Struggling, But Clawing My Way Out

The harder the struggle, the more glorious the triumph. Self-realization demands very great struggle. ~Swami Sivananda

If anyone has been waiting on pins and needles for the promised post about my trip to Kaua’i, I apologize. It’s been difficult to readjust to regular life after such a wonderful vacation in one of the world’s most unspoiled places. Immediately upon returning home I felt a deep sadness that I’m still processing three weeks later.

I’ve heard of people suffering post-vacation depression, but I had never felt it before and was blindsided by it. And on top of that, my extended family is going through a crisis that has emotionally worn me down. Things exploded on FB (the social-media-site-that-shall-not-be-named) on my last day in Kaua’i and I couldn’t take it anymore. I’ve deactivated my FB account for the second time in a year. It’s too hard to watch family members sniping at each other on a public forum like that, made even harder by the fact that I live 300 miles away from all of them. I love them dearly but I can’t watch them self-destruct and I can’t let them take me down too.

I’m a bit resentful about how my family’s behavior has affected my ability to be on FB because I’m really missing the connections I had with my distant birding friends and other highly-sensitive people there. I’m still not sure it’s worth going back into that environment though. The whole FB experience just makes me feel bad.

Anyway, I don’t want this to be all about FB, so let’s just leave it at that. But wait, there’s a bright side to leaving FB in the rear view mirror….

Sunrise on our last morning on Kauai (800x533)

Sunrise on our last day on Kaua’i

Now that I’m not spending so much time in a funk worrying about my family, I’ve found renewed drive to focus on my writing and my real social life. I’m very excited to have joined the board of my local Audubon chapter as their newsletter editor. And I attended my first writers’ conference two weeks ago. I think that makes me a “real” writer, don’t you? And I’ve had more interactions with real-life friends in the past month than I’ve had for most of the rest of the year. Now that’s fulfilling.

Isn’t it interesting how much brain power can be sapped by worrying about things we have no control over? And for someone also dealing with menopausal “brain fog” (it’s real, look it up!), it’s important to muster up as much brain power as possible.

I’m also back to working on book ideas. I told you that I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo in November, right? That’s sort of a “writing fling” because I’ve never really tried to write fiction before and don’t know if that’s the direction I want to go. But it’ll be fun (or torture?) and will finally help me establish a daily writing habit, once and for all.

My real interests lie in writing nonfiction books. I’ve been keeping a folder of ideas for several years. I’ve come up with lots of interesting (to me, at least) book ideas, but so far none of them have survived the research phase. When I have an idea I like, I start searching to see if anyone else has written a similar book. I’m often disappointed to find that many of “my” books have already been written. Argh! That sucks. Some days I get frustrated and think I’ll never come up with one that can get published before someone else writes a competing title. But there are glimmers of hope, and I’m still writing down new ideas. The hard part will be to choose one and ignore the others while I work on just one at a time. I feel I’ve got a lifetime of books inside me, if only I could get them out!

So there you have it, the reasons I haven’t written about Kaua’i yet. It touched me so deeply though. And ironically, maybe that’s why I can’t yet put it into words. It shook me out of my normal state of mind, bombarding my brain with so many new things that I’m actually a different person now than before that trip. I’ve visited many countries in Europe and Asia, but somehow this far off place in my own country made me feel almost like I’d stepped onto another planet entirely. It’s a cliché, I know, but traveling to explore new cultures really can be life-changing.

On the Kuilau Trail between downpours

The “new Kim” on the Kuilau Trail between downpours

This entry was posted in Happiness and Gratitude, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Struggling, But Clawing My Way Out

  1. Just block or hide them on facebook..that will make it better

  2. I loved reading this post. It made me feel less alone. I have been in a bit of a post-Shetland funk ever since returning home from the UK last month. I wrote a couple of travel type blog posts about Shetland while I was there, and have meant to write one final post about my reflections on the place and the people, but just can’t make myself do it.

    I am so excited for you and your upcoming NaNoWriMo. I know your time will be focussed on that, but I am hoping you are able to give us a few quick updates as the month progresses.

    As far as Facebook goes, I don’t have a single person in my friends list who is a drama queen/king. Or outspoken in terms of politics or religion. Life is too short. 🙂

    • Kim says:

      Kristie, I’m happy to hear you say that my post made you feel less alone. That’s one of the things I like most about sharing my writing publicly — it lets me know that others share some of my feelings, hopes, and dreams. I’ve always felt so different from other people, sort of apart and living a parallel life to the rest of the world. (I sometimes wonder if I’m a bit of a narcissist, but that’s such an ugly word, I hope not.) Anyway, that’s why I like to hear from people who read my blog. It reinforces in my head that I’m not as “separate” as I feel sometimes. And that’s a very good thing for someone who tends to isolate herself and spend too much time inside her own head. So thank you for that. You’ve made a positive difference in my day.

      Your Shetland trip looked wonderful too; I loved your photos of the scenery and stories of your hiking adventures. I’ve fallen hopelessly behind in commenting on your blog, but I did scroll through several of your recent posts. I loved your hiding spot for your teapot, very clever. Now you’ll have a fun secret every time you walk past it!

      Sending you more by private email….hugs!

  3. birdblogger88 says:

    Glad you joined the board of oakland audobon. Excellent use of your time and talents.

  4. yourgypsysoul says:

    Beautiful post. I still suffer bouts of post-honeymoon depression every once in a while. We went to the ocean, my first time seeing it, and I fell in love. I have been luckily enough to have “dreams” about then when it gets too bad, although they feel more real than dreams – like I am actually there.

    I am a HSP too, and I find your blog inspiring!

    • Kim says:

      Wow, those dreams are great, aren’t they? I wish I could dream of Kaua’i…lately I’m just having bad dreams. Last night I dreamed that I tried to rescue a hummingbird but ended up accidentally killing it. It was awful. It’s been a long time since I had a really GOOD dream. Too long.

      I’m so glad to know there are some other HSPs reading my blog and finding it meaningful. Thanks for your comment!

  5. trudyjohnson says:

    Kim, isn’t there some way to block posts from certain people on FB? Bet our friend Carolyn might know She is my unofficial guru techie! Friends you pick; family you are born into! Kauai’a was our favorite of the Pacific cluster. So much of it is unspoiled, non-commercial, and just begging to be explored! Keep it as your place of peace and serenity in your thoughts. Just know how much you and your thoughtful posts are appreciated. Waiting for your book. Your slant on any subject will be unique and special. Trudy J.

    • Kim says:

      Trudy, thanks for the advice. Yes, there are ways to block people from appearing in my news feed, but I still felt compelled to check up on them, often getting upset at what I found. The next option would be to unfriend them completely and/or block them. I might choose to do that…still considering options.
      (Am I supposed to know who Carolyn is?)

  6. Littlesundog says:

    Kim!!! You look GREAT! You’ve lost weight, have a new hair style, and look how happy you are in that photograph! Wow!!

    I loved that first photo too. I look forward to seeing and hearing more about your trip in future posts. Like you, I have sometimes struggled after a fabulous trip somewhere, to come back here to chaos and drama – especially family scenarios. I’m glad you’re coming out of that and tinkering with some writing ideas and interesting projects!

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