What Month Is This?

It feels strange to be here, like walking into the room that used to be mine as a child and finding things I had forgotten I left behind. Why didn’t I throw them all away before leaving? Why did my parents keep them? Why is this blog still here?

I am so deeply depressed that none of this feels real. None of these words are mine. I cannot write myself a better life. I never could. What was I thinking? Who was I pretending to be when I believed that these little rhymes mattered? My family tried to warn me by their detachment. They’ve always known my treasures are worthless. I let them sit forgotten, gathering dust, waiting for me to return.

It’s too much to process. I’m not up to making big decisions today, so I’ll back away and close the door again. I’ll clean this up some other time.

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A Poem? Not a Poem?

Let’s try this again.
I’ve written, deleted, written more.
Deleted more.
This is my life. Nothing sticks,
no matter what I try.
I’m not finishing things,
not accomplishing anything.
Write. Delete.
No record I was ever here.
Do I really have so little to say?
Or do I simply lack the voice to say it?
I tried to sing along to an old song
when I was driving yesterday.
My throat felt tight and closed.
My voice wobbled, unable
to find and hold the note.
I used to sing all the time:
school chorus,
community theater,
around the house.
Anywhere and everywhere.
Always a song.
And if not a song, a story.
Not any more.
I bury my stories deep.
I silence my songs.
And the silence has stretched so long,
that I’ve forgotten the words to my life.
Has the tune faded too?
I strain to hear it,
to hum it,
but there’s nothing there.
Am I disintegrating?
Have so many pieces of my self
fallen away
that I’m unrecognizable?
Is this why I can’t write?
I feel as though part of me
has been switched off,
and I don’t know how
to turn it on again.
Even as I type,
my throat feels constricted
and sore.
I cannot speak.
Whatever I have to say,
my body holds tight
and won’t release.
I fear that if I ever
find that current,
that energy,
that life force again,
it will shatter me.
What’s left of me.
It will blow me apart.
Would that be a relief?
One last burst of feeling,
followed by…
What?
Nothing?

Maybe if I knew that answer,
I wouldn’t feel
so empty,
so lost,
so tired,
so alone,
so discouraged,
so hollow,
so done.

New Year (Happy Optional)

Here we go again. The holidays are over. I need a holiday.

I’ve already failed to do the simple things I promised myself I’d start at new year’s: exercise, stop eating sugar, write every day. This is my half-hearted attempt to do one of the three. I’m not optimistic about the other two.

My year of exploring poetry forms is officially over. I’ve been thinking about what to do next. I’m tempted to leave things to chance, go back to writing whatever comes out that day without the imposition of theme or form. I’m not sure how that will go. I’m afraid I’ll let too many days slide by without writing anything. But that happened last year, even with my assignment set for the month.

It didn’t matter in the end—I wrote until I didn’t.
I wrote until I had nothing to say.
I wrote until life intruded too much.
I wrote until obligations to others seemed more important than promises to myself.

This year I need to figure out how and where writing fits in my life. There are a lot of other changes I want to make, things I want to do. New habits, like exercising. And better choices, like eating well (which means taking time to cook healthy food). I want to read more books and waste less time online. Oh, and declutter the house. That might take a bit more effort.

For today, this is the best I’ve got. Or the most I’m willing to try. Or something in between.

The new year snuck up on me, and I’m unprepared. I’d like to wind time back a month, maybe two. Try this all again. But on I go—forward, like it or not.

May this year be better than last.

*A note about the header: I know it’s out of focus. I was trying to capture the ice on the trees before it melted, while still keeping my phone from getting dripped on. It’s not a great shot, but I haven’t anything better at the moment, so I’m using it for now.

Writers Write, and So Am I

My first NaNoWriMo was an epic failure. I flamed out after a week, not even reaching 5000 words. So, what happened? I was going to catalog my excuses, but why try to justify it? The simple truth is that my passion wasn’t greater than my circumstances. And while it’s true that the month took an unexpected turn that demanded a lot of my time, in the time I had left, I chose not to write. I watched TV instead, letting other people’s stories fill my head, listening to their characters ramble. After that first week, I chose passive consumption over active creation. Either state can take me out of myself. I opted for the easy one. No excuses.

So, what now? Last night, when I decided that I’d write and post something this morning, I thought that a good idea might be to pick up where I left off last summer and finish out the year with one last poetry form. I haven’t decided yet whether to keep going with the rimas dissolutas or to choose a new form. I’m leaning toward the former, since I wrote so little in June. Can I go back to writing for my own amusement? Will it feel good to be creating something every day? Have I come far enough on this journey to accept that I am a writer, whether or not anyone ever reads a word, or offers support, or pretends to care? I have written. I do write. I am writing. I am.

Fewer, Less

There are fewer of us now. We’re down by one. And I have less to say than expected.

I thought by now I’d be up and writing again. Then death came, stealing my brother when I wasn’t looking.

My words chased after them, but haven’t returned. I sit in darkness, waiting.

How do I find my place in this new world of fewer siblings? Do I count down from the top, skipping over one like hopscotch, chalk outline around a missing body?

We are fewer. I am less.

The months tiptoe by, not wanting to wake me. I wish they would stop and sit with me a while.

It’s all too fast, this life. I lie down and watch the clouds through dirty windows.

What can I say? We are fewer now. I am less.

My Summer Vacation

If I were a writer, what would I write about today?

The silence at the end of that question stretches long. I wrote some bullshit that I deleted about how I ask myself that, but the answer is always nothing. No. The truth is I haven’t bothered asking myself anything. And if I were to ask myself something, it shouldn’t be, “what would I write about,” but “am I a writer at all.”

I certainly don’t feel like one anymore. I did for a while, when I was writing every day. It didn’t matter that I have nothing to publish. I still felt connected to the words and the work. I had hoped that as summer ended, I’d find myself drawn back to both.

Writing isn’t the only thing I’ve been neglecting though. I had started exercising, taking morning walks at a local park. I needed movement and nature to ground myself in this world, even as depression sucked me farther from it. I used the summer’s heat as an excuse to stop walking, the depression as an excuse to stop writing. Despite that, I managed to keep living.

In July, I learned that an old friend was having gastric bypass surgery. For some reason, that prompted me to finally make some changes to my diet and start shedding some weight myself. I joined a weight-loss group on Facebook for support. That became my new obsession—another reason to stay too long online, reading about other people’s lives and struggles, ignoring my own. I started losing weight, then panicked. I wasn’t prepared for it to actually work! I didn’t know who I was without sugar, without whiskey. I didn’t belong outside the plus-size corner of the store. I stopped eating to lose and let my weight stabilize.

That’s where I am today. I have a list of things to start doing again: eat right, exercise, read books, write. All the things I thought I might do this summer, but didn’t. I’ve been online, checking Facebook and Twitter, watching what’s happening in the world. Wondering what it all means. Meanwhile, I’ve got a stack of unread books next to my chair just waiting for me to come back to this world. The immediate. The concrete. I feel like I’m flitting around the edges of life, lost in cyberspace. Can I find a way to ground again? Will writing help?

If I were a writer, what would I write about today? How would I say it? Do I still want to play with rhythm and length and form and rhyme? Would I rather chat like this? Pretend I’m talking to the friends I don’t have? Would you like to hear the story of my life? of my weight-loss journey? of my failures to make good decisions? Will the gods read these words and accept them as prayers from a lost soul? Will the Muses gather closer and whisper in my ear? Will someone, somewhere, read what I write and nod in agreement, forging an invisible link between us, a tiny spark of energy flowing into the vastness of space, making us both matter to each other, even though we never meet? Is that enough? Is it a start?

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.