Desert Queen

I haven't posted on Instagram in a while.

I am in a desert season and it feels like sameness stretches around me as far as the eye can see. Dust—literally, as I look at my fanblades—I am trudging along in it, barely leaving my apartment, up to my eyelashes in this wilderness. And I feel like I have nothing interesting to say—on Instagram or anywhere, really. I am boring. I'm not a drama queen. I am a desert queen with no new vistas or views. Do I really share one more photo of swirly incense? Or my mug of coffee? Or my mess of hair with home-mixed color splattered on? Or the dishes piled in my sink? Because this is my real life. This is what it looks like.

This morning I wanted to delete everything. Again. This feeling comes along every couple of months or so. I think of everyone I'm inspired by and I stare into blank screens and have nothing to say. How do some women do it? Create something new or inspiring or fresh every day? How dare I think I can make a living through words when I can barely cough words out of me?

Even writing these sentences, I feel the weight of fear: now I sound like I'm whining. It's haaaard. Wah. I have nothing interesting to say. Wahhh.

Maybe I should go back to a “real” job—my default of traditional employment. Maybe I'm wasting my time as an “artist.” Maybe I'm fooling myself thinking I have something to offer, something meaningful, something that can make a difference for others and nourish my life at the same time.

I realize that I don't know how to live lush.

I am lush and I love lushness, but living lush—I was built for the desert. To survive. I know how to endure hardship. I know how to trudge along, day after day. I know how to eat rice and beans. I know how to get by with little to nothing. I may not always like it, but it is programmed into my bones: scarcity. Not-enoughness. Not enough money, not enough words, not enough beauty, not enough depth, not enough water in this wilderness. Not enough love.

I make do. I get by. I survive. Enoughness scares me. Is it the responsibility of it? The sheer unknown of it? The fear of failing at it? Can you fail at enoughness? Will I become too-attached? In my starvation will I grasp, clutch, hold-too-tight, become addicted?

Or am I already an addict? A desert junkie? Rigidly self-controlled, policed by scarcity? Scarcity, hardship, survival, little-to-nothing ... it's what I know. It's what the little girl within knows so well. She is addicted to love. She is prone to codependent behaviors. I keep her in line by getting by. I keep her so busy surviving that she has no energy or time to get tangly with all the wrong lovers. I weigh her down so she hates lugging her body up four flights of stairs everyday and stays in her home, safe. I make sure she can barely breathe—just enough to get by—so she doesn't run off and wreak havoc. I make sure she's helpful.

I am a good helper. I was thinking about this last night. Tears scorched my eyelids. I asked myself, what am I good at? Really. Where is my niche? What is my “thing?” And I knew. I've always known. When I was young, someone I loved would call me “happy helping Hillary.” And last night I thought, that's it. That's all. I am good at helping. And guilt swooped in as I thought, but I am tired of helping.

It feels terrible to say that.
But I'm in my desert and I'm tired.

I want to find my niche, devote to something, be good at something that deeply enriches my life. I want lush living. I am tired of surviving, of making do with the bare bones of everything. I want enough and more than enough. Does this make me greedy and discontent and materialistic? Does wanting a little more breathing room for my finances, my body, my creativity, my passions make me a superficial woman? I want to do meaningful work. Right now, I flutter. I flutter from design to oils to writing to courses, from experiment to experiment. Maybe it is my blessed curiosity. Maybe it is my deep hunger + searching. Maybe I've become so free that I'm no longer rooted. Maybe I don't know what I want at all.


*This is an excerpt from my free 7-day journaling course, Into the Wildwhere you'll find a series of evocative truths and deep soul inquiries for finding your way back to life.


Hillary Rain