Ever been stuck? I’ve never thought of myself as claustrophobic, but a fair number of my less-than-pleasant memories have to do with being stuck.
Stuck in a dress, unable to get it over my head… (I still hate when that happens).
Stuck in the mud/snow/ditch while four-wheeling.
Stuck at the airport unable to get a flight home.
Stuck at the top of a tree, unable to let go and ride the zip line to the ground.
Stuck in a sailboat in the middle of a storm on a lake too cold to swim in.
Stuck – belly-up and nine months pregnant – in a waterbed … you get the idea.
And then there are the concepts of being emotionally, mentally, spiritually, or physically stuck in some undesirable condition, like depression, anxiety, failure, unforgiveness, condemnation, financial lack, physical weakness, strife, etc. Stuck sucks.
The first house my husband and I lived in after we married had mice. I’d had mice as pets when I was little, so snapping their little heads off in traditional traps upset me, as did poisoning them. (Somehow the poisoned ones always managed to perform their death scenes out in the open for my viewing horror.) We were being overrun by mice. And then I stumbled upon a glue trap. Now, I’d had no experience with glue traps, so I imagined a cute little field mouse with its four pink feet neatly attached to a piece of plastic about as sticky as a roll of duct tape. I assumed all it would take to free the mouse was a quick flick of my wrist.
I was wrong. Oh, so wrong. The mouse I found in the morning was pinned from whiskers to tail, squirming and writhing in terror. (Kind of how I look when I get stuck in my sweater.) This was no glue trap. This was mouse quicksand. There would be no gently prying the mouse off the trap. Traumatized, I racked my memory banks from chemistry class for a substance that would dissolve glue. (Do you remember those days before the Internet, when we had to rely on our own brains for information?)
I put on rubber gloves and tried soap and water first. Now I had a wet, clean mouse stuck to the trap. I tried a little nail polish remover. No luck. And it seemed too toxic to pour over the critter. My gaze fell on a bottle of rubbing alcohol in the cupboard. Behold! Rubbing alcohol dissolved the glue, sort of. After an hour of drizzling rubbing alcohol on Mouse and tugging as gently as I could manage, she was freed. Wet, bedraggled, bruised, exhausted, and obviously intoxicated, but free. I took her out to the field, where she wobbled away on unsteady legs and took refuge under some sagebrush. Good thing she wasn’t driving.
What did I learn from the mouse and the glue trap? Getting unstuck takes effort. Lots of effort. Sometimes it takes outside assistance. You will probably look and feel worse for wear immediately afterward, but you’ll be free. And freedom is worth it.
Having said all that, I’ve implemented my own “getting unstuck” plan. Yesterday, I moved my desk and office supplies out of the kitchen where they’ve resided for the last 10 years, and into the living room. It’s a change of scenery, change of location and change of perspective. It’s also many more steps to the pantry and the refrigerator! Then, this morning, I updated my author profile at NaNoWriMo.org.(cue applause, please)
If you’re a writer-type, writing tends to be a kind of therapy. Whether you journal or blog or write fiction, a round of writing can be equivalent to a good, hard run for the athlete, or an hour of counseling in a psychologist’s office. For myself, I’m looking at the NaNo challenge as 30 days of intensive therapy. Like a long spa visit. Or writing rehab. Whether I end up with something that can be polished into a manuscript of literary value is of less importance than getting myself unstuck, I’ve decided.
Step one. Check.
Step two. Check.
Step three … decide what to write. I’ll get back to you on that.
How about you? Do you have a plan for getting unstuck?
What’s ONE thing you could do to start the process?