I dislike that when I have a job, my writing goes to shit. Luckily I am taking a writing class, which forces me to practice, but if I did not have that constant push each week, I am not sure I would write nearly as much. And, to me, that is unacceptable. The problem still is, though, that I would not write if there was not a reason to write. Not because I don’t have ideas, not because I don’t like it, but because at the end of the day I am typically so exhausted that my brain feels like a big, heaping pile of oatmeal. There are some days with this class that when I attempt to write a scene (and believe me, it is reflected in my “grades”) and I sit and stare at the screen for what seems like hours without producing something. Or I’ll start six or seven different possibilities and stall, miserably, in the middle of them. Though I love fiction (to read), I am not sure fiction writing is for me. Non-fiction, however, suits me well. I like all non-fiction, ranging from memoir to (gasp, shock and awe!) textbooks. That’s right people, I enjoy reading something as dry and non-imaginative as a textbook. For example, I kept some of my academic books from undergrad and they sit on my bookshelf. I was an English major, so of course there are fiction books (more Virginia Woolf than I would care to ever reread), but I also kept some of my general education class books. Knowledge is sexy, people. Big, beautiful brains outweigh brawn in my opinion. Intelligent conversations with someone are far more stimulating than to sit and drool over someones six-pack or hair or whatever (I know, strong way to end that statement).
I am sitting on my couch, cat pajamas still on (yes, its middle morning, but I’ve been up since six this morning getting stuff done), massive mug of coffee (from my infamous Iowa Hawkeyes mug, which I think is actually a soup bowl), dog at my feet, and cat curled up on the sofa leaning her butt against my neck (she is a built-in headrest). Music is coming out of my iHome (I know, fancy, right?), and I feel very content. Though content implies a deeper serene with everything in your life. I am not that content. I wish I was in a bigger place (though I am on my way to procuring that), I wish I was in a different place (i.e. geographical location, like Portland, OR), and I wish I had… I don’t even know how to articulate what I wish I had. The best I can think of is “calm” — not constantly wishing for something, not hoping to find something, I wish I had that settled feeling, not this restless, listless nagging in my gut about everything. Should I stay in Iowa? Should I move to Portland? I have something good going with school, but does that outweigh what I could have in another part of the country? Can I stand three to four more years here when every time I drive to class I go past the place Jonathan proposed and still feel this twinge of …hurt, pain, anger, sadness, guilt, self-flagellation. It’s been almost two years since we broke up, and I can safely say that I know it was for the best and that I think we are both on positive paths for our own lives, and it’s sad that after five years together we realized that our lives are separate, but I cannot say that it wasn’t the right thing to do (which is to say that our break up was the right thing). And I always feel guilty saying that, because I know if I was in Jonathan’s shoes, it would feel like a slap in the face. Or at least that is how I would feel, not saying that’s how he does feel. However, I look at my dog, my cat, and my apartment, and think, “I would have none of these things, my life would be so much different, I would not be pursuing my goals,” if we had remained together. And even more, I am not sure I would have discovered those wants or fulfilled those desires. I was living in a shell, and it fractured, and now I am learning how to walk, opening my eyes to the brilliant sun, and ready to try to fly. (Wow, okay, over dramatic metaphor aside, I am just hoping to find my path.)
To jump from thought to thought, in my writing class we do these in-class writings with prompts and every time someone shares what they’ve written I always make notes and typically one of the notes I write in the margins of my own in-class writing is “clichéd,” or “over-dramatic,” or “too sappy,” and even one time I wrote, “you think that’s what love is?!?” (Yes, even with the question mark, exclamation point, question mark punctuation.) I feel like I am in the depths of lost love and I really don’t even want to claw myself out. I was somewhat romantic, asking to find a Darcy to my Elizabeth, but as time passes I feel like it is bullshit idea. There is romance in small things, like someone bringing you a coffee when you have to work early, or letting you have half of a carrot cake pastry, or giving you eighty-five cents to eat a bag of Doritos when you feel like your stomach might eat itself, and those gestures are wonderful, but when I see people get all worked up over things like Valentine’s Day it makes me gag. I was never one to truly get into that holiday to begin with (even when I had a fiance and thought he was the end all, be all), but the idea of going all gooey eyed over a box of chocolates makes me question a lot of relationships. A better present would be a sheet of paper that says, “Hey, I love you. And to help you out, I will walk the dog, do the dishes, and make the bed for a week. Boom.” Partnership, camaraderie, and mutual respect means far more than a heart-shaped balloon and chocolate to me. Though chocolate can go a long way when you are PMS-ing on that day. Just saying.
I feel like life has jaded me. There are certain things and beliefs and ideals that I had as recently as three years ago that are gone. They disintegrated as my life kind of fell apart. It’s grand to believe that you can find love, and absolutely an attainable idea, and emotion, but I think I have shut myself down so much that I am finding it more difficult to come out of that hole. Every once in a while I will get that rush of emotion, but I have become so self-contained that I am not sure I can support it for any length of time. Bottom line, truth of the matter, any other cliché associated with this subject: I am scared. It’s such a typical response, but it’s the truth. There is time the fear is paralyzing. Everyone always comments that I am strong person, but all I feel like is a quivering lump of anxiety and fear. Like negative reinforcement, it always seems that when I begin to get attached, when I begin to let the wall down, something happens that devastates me. Even if I never let on. Even if I don’t show it. Even if I remain silent or say everything is okay. And the sad part is that is becoming exhausting. To hold that shield up takes some effort, but it is just as exhausting when you let the shield down and get volleyed by different emotional arrows. (If you can’t tell, I’ve had a week of I don’t even know what.)
I’ll leave you with those thoughts. Right now a pile of laundry the size of Mt. Kilimanjaro is requesting my attention. Along with Chewbacca and Auri. And more coffee. And a myriad of other things that I haven’t gotten done (even though it feels like I have worked, and in fact have worked, for hours).