Monday, December 24, 2012

In Which I Experience Anger

An interesting conundrum:  this year I've experienced and understood anger as I never have before in my life.

I was told yesterday that the registers would cut off at 8, which I thought un-retail-giant-like, but since it was a co-manager who stated such, I thought he spoke truth.  There was a woman with many items in her cart in electronics 9 minutes before 8, and I didn't want her to have shopped for so long for nothing.

I approached her to ask if she was finding everything all right, and first she was angry because someone hadn't given her good directions to find what she was looking for, and since she'd found it, I apologized and began to tell her the store was closing.

I was trying to get to the part about the registers and that I could ring her up back in electronics, but instead, she launched into a tirade about understanding, and how she worked in retail. I tried, once more, to speak so I could offer to ring her up at my goddamned register and she got irate and snapped at me for "harassing her." "Okay," I replied, turning away as my throat constricted and heat came to my face.

I was trying to help out of concern for her, and now, when I think about it, I either want to forgive her (she interpreted me as a threat, after all, when clearly (at least to me), I am not) or knock her entire cart over and scream in her face just to finish my sentence.  I would never speak to another human being the way she spoke to me, no matter how awful a day I was having.

A woman told me yesterday that I wasn't sorry that we didn't have what she was looking for, when I actually was, and I took offense to that too.  Why would you even say that?  I couldn't tolerate this job if I didn't like helping people, especially when they're buying gifts.

Then I went to leave. I was scheduled until 8:30, had missed Christmas dinner and an evening with my family (we celebrate on Christmas Eve), and the co-manager was at the door giving my fellow other two out-at-8:30 associates a talking to for leaving when they were scheduled to. After a minute or so of listening to his misplaced speech, including his plans to have everyone scheduled next year until 9:30, I said, "Well, my mom is right there, so can I please leave now?" "Open the door," he replied immediately, and let us go.

I absolutely hate that I'm angry about any of it. I hate that I'm upset about anything, least of all how I'm treated.  I believe I can handle a great deal of mistreatment. I've been able to handle emotionally controlling and demanding people in my personal life for years and years on end, after all.  I have to steel myself and dull my heart to disappoint anyone I cared for and who I knew cared for me.

I've dealt with being insulted by people I loved, words that attacked the core of what I value as a person and forgiven even that.  What is it? Am I worn down? Is it too high a concentration for me to process healthily?

And It would be so much worse if it was someone I cared about or worked with being mistreated, because then I have a much harder time keeping my mouth shut and I am far less caring about what the offending party feels.  I often try to take over for someone when a customer is being difficult or if I notice a coworker is getting frazzled. 

I apologize to everyone for everything.  I really wish the world was instantly thought responsive and things could come easily to us.  Yes, I really did wish we had those 60 dollar tablets so you didn't have to go away unsatisfied, ma'am.  I don't think there's need for or value in difficulty and struggling.  We can help each other out and do so pleasantly.  We can value one another more than the stuff we accumulate.

I mean, really, are we so terrified by each other that we are horrible just to reinforce distance and separation?  I must feel threatened too to get angry or sad about it, and it's absolutely ridiculous.  All of this is meaningless. Do I really believe myself to be so small as to be subject to the interpretations and beliefs of an individual perceiving me through their own subjective filter for a flicker of time? 

If so, that can change at this moment and I will never mourn its passing.

Wishing everyone peaceful, open hearts and minds.  Everyone I've ever met is much grander and magnificent a being than they dare to believe themselves to be.  That means you, and me too.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

In Which I Consider a Few Things

Okay, so I have been in a total state of "nope, just don't care" about... well, everything.  Except writing, and I sort of need to get over that. 

There are a lot of things I'd like to address, especially if I still have to live for another thirty years or so:

1. Not sitting or lying on the floor all the time has stiffened my limbs.  I might get a rug and move my main spot to the floor rather than the futon.  It's ridiculous how much less flexible my back and legs are.

2. Not having constant access to a kitchen sink impacts my eating habits tremendously.  I don't want to use a blender or my juicer at all if I can't immediately rinse them out, and I don't want to wash them in the bathtub or in a mysteriously full sink, no matter how many dishes are done and put away. Understandable, but I need to not be a lazy ass and be mindful about foodstuffs again.

3. Cigarette smoke bothers me more than I realized.  I thought I'd be visiting my aunt all the time when I moved back, but sometimes two weeks will go by without me going over there, and she only lives right next door.

