When someone who is a writer hasn’t written in a while, there are quite possibly a number of reasons why:
- They are busy with life
- They have lost inspiration
- They’ve written, but decided it’s crap and won’t share it
- The ideas are bubbling in their head, but there are too many and not enough ambition or motivation to follow through
I am sure there are more reasons than that, but I have experienced all four of those in the last several months.
It’s not that I haven’t written. I’ve written. I just don’t think any of it is good or complete enough to share it with the rest of the world.
Winter strips me of my humanity. I am a walking, eating, sleeping shell, who wanders through her days, seeking only the comforts of alcohol, a warm blanket, or the vicarious vacation of watching others on television.
Sometimes, there is far too much going on inside my head, or emotionally, for me to even begin to comprehend how to put those thoughts to paper.
Yesterday was Friday. I had no plans. I also had no desire to make them. I was feeling eerily down for no reason, except possibly the effects of my birth control, this weather, or the general existential angst I’ve been feeling for quite some time. I chose to lie on the couch and eat garlic bread and pizza I had ordered. I never order food when I am alone; this was an exception.
Quite drastically, something clicked over in my brain. Sort of like when a record player shifts over the grooves to the next song. I decided that I was tired of being tired. For weeks now, I have been mulling over how, lately, I am the opposite of everything my blog stands for. I have been extremely mediocre—hating it with a passivity—but mediocre, nonetheless.
Part of the problem is that I’ve lost my goal. Somewhere in the past few months I have literally misplaced the part of me that has hope. It’s been a weird sort of depression I’ve never felt before. Usually, I’ll feel ambivalence or deep pain, but never without hopefulness.
In that moment of stark realization, I had been looking at one of those online coaching programs—the ones that, through virtual means, motivate you to strive for your health and weight goals. You know, like having a personal trainer, except not.
It’s been too bare and bleak outside for me to consider being alive again. I’ve dealt with this deadness by eating. In doing so, I’ve gained back the weight I’ve lost in the past few months. I am angry at myself, which makes it worse. So, yesterday, I decided to accept that life has these natural waves and to do something about it.
I joined this online coaching program for a free two-week trial. In the set-up, it asks me:
What are your deepest reasons for why you want to reach your goal?
After giving a brief answer, it prompts me again:
Is this the real reason, or is there more?
I wrote more.
This short, virtual prompting by a non-human was strangely so thoughtful and perfect. In those few moments, I was able to succinctly put into words a large quantity of what has been bothering me for months.
It was always in my head, but placing it on paper had a real impact.
I want to have hopefulness and strive for goals. Why? It asked me.
Because I don’t want to be depressed or have existential angst.
Is this the crux of it…?
I don’t feel like me. I miss the old me.
I have known this for a long time, but verbalizing it gave it power again.
What is the old me?
Well, a lot of things, but when I wrote that I was thinking about the old, physical me, for starters. A girl who was comfortable in her own skin and looked in the mirror every day and thought (mostly) that she was beautiful and radiant.
The old me also had dreams, hobbies, energy, and spirit.
She didn’t look forward to drinking as an escape from reality. She didn’t sit on the couch, watching television for hours so the aching she felt inside could be tamped down. She looked forward to full stretches of days alone, where she could practice guitar, write, do arts and crafts, go for walks in the woods, and feel the cosmic love of the universe pour down upon her in gentle, reminding waves of compassion.
I don’t feel any of that anymore. Literally, none of it. Today, is the first day in a very long time I have felt anything.
Knowing that every day was one I was sleepily rolling through, like a person in a crowd on an escalator, was making me mediocre. Mediocrity led to helplessness and uselessness. I do not like being alive just so I can eat snacks, watch a movie, or go to work. I like being alive because I know I have some purpose. If I am not contributing to this existence in any way, I don’t want to be here.
This is the existential angst I’ve been feeling.
My dreams have been filled with nightmares and destruction for weeks. I wonder if this was my body’s way of trying to cause motion again?
My problems are far from being resolved, and this is only day one of the first step, but I have at least identified and verbalized what is causing me such stagnation.
I have finally chosen to listen to myself.