My reality is crumbling around me, and all I have that is true is my son. I clutch onto him as our previous life disintegrates into the fiery ashes of the betrayal that brought us to this point. Legend says that the phoenix rises will rise from his ashes, and so then I must also rise. I rise into a life I do not want, but the one I have ever known that only survives in the ashes around me was only an illusion. It is an illusion built upon hopes and dreams, but fed with lies, deceit, and bitterness. It was not supposed to be this way. I put my life’s blood, sweat, and tears in its maintenance, but the fates are ungrateful bitches to my sacrifices. Nothing that I had intended or set forth in this life has been actualized despite by my crippled, yet best effort, to make my dreams come true. The only and most precious of these efforts is my son, and I will not fail him. I will not allow him to feel the abandonment and lack of love I have experienced in life. That is why I must be reborn into this new life though it be kicking and screaming, and not let the pain devour me.
Sure, I hate change, but I do I do understand that it is necessary for progress. I do not know what will come from this change, but despite its terrible beginning, I only hope for positive results in whatever form they reveal themselves to be. I cannot be hopeful of anything lest my heart be broken again, but I must unlock it again though this time in a different way. I do not know yet that difference, or even what that difference means or what it will be. I want to let go of all the shit, and feel, really feel, the minutes of happiness I allow myself to experience, and maybe they will multiply. Therefore, I shake off these damn ashes, and somehow, after all these years show the world all the beauty I have to offer because any real happiness, for me or for G, is dependent upon it.
Part of my recovery has been going to a yoga class two times per week, and on some days I get there a little early so that I can walk the track. The track is wrapped around a tennis court. In the numerous times I have used the track, I have never seen the track in use until last Monday. The tennis coach was helping a high school aged male student, and I couldn’t help but to overhear their training. I would say that it was a pretty typical lesson. Never being one much for sports, I have no personal experience, but the coach was saying obvious things like, “Watch your feet!” and “Try again.” It was in his more intricate advice (where my ignorance of tennis lingo shows) that I noticed a concerted effort by the student to improve. Admittedly, I was watching. Not in a creepy way mind you, I was just quietly interested in the process, and it was way more entertaining than counting the joggers that whizzed by me. It occurred to me that after time and with practice, this young athlete’s body would absorb the coach’s direction, and while at first it would take effort. I could almost hear him thinking as his face twisted in concentration while making his feet and arms cooperate in motion. Soon, these motions would become second nature and require no thought. His muscle memory would take over and he could move on to learning new skills to layer on top of what his mind and body had already accomplished. But just as painstakingly these skills are accomplished, without care and continued practice they are easily forgotten. The body and mind become lazy if they are not exercised regularly. This is as valid for our creative mind as it is for our athletic body. It has been too long that I have let both my mind and body go, and they both are simultaneously screaming at me to “Be active! NO! Wait, sit on the couch! No! Do 400 hours of yoga! No! Couch again!” and “You haven’t written in you blog in almost two weeks! What is wrong with you? But, school sucks! There’s no time to write!” Like the athlete, I have to be in constant motion towards life.
This is something my granny would always tell me. “Pretty is as Pretty does.” I think about this phrase often, not by way of the vanity it implies, but by something much deeper. Beauty fades, both internally and externally, if it is not fostered, taken care of properly. This has more to do with our hearts than with our bodies. Ugliness on the inside radiates outwardly, and things are looking very ugly right now. My heart is shattered, not only by the incidents of my own life, but it is also pained by images of other world suffering. My personal pain pales in comparison to that of 99.9% of the world, and I am constantly humbled by my blessings. But, what do I do to aid those in need. Nothing. This pretty does nothing. And that is a problem.
How do I get out of this damned state of apathy? I guess it will just have to be the same way I am attempting to get out of this creative block. By simply doing something, or saying something real. My mind is so warped by anxiety that most of the time I feel hardly functional, but maybe if I focus on the outside it will affect the inside. My heart is not hardened, in fact, it is quite the opposite, but the walls I have build around it are seemingly impenetrable. How do I free myself from the masochistic bonds of my own cynicism? I feel the joy bubbling underneath the black surface of my psyche, but I do not let it out because it is so innocent to this world. I feel it all, but really, I feel nothing because feeling hurts too much. I turn away from other’s pain to nurse the seemingly insignificant, by comparison, pains of my own heart, and to avoid real emotions because I fear cannot handle them. If I am to embrace beauty, I must first wade through the pain.