4. I need a lot of alone time.  A lot.  Every day.

5. I have a rougher time interacting with people who are expecting something from me personally, be it attention, affirmation or assurance.  I feel like I just don't have it to give, and the demands feel draining. Part of this could be depression too.  People who just enjoy me who I also just enjoy are different. It's just giving happily rather than being drawn from.

6. I don't think I should be in a romantic relationship. Like, at all.  I have warm affection for people, but I don't really feel anything.  I notice that I smile more around some and I seem to be in a better mood, but as far as feelings? 

I can only look to thought patterns to determine how a person is important, because I only seem to experience three modes: glum, not-dancing, and dancing.  I think I love people because I enjoy them and wish for their well-being, but since that all seems ultimately assured, there's nothing to get worked up over.

7. My room is pretty. I'd much prefer to have my own space to do whatever I wished in, no matter who I live with in the future.

8. I have mounting anger issues. I could count on two fingers how many times I'd been angry in my life when I graduated high school.  In the last year, I couldn't count how many times my vision went white and I felt lightheaded because someone was rude, inconsiderate or just plain awful for no sensible reason. 

Retail is burning me out like an ember on my forehead, and I have to remind myself of what people are so I can get over it and not take myself so seriously.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Approaching six months

In the last thirty days, I've written my final first draft of Book 1 in the Rivermist series.  It looks like it will be four or five books, though it could end up being more, depending on word count.  We'll see.  The fact that I'm writing again is life changing down to the very core.

I'm not saving any money whatsoever because I'm a self-indulgent child.  Also, buying gas for a sizable pickup is pretty draining.  The job is devoid of any lasting satisfaction beyond helping people solve momentary troubles and enjoying my coworkers.

In the last few months, though, I'm finding myself in a precarious position.  Mostly self-reflection--I'm getting worse at it, I think--and the issues surrounding my uninterpretable heart.  I don't know if I've never recovered or if the belief of perfect love between two who believe themselves to be humans is just gone.

I don't know how other people live. I don't understand attraction and what brings people together.  I don't want to hurt anyone, and I don't want to reject anyone either. I genuinely love many people, and over time, I've developed deep affection for people, but romance? It's become a foreign concept.  It seems like Platonic love is purer; romance too often seems like desperate wanting/demanding something from someone else.  It doesn't have to be.  I don't want it to be.

My heart and nerves are worryingly numb.  I just don't feel things and physically, nothing seems to touch me. 

I've been wondering for many years if I'll ever fall again, and I wonder if that sort of love can grow without that instant fated feeling.  I don't want to be a fraud.  No one deserves that.  Disappointing someone deeply just seems inevitable, and I'm sorry.  I don't know how to make it okay.

My thoughts seem to point in one direction, but I don't feel the things I think.  It's probably ultimately for the best that I remain empty.  I wish I could genuinely be what people want me to be, but I know there's no one I can really help or fulfill.  I can share.  I can enjoy.  I cannot save.  And I still want to.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

In Which I Hallucinate a Mental Lava Lamp: Ganzfeld 2

Turns out, extended phone calls are perfect for Ganzfeld experiments (cut ping pong balls in twain, shape them to fit over the eyes, and voila--unified field of vision).  

Within a minute, the visual field disappeared from perception, and because I was paying more attention to the conversation than to what my eyes weren't seeing, slow pulses of blue-violet began to well up through the otherwise colorless field. 

A spectrum of green, blue and violet shifted constantly through the visual field. Occasional patterns emerged--a few times a sphere of the prettiest electric violet seemed to float up through an opening where the underside of an umbrella was perceptible. 

The visuals resisted my attempt to control them, and a few other attempts brought on a quick-pulse phase, where everything was in a state of fast vibration and I knew I was only seeing the "on" moments of vision. 

It's quite hard to explain a colorless field, but it is not an experience I'm likely to forget.  Seeing but having the brain shut off vision and then replace the visual field with its own construction is as equally fascinating, and I'm wondering if I can, with practice, convince the brain to expand the visual field beyond the angle usually afforded by the eyes. 

Having seen a 180 degree field in lucid dreams makes me very interested in attaining that state in a more easily accessible way.

Other things I noticed:  moving my hand and seeing an imperfectly placed phantom of it where it would be if my vision wasn't obscured, the physical experience of the visual pulsing effects, and the ease of returning to the state after a brief interruption.

