Facing the Impossible Task
Well, here it is: the first newsletter. Let’s see how this goes…
After an eight-year hiatus, I recently climbed back into the saddle at a local stable. My first lesson went well, but I could see much had changed since I’d been an active rider. During my second lesson, my new instructor, Anne, called out encouragement from the center as I guided the large thoroughbred, Raffie, towards the trot poles in my wobbly two-point (or jumping seat, for those unfamiliar with riding terms). I felt myself holding him back, too afraid to give him more rein—shutting us both down before we could pick up momentum.
“Your body knows what to do! Your body remembers! Trust yourself!”
Trust had been a challenge even back when I was actively riding. How could I overcome that now? Maybe it’s permanent.
Raffie began to slow under me, giving in to my trepidation. If I wanted to go slow, he would go slow, but we would accomplish very little in the session. If I was going to do this, the time for it was now.
I let go of the breath I was holding, relaxed my fingers, and let the reins out a bit. I clucked Raffie forward (Oh, God, please don’t bolt, Raffie…). Under me, I felt him step forward into a strong, bouncing cadence as we floated over the first set of poles and then the second. My wobbly two-point re-balanced and smoothed, and my weight sank into my heels, anchoring me. Safe. Anne shouted praise as we returned to a walk and began our cool down.
The Impossible Task was coined by M. Molly Backes and refers to any task—no matter how big or small—that you just can’t seem to push yourself to do. Whether it’s fear, anxiety, or something else holding you back, the Impossible Task can truly seem just that: impossible.
Those following me on Instagram know that sending this first newsletter has been another one of my Impossible Tasks. Why would someone want to get my newsletter in their email? What do I have to say that is so important to bother with? How do I even send them?
Time to let go of the breath I’m holding…
So, here it is—my first newsletter. My writerly version of releasing more rein. It’s a little bumpy. Hopefully, my seat will settle, and it will be smooth sailing. Future newsletters will have a bit of a mish-mash—some life-advice like this one, writerly guidance, or gossip about literary figures (it’s what I do…). Unsubscribe anytime or come find me over on Instagram. I post pics of lovely ponies, landscapes, books, and random other tidbits. Rarely do I post selfies; I hate selfies.
Struggling with your own Impossible Task? Here are some ways to address it:
1. Break the task down into smaller steps or task
2. Identify a tangible reward after completing (besides just finally getting it done!)
3. Pair it with something more pleasant. Relaxing music while reading that tough school assignment, using an audio version of a reading and going for a nice walk while listening, etc.
4. Find another way to accomplish the task. You might pay for a service to help (cleaning, grocery delivery, handyman, etc.) or trade the task with someone for whom you could do something else.
5. Ask for support. For example, asking people to subscribe to your newsletter to help you get over your Impossible Task—if your Impossible Task was starting a newsletter. Give others the chance to help you. You might just be surprised who shows up.
6. Seek additional support in the form of a good doctor and/or therapist. A few of the above items feel obvious to me; you think I haven’t tried rewarding myself? Yeah, right. I have a minor addiction to salted caramel and cherry Twizzlers from all the “rewards”. This can be deeper than that, but a good doc is going to listen and help find the best treatment for you. (Thanks, Dr. Christina!)
7. And try to remember: Treat yourself the way you would treat a close friend going through the same thing. You would never berate a friend for this; why do that to yourself? Be kinder to you.
Exciting Upcoming Events
July 7, 2021: 6:00 p.m. Author Talk and Signing at Port City Pub, Portsmouth, Ohio (My first time back home in over 2 years!). Come keep me company so I don’t feel like an ass. 🙂
July 10, 2021: 2:00 p.m. Author Talk and Signing at Fort Defiance, Clarksville, Tennessee (And my first time back to my other home in 5 years!)
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