|Cursed runner weeds.|
- a post by Jeanna Mason Stay
Today I was out pulling weeds in a tiny patch of my yard. They were the kind of weeds that send out runners that then put down more roots and just keep on going. I had let them go far too long and they were huge and well-established. To tug them up, I had to yank and yank and yank all along their lengths until the whole system came up. I thought to myself, I hate these weeds. I wish they didn’t exist. There is absolutely no purpose to them.
And then, immediately, I began to wonder—what if there is a purpose to them?
For me, the answer came swiftly. They were there for the struggle. That twenty or thirty minutes of hard work pulling up weeds, with my fingers in the dirt, making my little patch of garden lovely again—that time was hard, but in the end, I loved the sense of accomplishment. I loved the progress. I loved that I had done something hard.
I was recently asked to do something that is going to be incredibly hard for me. Quite frankly, my first reaction was I don’t want to do this. I wish it didn’t exist. I can’t do it. I’m still struggling with it, though I absolutely know it’s the right thing to do. But just like pulling weeds, it’s going to be hard. But I think the struggle is part of the point. If we never struggle, we never know what we’re capable of. We never get the powerful feeling that comes of getting through something that is difficult.
A friend recently told me it had been forever since she last wrote, but she wanted to start—and she was scared. She is a confident, awesome person, and she has tried and is good at so many things. But she’s afraid that in this she will fail. So to her I ask, what can you learn about yourself if you try? What if it’s not about “success” (and who defines “success” anyway)? What if it’s about discovering new possibilities? What if it’s about the struggle?
Last month I gave this suggestion: Write something you’re not good enough to write yet. That is something that I’ve really needed to remember lately as I’ve struggled with a story that is almost working but just not quite. I’m just not good enough to write it yet, but I’m still trying.
But I pulled up the weeds, and their purpose was the struggle. I will do the hard thing, and I will grow in that struggle. I will finish the story and I will submit it to the places I’m writing it for, and they will probably reject it, but I will get better at writing, and my next story will be better because I tried.
Because of the struggle.