The only way to eventually free ourselves from debilitating pain [or insert substitute emotion here], therefore, is to be with it as it is. The only way out is through. — Kristin Neff
I'm in the thick of it, deep in story, for the final copy edits of my novel.
Writing has been my compass since I was a kid but still, and maybe especially so now, I often feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. I suspect this is a fundamental part of being a writer (and human). I've begun to understand from showing up at my desk over the last couple of years, on days I've wanted to and days I would've preferred to volunteer for a pap smear instead, that feeling afraid in this context is just a feeling. Along with its often destructive friends: resistance, anxiety, self-criticism, and always, fear. Feelings stop us only if we let them. What a glorious thing that we can feel, but also learn to take our own hands, bring ourselves flowers, and remind ourselves we're not *just* any one single feeling. We're full of contrasts. It's a marvel, really, to be both drought, and water to bloom.
Note to self: contrast makes magic in the mess possible.
Here's to being with it as it is. And to being brave, when we're in the middle of the dark woods and remember the only way is through. Step by step by step.
HOLLY RINGLAND grew up barefoot and wild in her mother's tropical garden on the east coast of Australia. Her interest in cultures and stories was sparked by a two-year journey her family took in North America when she was nine years old, living in a camper van and travelling from one national park to another. In her twenties, Holly worked for four years in a remote Indigenous community in the central Australian desert. Moving to England in 2009, Holly obtained her MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester. Her essays and short fiction have been published in various anthologies and literary journals. She now lives between the UK and Australia. To any question ever asked of Holly about growing up, writing has always been the answer.