Trivial Musing, Extra Trivial

I want to write about last night’s storms. Not the storms, exactly, but my reaction to them—to the threat of them. But I’m struggling. I’ve tried prose and poem, but nothing’s working.

It’s been hot here for two days. In the nineties, which is unusual for May. We’re months away from putting the air-conditioners in, so we’ve been sweating buckets and using window fans to cool the house down as much as possible. Last night, a front came through that finally cooled things down a bit, and with it came thunder storms.

The weather advisories had been pinging my phone all afternoon. When they finally switched to warnings around ten, I rushed around closing all the windows. I was expecting wind-driven rain, so it made sense to close up the house—except that it was sweltering in here, and the storm wasn’t that close yet, and there was a gust line preceding the front that could have pushed all the stale, hot air right out. But I closed the windows.

I watched the lightening show for an hour, standing at a west-facing window, drenched in sweat. No thunder, no rain, just lightening in the distance. Crazy lightening. Huge bolts and bright flashes. And lots of wind. Cooling wind, out there on the other side of my closed windows.

Why didn’t I open them up and catch the air? It’s what I wanted to do, but I talked myself out of it. What if the storm suddenly hit us? I wouldn’t be prepared. Things might get wet.

I stood there for an hour. An hour! All that cool air could have been blowing right through the house. But I didn’t let it. And it’s not because I was afraid of the storm. I love thunder storms! It was something else—a fear of not being prepared? not doing what I was supposed to do? or expected to do? not being able to act quickly enough when I would need to?

Is that really what I was thinking? I don’t know. I wasn’t thinking. I was sweating. And some ancient conditioning took over from childhood.

There’s a metaphor for my life hidden here somewhere. I can’t quite tease it out yet. Maybe the bref double isn’t the right container for it.

Checking In? Or Checking Out?

I’ve spent the weekend wondering whether Friday’s post was my last. I’m running on fumes, tired of myself, with nothing left to say. No matter how many times I ask myself why keep writing, I can’t come up with a good answer.

When do I admit this isn’t just a slump? When do I accept this isn’t who I am?

Or if it is who I am, and I hate who I am, how do I reconcile the two?

And if I stop, who am I then? What does that say about me?

I have three choices: 1. keep writing and posting; 2. keep writing, but stop posting; 3. stop writing.

The first sometimes feels like I’m scribbling as fast as I can just to crumple up my paper and toss it over a cliff. And yet, it keeps me coming back to that cliff’s edge every day with a fresh sheet of paper. It’s a mission of sorts. Something to do.

The second feels pointless and sad. At least when I toss my paper off the cliff it goes somewhere. Somebody might find it. The wind might carry it. If I keep everything to myself, the stack is going to collapse and bury me.

The third…that’s the big one, isn’t it? That’s the “why bother” at the heart of everything. That’s the impulse to throw myself over the cliff. That’s the choice that reminds me that the real issues aren’t about writing at all.

I Bought Spoons

I didn’t need to go to Walmart this morning. We’re not completely out of cereal; I just bought underwear; we have enough small bowls. But maybe the cereal that was sold out has been restocked; more underwear wouldn’t hurt; I use those bowls for everything. I had to go.

I had to go, because I had been obsessing about getting a double-chocolate donut at the Dunkin’ Donuts just inside the main door. No big deal, right? Not exactly. I have celiac disease, and for the past ten years I’ve stuck strictly to the gluten-free diet that I need to stay well. Until last month, when I bought a donut on my way out of Walmart and ate it in my parked car, there in the parking lot where no one I know would see me. Feeling like a criminal.

Since then, I’ve had three more donuts, counting today’s. I confessed the first to my husband, but have kept the rest secret. I sneak the bags into the trash when I get home. There’s no one to notice. Just me. I don’t complain about the stomach aches I have afterwards. I blame the migraines solely on the weather. And the deep depression? Well, that’s always been mine alone.

I know that I’ve gotten myself into a horrible cycle. Depression makes the sugar cravings worse. The gluten cravings too. The donut is everything. Nothing about my behavior is fooling me: I’m harming myself. On purpose.

I ask myself why, and the only answer I get is, “Why not?” Two words, six letters—that’s all it takes to sum up what feels like a lifetime of anguish. Why not? No one will notice. Why not? Your health doesn’t matter. Why not? There’s no one to stop you. Why not? You need to feel something.

Or to feel nothing. To replace the bad feelings with a rush of sugar and fat and flour. Because all those justifications come down to the same problem—I feel alone. Entirely alone, even though I’m not. I have a husband, children, siblings. But I don’t feel close to any of them. I’m the drowning swimmer in a crowded pool. No one notices, because the drowning don’t actually thrash around, making noise, calling attention to ourselves. We sink quietly. We go under and never come up. Sometimes I wish there were a lifeguard on duty for my life. Other times I wish I could get out of the pool. And then there are days like today, when I load myself up with rocks to see if whether I’ll sink faster.

I’m not sneaking donuts because I love donuts. I could eat sugar or chocolate in safer forms. They’re not good for me, but they’re not as actively harmful as gluten. And I’m not acting out so others will see and stop me. I know this isn’t their fight. I’m unhappy with myself for failing myself. I’m not taking good care of me. Wanting someone else to swoop in, and care more than I do, is one of the big themes in my life. The struggle is with myself, with choosing to love myself the way I want someone else to love me. The donuts are an expression of self-loathing. I’m unhappy with who I am, what I’m doing with my life. Who I’ve become.

