One of my most important takeaways from therapy has been self-care. A major reason I have started, then stopped several creative endeavors and perhaps not where I once envisioned myself as a writer is because I do not take the time to pour into myself with consistency. I tend to “go” until I burn out.
I’m out of shape. One could interpret the previous sentence as a reference to my lack of lung capacity and/or mid-thirties bones and muscles no longer acclimated to endurance exercise. As true as the previous sentence is, I’m out of shape as a writer.
Once upon a time, I wrote every day. My outlet, Single Dadventures-a love-letter to loved ones and well-wishers who knew my story of love, loss, and attempt to piece my life together as I raised my daughter-became a profession. From my house in Long Island, I scribed at least 2,000 words a day, and blew through my 10,000 hours as a writer in no time. Until I began my journey into therapy, it could take a month for me to put 2,000 words to paper.
I loved to write; but it didn’t pay enough and my duties as a father didn’t allow me to network and make the most of my opportunity. I got a regular job and it became a daunting task to write between 10-to-12 articles or essays a week. Well over one million words, almost solely from the lens of black fatherhood, which-for me-was rooted in the trauma of the loss of my life partner took a toll on me and I burned out.
It is often said the most difficult part of the process is “getting to the chair.” For years, I would say I needed a new voice to write from. I felt like I found one; however, to sit down and type words out became a chore because, well, I was out of shape.
Over the past few years-at least once a week-someone told me how much my words meant to them, and inquired when I would do so again. Several times, I have written on my site I was ready to restart; I wouldn’t because life happened or I didn’t feel inspired.
Today’s date is June 23, 2020. All day, I felt the urge to write. After three paragraphs of nothing, I gave up. This afternoon, I looked onto Spotify, and they’d notified me the 2020 version of “Your Summertime Playlist,” an algorithmic compilation of 50 songs I listened to on their streaming services during the months of June through September. It was perfect timing because over the past few days, several memories of summers’ past had run through my mind. I felt inspired to write but had no direction and wound up with another three paragraphs of bullshit.
As the playlist conjured nostalgic thoughts, I remembered an anecdote of how and why these fifty songs were in regular rotation. Then it hit me, I want to get back in shape and I’ve needed something to consistently write about.
In different capacities, I’ve written once a day about songs from certain summers and stories based around said songs on social media. The first of these series began in a Bronx diner, entitled My Life in 100 Songs, in which the title says it all, in 2015. In 2017, there was #Summer97 about the year I fell in love with hip hop. In 2018, I wrote #Summer98, my last summer as a resident of New York City and the time in life right before I found my voice. This exercise will mostly revolve around my adult years and I’m certain some unresolved thoughts and feelings in the back of my mind which may need some reassessment.
About 90% into the first essay, I realized the conception and execution of this exercise is one in self-care. Given our current circumstances, we all need to take time and tend to our mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical needs.
So here I am, giving myself somewhere between thirty minutes to an hour every day to write and I guess for y’all to do what you’ve done for almost eight years: Read it Because I Wrote It.
If you’d like to follow along, here is the My Summer Rewind Playlist I will write to: