These days, more often than not I have several ideas to write about floating around in my head, but when I sit down with my laptop, I feel nothing but particularly uninspired.
It's like all the brilliant, creative ideas I have shrink into unattractive globs or float in the distance, just out of reach. Most of the time, though, those brilliant ideas simply seem way too brilliant for me to capture today. Too vivid for my current color set, too complex for my weary brain.
So I sit with my laptop, and if I'm feeling ambitious I'll journal, but most days I close out the blank document or blog page, and I revert to the couch potato version of myself, who enjoys crunching on chips and binge watching Supergirl on Netflix.
I've been wondering lately why I feel so uninspired to write even though I have all these ideas and topics floating in my head. Coming up with topics is usually the hardest part of writing for me. As I've pondered this, I recalled a few episodes of The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, my recent favorite podcast. The host, Jamie, frequently interviews authors and is in the process of writing a book herself. I remember her saying, "You know how they say you write a book?" Her guest asked, "How?" Laughing, she replied, "You sit down and write a book."
This makes me think perhaps what's missing is not inspiration but discipline. Discipline, and courage. Courage to show up and let my work be seen, even if it's not in vibrant color like I'm used to or well-composed and easy to read. It's not exactly fun, but when I sit down and churn out the words, my soul is still fed, and hopefully others' are too. (But it's more like a whole grain, raw vegetables kind of meal, not meatloaf and mashed potatoes.)
In a way, this dilemma about writing correlates to how I feel about reentry. How do you live through reentry? You wake up, and you live your day. You show up when you need to (to work, to interviews, to church, to counseling), you veg and cry when you can (and sometimes when you're not supposed to), and then you do it all over again tomorrow.
Even when you're feeling particularly uninspired.
There isn't a recipe for perfect reentry or coping with reverse culture shock. There is no secret to feeling inspired for life. You wake up and get through the day, and then you do it all again the next day, and the next, and the next. You choose to be thankful for the many sweet parts of life, and you push through the hard parts.
Reentry is a strange thing. I think one day soon I may start to feel the tingle of inspiration, the warmth of motivation for writing and for the idea of life in America.
Until then, I will pray for strength to show up each day and courage to let myself be seen. That, I think, is enough. And I think it's really all you can ask for when you're feeling particularly uninspired.