It’s not laziness


Chains that bind, digital photography, Lowell, MA, www.carolineallen.com, part of Dirty Smelly Noisy Exhibit, www.dirtysmellynoisy.com

I’m a writing coach now, but used to be a tarot reader/healer and I still give tarot readings upon ocassion. An artist in a nearby art studio, D, asked me for a reading recently. The information in her reading helped me understand why as writers we feel stuck; we feel incapable of moving forward.

One of the cards that came up was the Indolence card. D knew the tarot deck I was using (we artists are often fascinated with the archetypes of the tarot, with the mystical and metaphysical), and she pointed to the card and said something about her laziness.

Here was a woman who painted at her studio five times a week, whose space was full of massive brightly colored nudes, whose gifts and productivity were well respected among the other artists. She couldn’t have been called lazy by any stretch of the imagination. (But still, she had times where she felt like she was in quicksand, moving through treacle, long periods when she couldn’t get anything done.)

I said: “No, the card says that you’re misinterpreting times where you can’t seem to do anything as laziness. It’s not laziness.”

I looked at the remaining cards and was pulled back and back, generations (this happens when I’m reading tarot and was one of the reasons I gave it up; it was often too much for my body to take). D is African American, and I was pulled back through so much oppression, so much restriction, such a darkness. It wasn’t laziness she was experiencing; it was the layers of oppression that came from a brutal society and embedded in the psyche of her people, in her family, in her cells, that she was working through, fighting against. The cards said she was the first person to say no, to try to break the cycle of oppression, to express her true self out into the world.

How heroic!

I cannot get this reading out of my mind. I know as a writing coach that these times where we’re unable to write, incapable of expressing ourself, not able to even get off the sofa because things feel so confusing and dark, layered in muck, these times are not laziness. They are generational, genetic, societal. We are pioneers cutting through the underbrush, and sometimes the underbrush is too thick, the weather too hot, food supplies are low and we’re just plain worn out.

I know gagging the truth, and living in denial, has a loooooooooong history in my family, going way way back. Open one door of truth, and the whole structure will shatter beneath the weight of so much pain, the weight of so many people blaming themselves. They think if they look at the truth they will see their own evil. We were peasant stock, brutalized because of our ignorance, mocked, hated. So much hate that I still cannot understand it. Why do some people have so much hate for poverty? I cannot understand it. We learned to pull in and shut up. (I say “we” and not “they” because you have to own your connection to your tribe; the only way through it all is this ownership.)

I have friends who are Jewish and know the terror of the Holocaust still resides in their cells and shuts down their voice. I have friends who are gay and know that the long history of hatred and abuse their community has suffered, even with all of the progress of recent years, can still make them mute.

In writing my soul and speaking my truth, however difficult and painful, I’m going against the grain that goes back generations. The first person EVER. And this isn’t even taking into account the fact that I’m a WOMAN speaking my truth. That’s a whole other Pandora’s box. Is it a wonder I get overwhelmed by it all?

If you feel stuck in the muck, don’t call it laziness. Redefine it. Writing from the soul is revolutionary. You have a right to own the epic nature of the undertaking.

A writing coach can help you work through obstacles. www.artofstorytellingonline.com

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3 thoughts on “It’s not laziness

  1. Carrie,
    You’ve hit a chord with me. Being on vacation with my extended family has really shown me how my choice as an artist and entrepreneur is breaking the mold for the women of my family. There is such a pervasive silence in them, even when they strike out, it is only surface. Each of my aunts has done their own breaking out after my grandparents passed on, but not while they were alive. I’ve chosen a different path.

    I find I do feel that I am lazy with my writing/art, but what you say here really makes me want to pause and meditate on what the block might be. Thank you!

    Like

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