Conviction. I’ve been thinking about this word a lot lately. I don’t know about you, and perhaps it is another occupational hazard, but I get a little obsessed with words. I go through little word-phases, I guess you could call them, when a word gets stuck in my brain and I find myself repeating it over and over in my head, saying it out loud to taste the sound of it, muttering it uselessly to myself in the shower. I guess Conviction is a stick-in-your-head kind of word given its meaning which the good old Merriem-Webster describes it as:
con·vic·tion noun \kən-ˈvik-shən\
a strong persuasion or belief
the state of being convinced
Conviction. A solid sounding word, full of satisfying consonants and firm ending. To say conviction is relatively easy. To have conviction…not always so trouble free.
This past week has been my first with childcare all sorted out. That’s three days a week, in case you were wondering, for pure undiluted writing time. I know what you’re thinking (lucky b*$gger!) and yes, it is amazing (adj. meaning startingly impressive). I get so excited about having so much actual, dedicated writing time that I pack my bag and lay out my clothes the night before like a kid preparing for Christmas / sleepover / birthday party. I tidy and write notes and get things orderly. I actually – this is a little embarassing – sometimes have trouble sleeping. Someone in love with their job, much? Conviction!
Morning rolls around. B1 is regularly sleeping in our bed and B2 sleeps irregularly and chaoticly (adj. meaning completely unordered and unpredictable and confusing), so I can’t say I jump out of bed, but let’s just say I am pretty pumped in a groggy, leaden legs kind of way. This is my writing time! Conviction!
Then, childcare. I have great childcare. I have a part-time nanny who is the bees-freakin’-knees and brings stickers and plastic animals and sparkly handbags for the girls to play with. I have a brief moment getting distracted by the awesome purple plastic octopus she has brought with her and then remember I have the best job in the world and pick up my bags. This is when Conviction fails me. B2 clings to my legs like I am the last life-raft on the Titanic, B1 sucks her thumb, her wide eyes full of tears. Conviction makes his exit. It gets worse. B2 starts screaming, B1 is sobbing with wet trails of tears sliding off her chin. I have to prize B2 from me as if she were that purple octopus and I were her favourite rock. C’mon Conviction, where’d you go? The noise intensifies. I give falsely cheerful goodbyes and blow kisses, promising to be back soon, whilst quickly shutting doors, desperate wailing following me. Oh, Conviction. You vanishing bastard.
I know I am not the only parent to struggle with Conviction. I know I am in very good company in that regard. I’m very, very lucky to have two days (+weekends) with my kids as well as three days without them and have a wonderful nanny and have the best job in the whole universe. If my Conviction falters then I can only imagine the Conviction-evaporating-heartache that others go through. And Conviction is definitely not a parents-only dilemma. Conviction seriously fails me when I get a bad review or when my publisher dislikes a large element of my work. Or when I’m just plain tired. Sometimes it’s when my inner voice gives me a bad rap – “Did you just write that?! Ho ho! You totally suck!”. Worst of all, Conviction fails me when I do that dreadful thing I shouldn’t do – compare my life to someone’s else’s. I notice someone happier, thinner and better in some way and suddenly wonder if I have the formula utterly all wrong.
I’d like to propose a remedy at this point, some sage but simple advice that cures all conviction-disappearance from now till the end of time. For the moments when your baby girl is suctioned on to you like an emotional limpet or when you’ve been told it’s not quite good enough. The times when you feel a little like a discarded plastic bag – that you’re talentless or uninteresting or sort of “in the way”. Something buoying for when you glance over at someone else’s lot and tell yourself they’ve got it sorted while your life is a disorderly mess. I’d like to make it all better. Come back Conviction, I’m sorry I called you a bastard.
But I’m afraid I don’t have anything in my bag of tricks. I’m still figuring it out. In fact, I am hoping you might have tips for me. Something that has worked for you when the going got tough and Conviction got going. Something that filled you with strength. What was it? What worked? What didn’t work? I hereby open a Conviction Discussion Forum and request your answers to the age-old dilemma – How to remain Convinced?
Guidance or recommendations concerning prudent future action, typically given by someone regarded as knowledgeable or authoritative.
HUGS, Hannah x