Commitment Issues, or The Orangery is Closed, or A Manifesto of Farewells

Yesterday I started the Insanity workout. Strange, right? For one, I’m not that athletic. I like my yoga, I like my jogging, and I don’t like being in pain. Constantly.

I felt like I needed a change. There’s not a whole lot of sun here—it’s not known as “foggy England” for nothing—and I’m having quite the sunshine withdrawals. No vitamin D=no energy. I was desperately in want of something to get me moving, something to energize me and help me stay healthy. Besides, working out=endorphins=no more tiredness.

Since I couldn’t fit running shoes into my suitcase, nor did I come equipped with proper workout clothes (in 30 degree temps), the next best option was to do something indoors, that utilizes my own body instead of makes me go to a gym.

It’s rough, y’all. Muscles I didn’t even know existed hurt.

But Insanity isn’t really my point. I’ve been curating this blog for a whole month. I place “whole” in front of “month” because, for me, it is a long time, and it’s an achievement to have come this far. I was apprehensive approaching it. I have lots of work to do here, and the whole “Adjusting To Life Across The Pond” was a bit much.

But hey, I did it. And it’s been fun.  I discovered that if I tell someone I’m going to keep up a blog for a month, I’ll do it. I won’t back down. My 60 day Insanity regiment seems less terrifying when I’ve kept my promise once.

This weekend I traveled to Blickling Estate, a historic house a little north from Norwich. There was what is apparently called an “Orangery” on the grounds, a place where delicate citrus plants are kept during the winter so they don’t freeze. I certainly felt like a Delicate Citrus Plant while I was wandering around the estate, in very cold temperatures, wearing not enough layers because I think I’m magical or something. I mentioned that I like comfort. I would rather have been in that pretty, windowed room, away from the outer elements.

The Orangery was closed, and I could only look from the outside, through the glass. Being on the edge of everything is so important. I was on the edge of something alive, something warm, something safe. I was in the cold, in the world. There was so little between me and the room. It was enough, though. It kept me apart, distant, and frustrated. I wanted to be there, to feel less exposed to the outside, to the wind and the snow (there was snow, I’m not making that up).

I had no patience. Orangery Closed. That’s what the sign said. I wanted results, and I wanted them now.

That’s the attitude I don’t want to fall into, for anything, and especially for my writing. I don’t want to tell myself I’m going to commit to something and then be too afraid to pursue it—or too lazy, or too busy, or not have the patience. Wanting to be creative means you have to make yourself creative. You can’t stand on the edge and say, gee, that’s something I would really like to be. A writer. That sounds nice. But I’m not good enough. I can’t commit to that. It takes work.

You have to be comfortable, standing out in the cold. You can’t just see the idea of a writer—that warm, glowing ball of happy energy, of creative energy—and expect to find yourself there without going for it. You have to allow yourself to be on edge, destructible, fragile, a Delicate Citrus Plant in the winter, battling through to survive.

It’s about committing, about working at it, and about not giving up because it’s hard or scary or overwhelming. And you can’t sit there and say you’re not good enough to try, because if you don’t even try how can you know for sure?

If anything, that’s the most important writing advice or commentary I could ever offer. Creating is so incredibly intimidating, and I don’t know if it will ever stop being that way.

But it’s worth it.

About Jackie DeRobertis