Just what can the brain do when it becomes accustomed to the Ganzfeld?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

In Which I Mutilate Ping Pong Balls

The What: The Ganzfeld effect occurs when a person stares into an undifferentiated visual field for a bit.  The brain starts to “fill in the blanks” and hallucinations tend to occur. 

The Why:  Sounds like my kind of thing.  Hallucinations while sober?  Sign me up.  I experience hypnagogic hallucinations regularly, and if I lay awake for a long time in the dark, shapes arise, usually layers of intricate designs that remind me of the artwork on playing cards.  If I'm really focused, I can bring color into it.  If I'm extremely tired, usually from a long bus trip, I can close my eyes and see a scene as clearly as I can with my eyes open.  I already see plenty of things that I know aren't physically external, so this simply seems like an opportunity to experience it at will.

The How:  Procedure!  Ping pong balls, when cut and shaped to fit over the eyes, provide a featureless field of uniform vision.  So I did that.  I also downloaded a white noise app with a setting for a static sound and used plug-type headphones to block external noise.  A light is supposed to shine into the experimenter's face, but I simply looked toward my lamp to prevent shadows.  Next time, brighter lamp.

I just realized wandering about whimpering “my eyes, my eyes” while wearing Ganzfeld goggles would be cruel to anyone who cares for me. 

Observations:  It took awhile, but eventually I realized I was no longer seeing white.  There was no more experience of color.  In one of my stories, a character is in a completely featureless place, and this was exactly what I was imagining it to be like.  It was as equally white as black, or as red as yellow or purple.  Total neutrality.  That was the only out of the ordinary experience on the visual side. 

The strangest thing was that whatever I paid attention to in my body started to happen.  I could feel my heartbeat against the edge of one of the ping pong balls, and with attention, I moved the pulse across my face and down into my hand or foot.  I could extend it to occupy my entire head.  I imagined pain, and experienced it wherever I directed it.  Also successfully experienced at will:  warmth, coldness, and tingling.

My eyes got pretty tired, so I ended up shutting them only to see a black field alight with pinpricks of various hues.  The particles of light shaped what looked like a shed.  My response was, “really?  All that and I should have just laid here with my eyes closed?” 

Blocking external sound was important—but I'll be experimenting with instrumental music as well as other forms of noise.  If you've ever experienced riding a song emotionally, you'll understand why.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

In Which I Use Retail Experience in the Real World

We have a neighbor who is... honestly, uncomfortable to live next to.  There's a wooden fence between our yards, and it was no longer there, big chunks suddenly missing.

And then he decided to cut stuff down on our side.  Lilies, Jerusalem artichokes, things that were purposefully planted.  About four feet of ground on our side had been cut down.

So tonight, Moma brought home fencing and stakes. You may not know this about me, but I can get pretty avoidant.  Default settings have me hiding from situations.  I really didn't want to go over there while they were home, but the Moma is fierce when she's angry, so we started putting up the fence.

There's a build up of dirt demarking the line where the fence used to be. We stayed about four or five inches in,  mostly because the fence was built on the property line, although permanent structures like wooden fences are supposed to be four inches inside property lines.

I had to hammer stakes in by standing on my tiptoes and holding the sledge at an awkward angle. The pounding brought the sister outside. 

"You line that up," she said. "Line it up."
"Yep," I replied, my small, acknowledging smile reflexively on my face.  "That's what we're working on."
"Just make sure you line it up," she gestured.  I realized she was acting exactly like a flustered manager.  Holy damn, she was acting JUST like a manager.
"Doug, you better get out here," she called for her brother.  "Doug!"
Wow, I thought.  A lot of crazy comes right from fear.

Doug is the guy who wrote a nearly incomprehensible letter about a month or so ago, going on about how he was going to pester the cops about my aunt's dude.  He makes me nervous, straight up.  He peeked out and disappeared again. 

Goodness, I thought, getting bolder with my attitude, they're just bullies who talk and talk behind the walls of their high security compound, but when it comes down to it, they won't do anything.  Though apparently he may have actually hit my aunt with a lawn mower and may have actually punched Norm?

Putting in the next stake, I was committed to being steel. I ignored the motion off to my side and tried getting that damned stake into the ground, when I see good ol Doug walking up with a massive sledgehammer.

He hammered the stake, being none too careful about knocking it off course or avoiding hitting my hand (managed to avoid it though).  "Thank you very much," I said, hearing my customer service voice come out of my mouth.

