Once upon a time I was a good writer.
OK, maybe good is stretching it. A serviceable writer if you were looking for a certain type of experience (85,000+ words of a certain type of experience).
A serviceable writer with flashes of brilliance when I put my mind to it, or more accurately didn’t over think it.
Then something happened.
I’m not sure what.
Hormones. Life. Aging. Job troubles. Money troubles from job troubles. More job troubles. Even more job troubles after a brief lull during which I got comfortable and started working in long form – ask me about my five finished, unpublished novels. Did I mention I have a trilogy?
All of that feels like an excuse. All of it. Yet, the amalgamation of those things feels like a lead balloon I can’t control.
It sits in my chest swelling and growing heavy at the most unexpected times.
When I’m sitting in traffic just waiting, resigned to the fact that no one around me has the faintest fucking idea how to drive any more – because yes, I’ve sat in the lane next to someone who literally left a city bus length’s worth of space between him and the car in front of him. How do I know? I was behind the bus.
When I’m sitting at my desk in the office I share with someone who never works anywhere but at home or at the client site – because yes, it’s important for me to spend 45 minutes on the road so I can sit in an half-empty office at the juncture of two empty corridors so no one can speak to me outside the two meetings I have scheduled during the day that are the sole reason I came into the office in the first place.
When I’m brushing my teeth, for my dental hygiene is amazing because brushing and flossing are two of the easiest things to accomplish on my ridiculously long list of Self Care Actions – always title case, if you please, because we must take our self care seriously.
This balloon inside me swells bringing me to sobs with no warning. Literal, mouth open, I just saw someone I love die in front of me sobs. That’s a lot of fun at the office.
Whatever this is inside me swells taking up all the space in my head and heart, demanding I pay attention to it and making me sick when I don’t. And if it would just stay in my chest I could handle it. I could learn to carry the weight of it no matter how heavy it got. But it won’t stay put. It migrates.
It activates my brain when what I need most is a good night’s sleep. It makes my limbs too heavy to lift, my feet drag, and my head weigh more than I could possibly balance on my neck when what would benefit me most is a good, vigorous workout. It says “go ahead, have ice cream for dessert in the middle of the day. You work at home. No one cares.” And then convinces me the phrase “no one cares” is the truth.
It makes me want to disappear. Not to die necessarily, because death leaves behind all kinds of messy complications and God forbid I take up anyone’s time or energy, but just disappear even if all that happens is feeling like this stops.
And all of that is just an aside to the poisonous memes it injects into my thought process, the ones that say that once upon a time I was a good writer…but that I shouldn’t expect to be one ever again.