probably be more focused and less distracted by other blogs and how “cool” they look. I’d be more focused on THIS journey and not on other bloggers’ journeys because…to compare is to despair!
As someone who has a history of falling into comparison, jealousy, and envy, I know all the corners of this dark trio. Reframing my mindset to things like, “I can learn from this blogger” or “This blogger has acquired a lot of experience in this niche,” etc has been extremely helpful to build resilience and consistency in my blogging. Blogging takes time and I know with hard work and consistency, I’d gain more confidence as I produce more content.
This month I am acquiring more connections with bloggers of different niches thanks to Facebook groups. I am pretty amazed that there is a niche for anyone who has a dream to blog. So when I found these networks, I felt like I found a community that understands what it means to blog when you have fibromyalgia. First, I wondered if it was possible for me with my health circumstances. Secondly, I wondered if it was worth it with my health circumstances. Thirdly… well, actually those are two main things besides the thousands of questions that popped up in my mind in terms of blogging while living with chronic illness.
To my surprise, there was no “right” or “wrong” answer to these questions. It really is up to you and your purpose in blogging. Pacing is definitely key. When I first started out blogging, I was pushing myself to create at least 2 or 3 posts a week, but I soon learned that producing that many posts on a weekly basis would be an abuse to my body. And I would eventually have to take a longggg break from blogging.
Working with my body (and not working against it) is part of the Acceptance Journey. When I schedule a block of time to write, I schedule with flexibility because I need to cooperate and collaborate with my health needs. Being consistent with pain management on a daily basis helps me be more mentally and physically prepared to type up my posts.
I’ve been switching my night routine…almost every night. So you can say that I haven’t found my night routine yet. I’ve been feeling distracted by social media, news (yikes…!), and I recently found the British Baking Show on Netflix (just because everyone seems to talk about it!). So although I make time to plan for the next day, pray, and other sleep hygiene stuff, I’d been feeling like I just need to catch up with what’s going on in the world so I don’t seem like a hermit.
Information overload and overconsumption of social media (I’ve been doing better lately!) are challenges that I am gradually tapering off, keeping in mind that this will be trial and error. A lot of things in life, if not all, are trial and error. I assess what works for me and what doesn’t work for me. Putting my phone away while I follow through my sleep hygiene routine has been helpful for me.
Consistency is key. Especially if I want to grow my blog. My night routine impacts the next day’s challenges and opportunities. If I am able to stick to my sleep hygiene, then I have better sleep and I can be restored for the next day’s challenges and opportunities. I like to take a whiff of essential oils, such as lavender or bergamot before I go to bed. They are so calming and communicate sleep signals to my brain and body. As long as I am not near my phone…!
Completely unrelated to blogging:
I’ve been disappointed (and other feelings) with everything politics, the confusion of where to find non-biased news, the divisiveness of racial discussions, and so forth. I care about the Bronx, which is where I am from. I care about New York and I care about the United States. I don’t know how politics worked before President Trump was elected because I didn’t pay attention to politics until he was running for office in 2016, but I do remember not experiencing political tension before his running for office.
I am not attributing the political tension to President Trump (although some things can be attributed to him), but it just seems like we are in a whole different era of how we understand and manage the political arena in the U.S (I have NO idea how other countries are doing, politically, so I can only speak for the U.S). Just remember, I am speaking from ignorance…!
But the fact that I don’t remember experiencing political tension prior to his election could mean that:
a) there has been political tension before, but I was ignorant or
b) there has been political tension before, but not enough to penetrate in high volumes on the everyday life or
c) there had always been “enough” political tension to simply be “maintained” in the White House or
d) can you come up with your own?
Whatever the case is, it’s important to know all sides of the story. So yes, I am disappointed with all things politics, but I’m trying to notice where is my disappointment coming from and why.
I’m reexamining my values as a Latina, as a Catholic, as a citizen, as a woman, as a daughter of immigrants, as me, Alexandra.
I am forming and reforming myself again and again. One way that I am forming myself is by taking a class on self-worth and self-image with The Woman School. (This is not an affiliate link by the way). The Woman School encourages women to live from a place of worth and value instead of depletion and scarcity. I am learning practical skills (such as building routines!) that would help me to design the life that I want to live. It’s easy to get into the thought-traps of, “I have a chronic illness, so I can’t do this or that.”
Although there is a reasonable truth behind certain statements around chronic health issues, it is important to explore where I use these kinds of debilitating statements. I have fibromyalgia, but that does not mean I can’t do anything exciting, fun, or (insert your adjective).
As a new blogger, I regularly check how I am doing physically, but also with my mental health. Thoughts can impact my body and my body can impact my mind. For example, when I am experiencing a fibro flare, I retrace my steps to have a better sense of what contributed to my fibro flare. Was I feeding into anxiety or negative thoughts? Or was I taking on too many physical tasks? Or was it a combo of both?
Retracing my steps help me to reassess my thought patterns and/or my physical tasks for the following day. This helps me to view my challenges from a responsibility-perspective instead of a victim-perspective:
“What can I do?” instead of “This happened to me.”
Do you get into victim-mentality with chronic illness? What do you when these thoughts enter your mind?
So there you have it: my October link-up using these 5 engaging words.
So what are you producing, acquiring, switching, disappointed in, and forming this month?