So If I Miss It So Much…

That’s what you’re thinking, right? That’s what I’m thinking. Why did I stop showing up? stop working at it? stop prioritizing it?

Welcome to depression. The deep part. The silent part. The part that makes you groan when you wake up another day. The part that doesn’t want to reach out for help, because it doesn’t want to be drawn into the light. The part that knows this part of me is beyond help. Beyond words.

Exercise has no power over it. Sunshine can’t warm it. It’s stronger and colder than all of us. And it’s so entwined with my soul that I don’t remember where I start. Or end. Or whether I was ever separate to begin with.

So, yes I miss writing. I miss feeling. I miss looking at the world and finding beauty, even in endless questioning and edgeless loneliness. Those things are not this. This thing is something other, and yet wholly me. Maybe it’s the Truth of who I am. That which I’ve been writing about all along.

I Miss Writing

That’s all. I just miss it.

I miss having it as part of my identity, even though I kept it mostly secret.

I miss juggling words, even though I dropped so many.

I miss looking at the world, at my life, and wondering what shape it would take on the page today.

I miss feeling that maybe I don’t totally suck after all.

I just miss it.

That’s all.

Formless and Void

I’m tired of myself. Of my life. Of my words. I write and delete, over and over until I stop writing altogether. Facing the blankness. Letting it stand in my stead. Unreadable. Unwritable.

Will I ever find my way back? Will I ever feel that excitement again when rhyme and rhythm take over, and my brain fills with song?

I wanted to squeeze every possible word out my psyche like the last bit of toothpaste from a crumpled tube. Letter by letter, wiped onto a waiting page. Unwasted. Still good for something.

Those closest never noticed the tube getting more crushed and twisted by the day. They don’t care about my toothpaste—how much I have, if I like the taste, whether I share. They didn’t notice I stopped brushing my teeth.

I’m tired of myself. Of my life. Of my words. I’m tired of being tired. I don’t know how to fix this.

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.