Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Breath Holding

I am going to write one thing a day every day for this week. I thought of it this morning, making coffee, my own voice from the night before settling in my head. “I hate everything,” I said. Not just like that – there was more to it. But it’s the same complaint I’ve had from time to time throughout my entire life. I get itchy, bored, and begin to feel like I want to crawl out of my skin. It happens when every day is too much the same as the other days. Every week follows the same trajectory. My brain begins to feel like a jumbled mess of expectations and time schedules, and I start thinking, “Burn it to the ground!” over and over. I’ve learned not to burn things so easily, but I still haven’t learned how to be okay with that.

I weight pros and cons, exerting all of my energy reminding myself why I don’t want to fuck it up. “It will be different tomorrow,” I tell myself, because that’s what I’ve been taught to tell myself at times like these. Sometimes it’s not actually any different until next month, but it keeps me from disappearing for another day.

Most people say they hate change, and it drives me nuts. I love change. I love it too much. I used to only sign six month leases and move every time those leases ran out, even if it was just a few blocks away. I used to practically live in my car and feel confused when I saw cars in driveways at night.

I’m already getting distracted by Facebook.

Last night, I lied in bed with my husband and told him that I hate having to be places at certain times. Why can’t I just do things when I have the energy for them? Why can’t I just do them when I want to? Hearing myself repeat it, I know it sounds childish – or is it childlike? – but I have to wonder why that’s so bad? People talk a lot about the value of maturity, but certain supposed mature traits feel a lot like preparation for death to me. I know I have to die at some point, but I don’t think it’s an act that requires practice.

He says there's value in working hard for something, committing oneself to a goal and achieving it. He asks me if I don't agree; everyone agrees. I'm not sure. I think I want to agree, but I'm not sure. I'm always looking for a third way. 

I’m forcing myself to write all of this down because I used to be very prolific. I used to write all the time. And then I began to feel like I was repeating myself. All writers do. You have certain ways of seeing, and those ways of seeing will come out in your writing. But I started to fear that I was being too self-indulgent, assuming everyone gave a shit. So I just stopped. My stopping was punctuated with false starts; I’d start writing, and a few paragraphs in I’d collapse in a slump, completely over it. You do that a few times, and then you figure out a solution. You stop starting. Problem solved.

But it seems like every problem solved is also a problem created. When I go too long without writing – even if I’m painting and making music and taking classes in artistic bookmaking – I begin to want to die. You can’t keep overly dramatic thoughts in your head too long. They turn murderous.

So lucky you! I’m hopeful you’ll be treated to better than this in the coming days, but what is it they always say? Don’t hold your breath?

It’s just generally better to breathe.