Day 2 of starting over. Doing the work, or trying at least. I’m not sure what constitutes work.
My routine in my recent unemployment, I’ve decided, is this: wake up (at a reasonable time, and don’t press ‘stop’ instead of ‘snooze’ and fall asleep for 2 more hours like I did today) and get the coffee going. Make breakfast. Pour coffee. Prepare the table with notebook, coffee, breakfast, computer, pen. First, eat the food. Then, time 10 minutes on the timer app and freewrite longhand in my journal. Try to ignore the cat taking this opportunity to do all the things she knows she’s not allowed to do. Only intervene once she’s in the sink licking all the dirty dishes or digging up the soil from the potted plant. Return to notebook. Finish 10 minutes, and if needed due to feline interference, tack on another minute or so to make up for lost time.
Drink coffee throughout all of this.
Then, open laptop. Do not be drawn in by Facebook or news. Go straight to WordPress. Make a post. Start writing. Write for 750 words. Afterwards, you’re finished for the morning.
This seems easy enough, right? I can do this. 2 forms of writing, but both in manageable doses. I’m not writing for anyone here, I don’t advertise my blog, and the few times I have it hasn’t been as anything other than a place to figure out my writing by getting it out of my own head and onto a technically public but probably unfrequented public place.
It seems easy enough, but I can’t even tell you how strong the resistance is coming from my own self. I have every permission to write. I have waited for this permission for so long, questioned, antagonized over whether I have the ‘right’ to write or whether my stories are worth writing. I’m still unsure about the latter, but I know that everyone has the right to write. I can do that. I can sit in this blog and in my notebook and make ripples with my hands and gaze at my own reflection and sigh and maybe wish for a prince or for a bird to come and do my hair and tell me my writing is the best writing and never to worry ever again and also your depression is gone now. Thanks, bird.
But the people giving me permission to write are the writers I know. I would have thought, a year ago, that that would be plenty. That was all that was needed and I could take off, launching forth with all the coiled up energy that I’ve kept inside me refusing to let it out, refusing to write it out. I thought it would explode out of me once someone said the magic words. It’s the same thing that used to happen with procrastination when I was in school, and later with leaving relationships that were toxic. I would wait, and wait, and wait, and feel the pressure building up and the information and ideas and realizations swirling and changing into something close to whole until it became so unbearable or the deadline became so inescapable that I would release it, fully gestated, onto the page or onto my own life. This pattern is addictive, I know, because to say I didn’t get high from the sudden 180 in my life, the sudden reformulating of my persona and my beliefs and my being, or the beautiful explosion of words onto the page and ideas so full and juicy they couldn’t hang on any longer, would be a lie. But what happens when you rely on this pattern for too long? I think I’m proof.
Alchemy becomes obsession, becomes repression, becomes reabsorption. Thinking that my ideas would make an exit of their own is like thinking that fruit won’t rot after going unpicked too long. All things have a cycle, and holding on too long creates toxicity, or a decomposition that once again becomes a part of where it came from. We know this. I should have known this. I live in a city where I’m pretty sure it’s illegal not to compost. I sort of know how it works in a ecological sense, and now I know how it works in a psychological, emotional, and spiritual sense. I could even throw ‘physical’ in there too, because I don’t think the heavy feeling in my body, the aches and pains are a coincidence when I used to believe that writing was the only thing saving my life.
Writing used to save me. Now I feel like a shell of me. I haven’t been writing. Do we really want to go ahead and assume this is the connection? I don’t want to be dramatic but I don’t think I know who I am when I’m not writing. I think I become all the shit that I don’t put out, that I don’t shed or get rid of like heavy fruit or dead hair.