I have always, always been a sensitive person. Sometimes this serves me well, like in my writing. Sometimes it doesn’t, like in the fifth grade. Despite (or perhaps because of) this sensitivity, I tend to spend a lot of time in my head. It’s less overwhelming than living in the world of my feelings. This means that when things aren’t going well, like in the last month or so, I spend a lot of time trying to understand why. This is a completely futile exercise, but one I have a hard time stopping. Especially late at night.
Is it school being over? Teaching? Guilt about not writing enough? My grandmother dying? A chemical imbalance?
Things in my life aren’t that bad, and they are getting better. My writing is back on track. My teaching schedule is far less overwhelming than it could be. I love that I get to work on writing with students as young as eight and as old as seventy. My life in New York is full of the best friends and the best support system I’ve ever had.
But recently I’ve been having dreams where my mother dies and my grandmother, who passed away last month, comes back to life. I’ve been having mornings where it feels a little harder than usual to get out of bed. Some days sleeping and eating are fine; other days, they’re a struggle. It’s not the most fun time to be me.
At the launch party for P.S. I Still Love You, someone asked Jenny Han for her best piece of writing advice. Very heavily paraphrased, she said to try being fully present during the hardest times in your life so that you could transform your pain into good writing/stories.
I’ve been remembering those words almost everyday of the last month. And hopefully, just like all experience, this will help me become a better writer and a better person. My sister often reminds me that change is the only constant. Things will get better and worse and better and worse forever. And I’m going to try to fully present as much as a I can.