So today was kinda shitty. Things just felt like they were piling up beyond my control, and bestowed as I am with the power of crippling anxiety my natural response was to let it do that forever while wishing there was something I could do about it. Eventually I did, though only reluctantly – it’s amazing how clear solutions to problems, or at least clear actions that can be taken to make them less problematic, seem so offensive somehow when you’re in the grip of a particularly aggressive wave of anxiety – and also wrote a huge rant on my other blog about both feeling like shit and why World of Warcraft is the worst thing ever because it doesn’t live up to its generic potential.
At the end of it all I did feel better – still not where I’d like to be, but definitely better than I was for most of the day – and the one thing that stood out to me was how sad I was that I didn’t have anything that I wanted to write to cheer me up.
I guess this is natural. I mean I’ve been drifting away from writing as My Thing for some time now – which is what I want – and looking to other avenues for fulfillment. It’s no surprise that those other avenues have not yet become as familiar and friendly to me as the prospect of writing for comfort, for inspiration, for recreation, whatever. The place that writing has had in my life has not yet been taken up by something else. I don’t really want it to, however much I do appreciate that it is no longer the be-all and end-all of my very existence. I just want more places I can go to for fulfillment, I want writing to stop being my crutch, and to become something that I can enjoy again. I just don’t know how to get to that point, and today in particular it stood out to me just how much I really do miss writing when I’m not doing it, and when I don’t have something really compelling to sink my teeth into to make me want to write.
I think it’s also just the build-up of residual bad habits from lack of pushing myself, or something. I’ve been having some really entertaining ideas for the past couple of days, and I just kind of dismiss them as entertaining distractions rather than something I could work with. I’m definitely not throwing myself into it like I used to; I feel hesitant to even start. And I know that starting is the hardest and most difficult and vital part of writing, from experience, I know that once you get started you build momentum, etc. … I know all of this stuff.
I really hate reading myself write about this stuff. It’s exactly the same, every goddamn time. I know X works but I’m not doing it because anxiety. Rinse and repeat. The only thing that seems to change is that over time these blog posts that are all exactly the same have slowly shifted to having more constructive, optimistic conclusions. Yes it’s all the same, but since I’m aware of it I can do something about it.
It’s all just worrying. If I do X then it’s time I’m not spending on Y, where Y = some random shit that I literally cannot put into words because it’s completely nebulous and unclear, because that’s how anxiety works. You literally worry about nothing, and you worry about it hard.
Fuck it’s annoying.
And maybe that’s why I miss writing right now, because writing, thinking of what to write, committing myself to a project – that’s something else that I can do with my brain. Something just as intensive and energy-consuming and, in many ways, repetitive as anxiety, but productive and enjoyable and self-affirming rather than negative and toxic and etc. Writing obviously comes with its own problems, but at least it’s multifaceted. Anxiety has no upsides. It’s just worry. Shit is happening the way it’s happening one way or another, and worrying doesn’t change that. Of course that’s not a compelling argument for somebody with anxiety, because anxiety just goes “so I’m so useless that I can’t even think the rational thoughts that I am literally thinking right the fuck now”, devolves into more negative self-talk, etc. Writing is a way out of that. Well, a way through it. Or around it, maybe. But it hasn’t been for me lately. The werewolf thing was like that while I was writing it, while I cared. I don’t care anymore. I don’t want to make myself care, either. I’m getting really hung up on the prospect of forcing myself to do anything that I don’t know will definitely 100% work, even if it comes with the prospect of shaking me out of this insufferable, nerve-straining stupor. It’s all about feelings, is anxiety. I don’t feel like doing X. I don’t feel like X will work. I feel like X is pointless so why bother.
Writing is also about feelings.
Writing for me is trying to take my feelings and put them into understandable words. English is a pretty bad language for emotions, I have to say. I think that’s why “show don’t tell” exists, really: it’s to compensate for the fact that this language is so fucking abysmal and inadequate that we have to resort to using it in strange, sometimes unintuitive ways in order to convey our messages in the most impactful way. And it’s fucking frustrating to grapple with the language, to feel it barricading you out of your own feelings and experiences, knowing that whatever it is you say, it won’t get the message across properly. And yet that’s also fun, in a way, the challenge of trying to find the right words – or make them up, or take wrong words and make them the right ones because you never thought about them in this context before, and maybe nobody else has either. That’s why my journals are so flowery. Like, fucking jesus, those things are painful. Prose so purple it could be rain. I never got that metaphor. Good song, though.
And that’s kind of the thing – not like Purple Rain specifically, but it’s the general principle: “purple rain” could be anything, but what it ends up being is the emotion that Prince puts into it when he sings the song. That’s what the phrase comes to mean: the feelings that go along with it. And there’s a lot of feelings in that song. A lot of telling, actually. The “showing” is in the delivery: his voice, his instrumentation, the rhythm, all of it “shows” us what he means. That kind of writing is appealing to me.
The thing is, bluntly telling is also appealing to me, because it can be fucking hilarious. Clunky writing can be really funny, and I used to do it a lot, and I used to have fun doing it. Not so much these days. I’ve been much more focused on the deep, cutting, visceral language of raw human experience, and that’s great as well. It’s just different. And honestly, having anxiety and a history of depression, getting really into that kind of writing can be as much of a bad thing as a good one. On the other hand, the funny clunky writing often isn’t meaty enough to really do anything for me. But part of that is because I dismiss it as not being enough before even trying it.
So basically, I have to try it and find out. Well, I don’t have to. That’s stupid.
I just really, really should, because it might work, and oh my god I would love to write something for fun again. It feels like it’s been so long. I know the werewolf thing was on my plate only a month or two ago, but let’s be real that was only really fulfilling right at the start, and I always knew that. And it’s fine for the novelty to wear off. That happened with Tallulah, and the reason it worked as well as it did was because I persisted after it did, committed to it and found that the commitment was what made it work after the novelty no longer could. The werewolf book just doesn’t have enough going for it for me to want to commit. I don’t feel it’s worth it.
But I dunno. I’m also tired of tethering myself to my feelings. I don’t know how much of it I can control, but I know that I can experiment. I can push. I can test out the tensile strength of its hold over me.
What I really want is to think of writing as though I’m writing, rather than as a preparation for writing. Preparation, hesitation, avoidance – procrastination. Same old, same old.
I need something new.
Like, really need something new. And it still feels like it’s coming. I just want it to be here now.
But maybe it is, and I just have to get up and let it in the door.
I don’t know how to end this post now. Let’s see what happens tomorrow? Swear some kind impassioned, impulsive oath to improve myself in the morning, several hours from now in a place and time that doesn’t actually exist and that I don’t have to confront in any way whatsoever?
You know what I really miss? Looking forward to writing. I miss the immediacy of looking forward to something, because the only time you can look forward to anything is right now. Not in the morning. Not when you’ve calmed down. Not when you’ve sorted out your schedule or gotten enough sleep. Right now. It doesn’t mean those other things aren’t important. It just means that looking forward to something is different to trying to plan to do something in the future. And that’s because looking forward to doing something is actually …
Well, it’s doing it, actually. Not pen-to-paper, fingers-to-keyboard doing it, but it’s not preparing to do it, either. It’s work. It’s progress. It’s engagement.
I miss being engaged. And I’m so tired of trying to get myself to engage with my old projects, just because I think it would be responsible or whatever to give them a solid shot before giving up on them completely.
Fuck it. I give up. I need something new, and I need it right the fuck now.
Let’s see what I can come up with.
I’m giving myself until right now.
I mean I’m going to bed, but I’m going to think while I’m there. Two birds, one stone, all that …