Why act out like that? I’m not sure. I used to write more, journal my feelings. I haven’t been lately. I haven’t been happy with any of my writing. Instead of stopping altogether, I’ve been playing with forms. But that leaves me writing from my head more than my heart. It’s a fun exercise, but it’s not helping steady me in this world.

I don’t know how to free myself from this trap. I know that exercise, eating right, and getting enough sleep would help. I just can’t seem to push through the feeling that it’s not worth the bother. I’m not worth the bother.

So I make my lists, and pretend I need to shop. For some reason, I can do that. They were still out of cereal; I didn’t see any underwear I liked; and they didn’t have my bowls. I can try again next week.

Exhale

I did it. I made it through another March alive. A few pounds heavier, but alive. I never know with March. It’s become the month I dread, so I race through it with my eyes closed, hoping that April will catch me before I fall off a cliff.

Now here we are. I’m taking a minute to breathe and to think. What’s next? Do I pick a new form and keep writing? Do I wait for inspiration to strike? I suspect that I still need the structure of a form to play with, even though my attempts to follow one this morning have’t gone well.

I have excuses. Of course I do. Life itself is an excuse not to write, but it’s also the impetus that insists I must. And writing is often the one tether connecting me to life. Without it who would I be? How would I know what I think? or feel?

I don’t recognize the me living this life I’ve created for my adult self. I’ve left behind all the things that once defined me. Except writing. That’s been with me since childhood. This blog, though, this has been different. Every day I fear I’ve reached the end, and there’s nothing new to uncover. I’m still uneasy sharing what I write.

I write for myself. To explore myself. To create my self. Yet, at the same time, I want applause, like I used to get reciting other people’s words on stage, pretending to be someone I’m not. Maybe I haven’t left all of myself behind after all.

I Should Have Done This Yesterday

Welcome, March. I was supposed to choose a new form for you, but I haven’t yet. I’ve been sitting here, leafing through Turco’s The New Book of Forms, trying to decide on one, while my coffee grows too cold to drink. Now I’m cranky and no closer to knowing what I’ll be writing next. How was this a good plan?

Remember how I claimed to love form? exult in structure? Me too. So much better to explore that than theme, right? New month, new form: what could go wrong?

I could go wrong. Life could go wrong. I could let myself be distracted by all the things I’m not doing. I could find myself swallowed by the depression that hits hardest this time of year, leaving me feeling like a cobweb on the ceiling of God’s forgotten room. Waiting for a window to open and blow me away, or a broom to find me and end the waiting. No form needed.

I struggled through February to get here. Now I’m content to lie in the mud, staring at a cloudy sky, pretending I remember what it feels like to be lost in the stars. I hate the parts of me I see reflected in the worst of our leaders. How badly to want applause for just existing? How low a bar have I set for myself? How cruel are my thoughts, even if I never speak them? How vain am I? How destructive at heart? How callous? thoughtless? ignorant?

Who am I to judge anyone else? What can I possibly say that has any value whatsoever?

I will choose a form, and I will keep writing, because I don’t know what else to do; and I have to do something, or my thoughts will swallow me whole. I will write my wispy words. I will cling to the ceiling until I fall or am blown away.

Welcome to March.

Not a Rondeau in Sight

My brain is stuck on something. I’m hoping writing it out will help.

I made the mistake of talking to someone close to me (someone who knows I have this blog)about my frustrations with finding a job. I’ve spent the past eight years primarily in a caregiver’s role. Prior to that, raising my children and working part-time jobs that fit our schedules. So, in other words, no solid career for me. Now I’m trying to decide what to do next, and have several conflicting feelings about the whole process, since I still want to be available for my granddaughter. This person, quite sincerely I believe, yet with a tinge of exasperation said, “You should write.”

That little bug burrowed deep and laid its eggs. You should write. This person has a history of making comments about my writing that range from dismissive to derogatory, so I shouldn’t have been surprised. In the moment, I didn’t reply, but the comment stung.

You should write means you should write anything but the crap you’re writing now. You should write something people might actually want to read. You should write something you could sell. You should write something publishable. You should write means what you’re doing now doesn’t count as writing .

I write rhymes and verses. I post what I write as I write it. If I had a great idea for a book, I’d write one. I don’t. I sit down and what spills from my fingers are these little verses. Day after day. The people closest to me don’t like them, so they don’t read them. I am not a writer in their eyes.

Or my own, I suppose. Wasn’t that why I started this blog? To explore that possibility? To find out who or what I was in relation to writing? To challenge myself to write every day?

No matter how many words I write, it takes only three to dismiss them all. Three to remind me that what I do, who am I, isn’t valuable. Isn’t valued. Monetizable. Sellable. Legitimate. Three words to cut through whatever illusion I might have about this blog. Three words that leave me asking myself why I am not someone else entirely.

You should write.

Uncle

I’ve been trying to write through the pain, but failing. I gave up caffeine this week. It took until Wednesday for the migraine to hit. Yesterday was worse. Today, so far, has been a continuation of yesterday.

Still, I tried. I sat here willing myself to connect with the smallest fragment of anything. If not my brain, then maybe my fingers would do it on their own.

This is my surrender. My eyes want to close. My body wants to lie down in the dark. I’ve been feeling like a failure at life, and this isn’t helping. Another defeat.

Some days you lose the fight.