Have you ever had one of those weeks? The kind where you start out motivated and ready to take on the world—wake up early, eat healthy, check off all the things on your to-do list, ready to kick ass in every possible way—and then … when things could go your way or not, at every turn they choose not? I hope, for your sake, that you don’t know what I’m talking about. But I fear that this may be one of those universal truths. That sometimes, despite all your best efforts, nothing seems to go your way.
That was me last week. And I’m not even referring to the dumpster fire of news from the outside world, or the fires burning near my hometown or even the ongoing stress of the pandemic that won’t end. My tragedy was technology based.
I’m not the most tech-savvy person in the world, but I’m also not the least. I would consider myself exceedingly average in the technology sphere. But after transferring all my files from my old computer to my new one, checking to make sure everything was there, signing out of iCloud, and then deleting things from the old computer to give to my son, I too-late discovered that the folders sitting there taunting me on my new desktop were in fact, empty.
Three whole novels, gone. Photos and artwork, gone. Files. All. Gone. Poof! I was speechless. There must be a way to get them back. Surely. That’s why I pay for extra cloud storage, right? As of now, the answer to that is a big fat NO.
My solution? Curl up in bed and remain in a fetal position, possibly forever, or at least until things miraculously fixed themselves. Unfortunately, life had no intention of stopping to let me process my loss. Work, parenting, the 6-week CGI certification course I started, the social obligations I had been excited about before, they all felt completely overwhelming. Both my kiddo and my partner were beautiful examples love and support, but also, they seemed so … okay. And I was not okay. I was heartbroken. Devastated. And yet I also felt guilty about my first world problems when the briefest glance at the news reminded me that so many other people in the world were enduring unthinkable tragedies.
But comparison doesn’t help anyone and I had spent the last 4 years of my life working on a novel that no longer existed and I had to give myself permission to feel all the terrible feelings I was feeling. After an unsuccessful call to Apple later the full volume of everything that I’d lost continued sinking in, minute by minute. I was cycling through the stages of grief, trying to figure out how to keep functioning when everything felt pointless. But I still had to parent. I had to meet other work deadlines. I had to be a somewhat functioning human. There was nothing else to do. I had to accept the unacceptable.
I had to start over. Again. And so I did. I’m now 4,000 words into the new version of my work in progress. I think it’s going to be better than it was before. I think that it was time for a fresh start on a lot of fronts. Or maybe that’s just what I have to tell myself. Either way, it’s been a frustrating process of doing everything I can think of to get my career where I’d like for it to be, and mostly I feel like I’m running really fast, going nowhere. And I hate running.
So to end the week, I needed something tangible to say I accomplished at least one thing. A new composite. Creating composites is truly cathartic for me. It’s a visual representation of how I feel and what I’m determined to do. Accept the unacceptable. Keep writing. Keep creating. Just keep moving forward. Unless anyone out there has access to a time machine. Because if that’s an option I’m doing that instead.