I hear a lot about comfort zones. Specifically that you better jump out of them or else you will never grow and experience life. Well, thanks to my extreme anxiety, I live outside of comfort zones almost exclusively, and the things I do that may seem basic to you are often huge ordeals for me. I guess what I’m saying is that everyone is on their own journey, and some people are up to taking the road less traveled. But my little path and my baby steps are big accomplishments for me, so please don’t tell me that I’m not moving fast enough or working hard enough because you have no idea.
I realize that the phrase is meant to be motivational, and that as usual I am probably reading too far into things. But sometimes just showing up is what I’m capable of, and I already asked a lot of myself to do it. So please, don’t push if I don’t want to dance, or speak in front of people, or be the first to try it. I’m probably way outside of my comfort zone already.
One time, instead of getting ready for school (8th grade, I think), I locked myself in the bathroom and tried to kill myself. I laid at the bottom of the bathtub as it filled up, not resolved but terrified. I don’t think I was scared of dying, I was scared of myself…that I could have that much hate and anger in me, to take a life. I’ve thought of suicide before and after this episode, but this was the only time I ever actually attempted it. Thankfully I screamed my intentions to my dad, who was furious and broke down the door. Strangely, I don’t remember what happened next.
This is the problem I have with writing a memoir, or any story. I have gaps in my knowledge of the events. I think it has something to do with the bipolar, but it’s very inconvenient.
I don’t know why I’m thinking about this today. Probably because I’m still trying to figure out exactly what went wrong in my novel writing last night.
Here I am, in the aching place that hypomania left behind. This one was so brief, but blazed hard and burnt me up last night. I had to take an impromptu two hour nap just to recover, and today I still don’t feel quite right. I miss having the inspiration, the excitement. Now all I have is longing. I look at my writing notes and wonder if I will ever be able to write this fucking novel. Maybe it’s just not in me. Maybe it will only happen in the short moments of manic glory.
I thought that medication would make me perfect. That the pills would carve out all the doubt and self-loathing and replace it with confidence and commitment to the things I want for myself. Today I feel like all it’s done is made it hard to cry, and instead of big episodes that sweep through the household like a windstorm, I have just these little earthquake tremors. And that must be life.
I journaled last night. Just a page or so of whining. I don’t think it helped anything but I didn’t feel like I could draw or paint and I certainly wasn’t able to write with my heart broken up over yet another failed novel attempt. And what do you do when nothing is possible? When nothing helps?
Perhaps I need to go back to reading about my condition, studying the exercises that are supposed to give clarity. I could take my doctor’s advice and run around in the sunlight for a while, but lazing about and eating sounds much more appealing…
Just as I was ready to declare I’d never paint again, this popped out. It started off as some weird, late night, drunken paint doodle of a girl and this abstract meets anime black sheep lady face concept (I know) that had to be promptly painted over. The background was basically born out of my love of blue and black cherry paint colors and the struggle to cover up my whoops. And then when I got to the point of the tree I decided it needed something else, so I asked husband dearest what he thought.
“I don’t know why, but I see gazelles.”
Those were inspired by these cute statues we have at work. Actually they are directly plagiarized from the those cute statues at work. I found a picture.
I tried to write some poetry today.
Something about a girl bubbling over.
It was shit.
Just thought everyone should know.
Stop your surgery scratching
You’re not the doctor
Leave the splinters and pins in the heart where you found them
I’m better off hurting
No more pills more pills more
A functioning melancholic
30 doesn’t mean you’re grown up
Traffic thoughts ablaze
Love tested in self torments
Sun glares on glasses
you look once and then you’re in love
and your heart breaks into a thousand pieces
and you follow the crumbs through a hall of green,
into the ocean room
you kiss and then you’re home forever
btw, this is acrylic on black canvas with a ghost layer of doodling.
I picked at my imagination so hard that it’s a bloody, mangled mess. I do this. I pick at things. I poke bruises and peel scabs. I rub things between my fingers until they fray. There isn’t a fucking thing in this world I can’t destroy with my compulsive need to be perfect. Is that what it’s even about? I think it’s just madness masquerading as perfectionism. Because I was a kid that found a dying butterfly and made it into a lump of colored dust and little bug parts, a Darla shaking the shit out of Nemo to understand it. My paintings are proof — layers and layers of caked up paint as I demand the meaning of life to show in every stroke.
I’m in a dead end relationship with myself…a little girl who only wanted to be important when she grew up, and the animal who tried to make it happen with claws and teeth, and called itself an artist.
An old concept that never quite came together for me years ago revisited me today, and I’ve got this so far:
It’s not finished, and I’m not exactly sure what to do next. But this was good work. There’s a lot in it that’s meaningful to me (duh, wine!) and it was fun. I’ve been painting so many things lately with such specific, self-imposed guidelines that it was nice not to worry or stress during this. Hopefully that will continue as I work on it in the future…