Lately it’s all hot chocolate and long walks. Therapy appointments at 8:30 AM and enthusiastic customers right before close. I smoke cigarettes outside of Andrew’s apartment and hope that someone will come out or go in. Phone left at home and so I start debating throwing rocks at the window.
An exercise in writing a blog post every day turns into a exercise in looking for things to say. And I often find myself scraping what feels like the bottom of the bucket. Sludge. This is sludge.
This weekend I will go to the baby shower of my best friend. Then head south to meet my nephew for the first time. Surrounded by new signs of life even as winter approaches. The days are dark earlier, but I haven’t seemed to notice. We keep our heads down and keep on going.
November is National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo). I’ve never participated. Mostly because the weight of the autumn is enough to try to trudge through without the added pressures of writing. But during my recent stay in the psych ward I was asked the question, “When did you feel most balanced?” And I didn’t even have to think about it.
That’s when I was participating in National Novel Writing Month. That’s when I was getting up at the same time every day and immediately going for a run. I was regimented, I was in control. I felt centered, balanced, whole.
I’m not a long-form writer, so writing a book in a month was rather ridiculous for me. I’d never done it before and haven’t done it since. But blog posts, that’s a thing I can get behind. So join me for the month of November, when I’ll be posting new material every day.
I haven’t written much of anything this month. Haven’t gone to the gym a whole lot. I’ve been sick for the last week, yes. But it was a problem before that. It’s not motivation or self-discipline. Well, it might be a lot of that. But there’s something else in there. Something sitting beneath the surface that has more to do with my brain than anything. With running over the same damn things over and over and over again. With getting all caught up in all sorts of catastrophes that haven’t happened and probably never will. It’s the closing in, the shutting down. That’s what gets me. That’s what battling February was supposed to be all about.
I don’t know where it went. What happened to it. The month. All the plans that I had to make it through it. All that shit. It slips through your fingers like one of those frogs we caught as kids. Constantly leaping away from you and there isn’t anything you can do about it.
No. I don’t think that’s true. Not really. I don’t think true helplessness exists. Not in the way I’m trying to make it. There is always an ability. A promise I can cling to. There is always a way to get the things I want to get done done. There is just that part of me that is terrified of it, isn’t there?
That doesn’t know what to do with success. With getting clean. With relationships that last. People that stay. There is that part of me that doesn’t know how to believe that what they’re all saying is true. It’s not even just a part by this point, is it? That’s the default state. On edge and wrapped in disbelief. Untrusting and apprehensive. Positive that this is all just daydreaming and planning. That none of this is going to last and none of it is worth anything anyway.
And I start to wonder if the reason I don’t see any success in these ventures is because I’m always doing it for someone else. Not even really for them. Doing it for the memory of them. So that if I run into a person from my past I will look like someone they never knew. Is that really the driving force behind most of my ambition?
So I can say this version of myself didn’t do the things the old versions did. That this version is clean and fit and well-dressed and has gorgeous flowing hair you can stick your hands into. That this version is the better version. The version you don’t get to be a part of. The version that’s not for you.
I’m trying to balance that with the idea that I’m proud of where I came from and I’m not ashamed of who I am. That I made poor choices, but that they made sense for the life I was living in. I say I don’t have any regrets and at the same time I say I want to do it completely different.
And these things are not meshing well for me. This thought process does not get me to the place I want to be. Another one of those things that pulls strings behind the curtains and forces me into positions I’d rather not be. This is not the type of life I want to be living. The one that is always suffering from some past heartbreak. That’s not the type of shit I want to deal with anymore. Constantly living in shadow. Explain to me how that is any fucking fun at all. How you can ever feel like you’re actually improving.
The mileposts are always moving. You’re not going to realize one day that you’re no longer hurting from the things that you did, from the things that happened to you. Accomplishing things now is not going to undo any of it. You’re trying to put back together a broken plate with glue that doesn’t adhere. This is an impossible task. A waste of time. This is not how you move forward.
It’s interesting, though, isn’t it? That you could do the same things, but change the reasoning and it will change everything. They say that, don’t they? That it doesn’t matter so much what you do, but why you’re doing it. And I’m sure there is something to that. And something that helps explains how if the reasons aren’t right then you’re going to have a really rough time.
My motivations are all wrong.
No. Not wrong. Just not conducive to progress. Not the kind that I want. I’m trying to build something gold out of rebar. No matter how good it turns out to be, it’s not going to be the thing I’m trying for.