I said I was going to do something special this month - something BIG, a big ol' project I've been planning for a while (actually the idea came to me a year ago and has been slowly bubbling in the back of my brain) - but it doesn't matter, because my own mind has depression-soaked and procratinatingly-paralyzed me once again.
Shortly after my last post I got sick - not just "my kids bring home every cold, stomach bug, and flu as soon as school kicks off" kind of sickness (had that too though), but it led to daily migraines, extreme apathy, overwhelming fatigue and spiraling depression. Insomnia has returned as well.
I could barely function - just enough to facilitate my familial obligations to my children (ya know, keeping them fed, watered, cleaning up their crap, helping with homework. Mommy-type shit.)
The point is, no one really noticed I was gone. No one noticed I hadn't unveiled the exciting new "thing" I was working on. No one emailed me, DMed me, called or texted to find out where I'd gone or if I was okay.
And I've gotten used to it.
My work requires a great deal of isolation and introspection. I need the quiet, and the alone-time to write. I spend large quantities of my day engrossed in the kaleidoscope of images and characters and plot-lines in my head... and sometimes I lose track of the real world.
And sometimes I decide to stay in my head instead, because the real world can be incredibly fucked up and who the hell wants to deal with that all the time? Sometimes I'd rather just stay in my head, and I can disappear from the world for months at a time.
Let's be honest, despite my social media presence (as infrequent as it is) I've pretty much been in hiding the past few years. It seems to be a logical outcome, after one's life takes a drastic detour from the path you expected it to take. The other route is not bad, just unexpected - and sometimes it takes a while to adjust. For me, I have always been fairly sure of who I was and what I wanted- because who I was was fluid and changing, but what I wanted has never wavered... until now. As long as I was always being authentic to myself, my moral compass, my creative impulses - I had no regrets.
Our minds are amazing - able to learn, adapt to new knowledge and experiences (even debilitating, world-shattering ones), and come out wiser, stronger and hopefully better. We are the most intricate machines, extrapolating and interpreting data based on knowledge already acquired until we can see and understand it better. When something doesn't compute, or an unexpected bit of data shifts the algorithm, we take this new data and evolve.
But at your core, you're basically the same - only a stronger, wiser version. Hopefully. There are plenty who choose to devolve instead. Personally, I've never understood rejecting knowledge, even if it's to expand or conversely, reaffirm a steadfast viewpoint. The world changes, and so must you.
But I've gotten lost in the thought-parade again. I was talking about being a hermit within a vast metropolis.
I suppose the character I wrote in "Imaginary Self" was me, coming begrudgingly out of my dusty, self-imposed isolation when I published it way back in 2013. It has since been "shelved", but it's interesting to look back on (at least for me). The character struggles to overcome a painfully intense agoraphobia. Her body disintegrates like sand, and she's forced into the outside world, only as an invisible entity that is unseen and unheard by the world she had long shunned - save for one troubled little boy who needs her.
I could probably get really deep into my psyche at the time that I wrote it (shortly after giving birth to my second child). Ripping apart my first published short is easier in hindsight, but I'll just say the metaphors I see in it now had a lot to do with what I was experiencing at the time. Climbing back out of that shell has been a long process, as I've spent the past few years doing a lot of thinking, trying to grasp and understand this new (and unexpected) version of myself. I still get it wrong sometimes, but that's how we learn. If you try nothing, do nothing, then nothing will change.
But people are afraid of change.
Problem is, no one ever wants to talk.
Correction: They all want to talk, but no one wants to listen. No one wants to have a conversation - they just want to be heard. And change is impossible in a vacuum. Just like self-metamorphosis is nothing but a dream if I spend all day hiding in my office behind a computer screen, playing with the people in my head (who I have at least some sort of omniscient control over). I need to experience new things, encounter new people, find new inspirations, new philosophies, new dreams - new stories. I can't just keep talking to myself in my blog and vague social media posts. I do less talking, and more listening in those places to be honest, trying to understand other people.
Change is necessary for growth, and growth is necessary to avoid stagnation. I'm tired to being so idle, and though I'm still working to understand my new route and adjust my course, I'm looking for new detours and experiences to inspire me and broaden my horizons.
I'm looking for change, because I need it. We all need it. This shit isn't working, and it's just chasing it's own tail without end. This goes for me, this goes for the shit-storm brewing in this country, it goes for all the politics, the media, the way we think, the way we treat each other. None of this shit works, but we keep doing it. But you can't change your world without expanding your knowledge, and change also requires that uncomfortable period when things get unstable and scary. Here I'm going back to speaking of my own struggles, because I prefer not to talk politics on the internet. Those sorts of discussions belong in person, where you have to back up your stance to the person's face and not hide behind bullying and online anonymity. No one really gives a shit about your opinion online anyway, they're just looking to peg you "with us" or "against us" with absolutely no room for actual discussion or compromise in any direction.
Politics = Us or Them... and it's disgusting.
Therefore, back to my overall point:
Somewhere along the way I lost my footing. The snow piled up behind me and my retreating steps were cleared away. I didn't know forward from back.
It took a while to adjust. The things I'd previously cherished and valued had betrayed me and I was no longer certain what I wanted. I was free to try new avenues, make decisions I'd never considered before - like settling down, like having kids. I went from being someone who expressed themselves in every aspect of their life, who didn't give a flying fuck-wad about other's opinions of me or my appearance, who cherished knowledge and creativity and open-mindedness... to someone who felt like a fraud.
And not in the way you'd think.
I'd never imagined my future as one that included married life with mini-mes and mortgages, and so when I made those unexpected decisions I felt overwhelmingly judged. I was terrified someone would find me lacking, not good enough. Did I even deserve to me a mother? To have these amazing little people looking up at me with big brown eyes that mimic my own skeptical expressions to a haunting and thrilling accuracy? I felt like the person I was before couldn't co-exist with the person people now expected me to be. They still comment on it. I still hear "But, you're a mom!" because apparently that means I stop being a person with thoughts and feelings and inclinations towards recklessly unusual ideas.
I'd never given in to others opinions of me before - in fact, the more they scowled the more likely I was to try it. But now judgements on me were judgements on my children, and that bothered me. Why should my kids get the side-eye because of their mother's wandering mind?
I had to be "a mom". I have to tell you, living up to everyone's expectations of "the mom" is fucking exhausting. And the funny thing is, despite it never being my endgame plan, I'm a devotedly FANTASTIC mom. My children are happy, healthy, creative and curious.
There really is no reason why I cannot co-exist with my "momness". So much judgement, when all that really matters is how much you love your kid and the fact that you'd do anything for them. My kids are what re-inspire me when I lose my footing now, because no matter what paths I choose to explore, I want them to see that I never let go of my core - what drives me forward, what makes me whole - I've just added more things (namely, THEM) to my reason for doing it.
If you haven't figured it out by now, posts like this are generally just me clearing out the thoughts cluttering my brain. I've been bent low by some heavy ideas of late that needed a release. Sometimes I have to work through the roadblocks in writing, to purge what's blocking my mind and keeping me up at 2 in the morning (which is when I started writing this blog post).
Hopefully, that means I'll be writing some fiction soon.
Thanks for putting up with another of my rants. Xoxo