I just finished a revision on a paper for school, and I feel okay about the changes I made. I have to add here that I hate revision. What chances do I have of ever becoming a writing instructor with that sentence out there? Well, its true. I have such high expectations of myself that I do not make allowances to not get it right on the first attempt. No second chances for me. Margaret Atwood says, “If I waited for perfection I would never write a word.” Yeah. I wait for perfection, and it never comes hence the crippling creative block I’ve been suffering from these last few years. I do not tolerate anything less than perfection, until now. In this blog, this public forum of all places, I am finally free to just write without expectation of doing anything but getting words out. Unfortunately, This attitude has not yet influenced my academic life as I still do not draft as I should. I pore over my computer screen for hours with the blinking cursor taunting me at the top of the empty screen. The problem here is that I simply feel that I have no time for drafting, and that I have to produce that “A” paper on my first attempt, and for awhile that technique served me well. But, that was back when I was not as backward creatively as I am now. Essays are a struggle, and the essay I just had to revise is proof of that fact. It was really bad. Which brings me to the next reason why I hate revision: I am too embarrassed to go back and read what I have previously written. I write and never look back unless I absolutely have to do so. I am terrified to discover just how awful my writing is; therefore if I never read it, I never have to know and just let someone else determine its value for me. I have no confidence in my abilities. None. I could make all the As in the world, an receive glowing reviews and compliments, but I’m not sure that I could ever believe that I am good at anything (much less the thing I want to be good at the most: writing). I am beginning to see that to get out of the mess I am in that I just have to jump. I just have to believe that my writing has value, that I have value. So, I just have to keep on trying, I guess, and maybe one day I will believe. My lesson here is that, okay, revision isn’t my enemy (this is a lesson I have to keep relearning), and I have to give myself permission to write badly to be able to write at all.
Depression is probably, most likely, definitely is the primary source of my creative block. Every once in a while, the words do flow. I try to jot them down. I don’t always thinking that I will remember. Yeah, right. This is something I scribbled onto the back of some scratch paper at work a few months ago:
When I feel a crack begin to split the carefully constructed shell surrounding my core, my highly trained mind reseals itself with the same anxious nonsense, or worse. But, I must break through if I am to survive.
From that crumpled piece of pink paper, I gain hope. Though its message is bleak, at least I got the words out. Just getting it out there is sometimes good enough to feel a release. Little successes matter. Now, the underlying issue here is the evil depression bubble that tries to suck the life and love out of everyone. But, it is something that some, most I dare say, deal with at some point in life. While writing is cathartic for me, it may not be for everyone (though certainly anyone who is willing to put forth the effort can learn its benefits).
Creativity is not valued properly in modern life, I feel, and maybe that is why depression is so prevalent. People are so lost in making a living, be it meager or substantial, that we deny ourselves this innate piece of our beings. We are taught to suppress it because nurturing it could never possibly lead to a worthwhile career, monetarily speaking. But, what good is a life without real joy in doing what we love rather than what we have to do to get by? Why have we been fooled into believing that material goods are a means to happiness? And money is the only thing worth making. Sure, I like getting my pay check, and I indulge in some retail therapy, as they say. The high is a good one. There is something about pushing around a big, red Target cart and filling it to it’s brim, and immense pleasure in coming home after a shopping trip, plopping down those shopping bags and devouring them like a child on Christmas morning. But, it doesn’t last. Happiness cannot be found if it is not found first within yourself. Depression will be there waiting to steal it from you, but as for me, I am tired of letting it win.
This is my space. I’m not sure that I even really have anything important to say in the grand scheme of things, but I do know that it is important for me to have this place to void my mind of the mess that is trapped within its web of sparking connections. And, believe me, they are always sparking, never letting me rest. I am allowing myself to write out of my mind, no matter what that means at the time I sit down to do it. I may make no sense at all or be completely crazy, but for once in my life, I am not going to care. The whole world may view it, which should terrify me back into the depths of repression where I have been living most of my years, but I cannot live this way any more. I have to open myself in order for the creativity to flow, if it will. This is all just a test. I don’t know if I can unravel it all into coherence, but it all begins here.
I have attempted with the help of so many books to dig myself out of this crippling writer’s block. Morning pages, morning pages. Morning. Pages. I just cannot do them. This is my version. My very public version. Though my little page is very unlikely to draw any kind of viewership in the vast space that is the Internet, the simple fact that it is up for all those who would seek it, or stumble upon it, pushes me out of my comfort zone. This is what I need. I can slip very comfortably into the habit of morning, noon, or night pages and be just as lost as I was before. I am not saying that the practice of morning pages is not a good one, and I am sure many have found there way out of the darkness of creative block using that technique. But, drastic measures are called for in my case. And so, I will write something, anything, to get out of my mind and back to the place it needs to be to be free.