He stood and watched, as I knew he would, as we wired the fence and commented on how well I'd wrapped the wires.  He stood, of course, as close as he could.  Space encroacher.  Big time.  I pretend I'm oblivious to these things by not reacting. A surprising lot of human interactions are immediate attempts at getting attention or energy.  Cats and children are more obvious with their attempts. Adults just manipulate each other for it.

I kept wondering if he had a motive for his comments, whether he was attempting to be flirtatious or if he was planning sabotage.  But this was lonely person ramble.  This was "I only have my sister to talk to and I'm going to be fifty in a few years" ramble.  I know this sort of thing and know how to deal with it without being truly uncomfortable.  He pointed out that his sledgehammer had been burned when his "garage burned down." 

The garage certainly didn't burn down. It caught fire, sure.  Burn down? No.

We ran out of fence but the Moma was just trying to get the back where the chickens sometimes get loose closed off. One of her hens vanished yesterday, probably prompting the fencing ordeal. 

"Thanks again," I said, as we retreated back inside, picking up our movie where we paused it. And then he was at the window.  The fucking living room window, not the door at the front or back, but at the window.  Where we sleep.  Well, where my moma sleeps. I've been sleeping in my room.  Still!

"Moma," I said, trying to warn her somehow.  I blocked the window with cats and my shoulders so he couldn't see in.

He stood there with maybe three whole feet of fencing. "I found this that you could use," he held up a bit, green bindweed still hanging onto the wires.

"Oh, no thanks," I answered.  "We have some. But thank you."
And then I noticed how far down his shorts were. Like, I could see the crease between belly and thigh, but his shirt was low enough (thankfully) that I was spared any of the front view.  I'm not accusing anyone of froward intentions, just saying that it bothered me. It could have just been that he was having trouble keeping his shorts up.  He toddled down the driveway with his bit of fencing, and I was then paranoid for the rest of the evening.

I'm mowing the front yard tomorrow morning.  Wish me luck.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

In Which I am Likely to Blather at Length

I spend an awful lot of time thinking about how crappy the world is and how some dragons and maybe even a unicorn would spruce the place up. Less starvation and murdering and more "wheeeee I'm flying," or, "hey, look, it's an itty bitty scaly dwagon awww."

I think it all comes from individuals, me, in this case, having an enduring desire to somehow feel special, because then, you see, I will matter.

Aye, thar be the crux.

We all want to matter. We want our suffering and struggling to pay off. We want to buy our way into favor. We each believe certain stories about ourselves and we identify with them fiercely. Some of us even find our specialness by denying we buy into the idea of specialness in the first place.

But see, we're trying to validate our stories, not ourselves. What I am is what I am. It does not change due to some face I wear or what dance I perform or even what I think about myself.  People talk about defining themselves, but often that means sharpening their contrast against others.  And the distinction between me and you and a potted plant is getting pretty blurry. It's just a story.

I know I've been all broken record lately.  I think about this more often than just about anything else. Maybe I should be focusing on what does feel real and what does seem to matter instead of whining about a broken world and my own blindness. 

There is an echo of my brush with a grander reality underlying my insistance. I knew, recognized, felt timelessness. Words fail. And I wish very much to experience that again. Maybe only that.  Knowing what you are is joy.  Knowing there is no need to be afraid, ever is liberation. 

I want to know that I'm free, and I want to show others that they are too.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

In Which I am Cheerful Due to the Ingestion of B Vitamins

For about a month now, I've lived with the Moma, worked with new folks and felt that I've done very, very little work, professionally and personally. I've also been pretty depressed off and on (not likely to be a coincidence).

I especially enjoy evenings sitting outside with my aunt, cousins and sometimes the Moma. Last night the fireflies came out, but so did bats. I have a fondness for bats--actually, I have a fondness for everything--but I was admittedly thrilled to watch them circling the backyard, clicking and narrowly avoiding each other. One of them grazed a gutter but was apparently unharmed.

There are, however, some down sides. Well, one downside. The neighbor on the north side of my mom's (my aunt lives on the south side) is a little bit of a... I don't really know how to describe him. He has a feud with my aunt's dude, and the only reason is that the guy (we call him the Bear in the Big Blue House because none of us remember his name) might be insane.

I think he must be pretty lonely and bored. He's been firing off fireworks, mostly bottle rockets and firecrackers every day, sometimes going on after 11 pm. His garage caught fire two weeks ago, and last week he started yelling across the yard. My mom was out tending to the ducks when she heard, "Hey, Norm!"

Bear was in the backyard. He'd taken down the privacy fence between his driveway and my mom's side yard, and could see through to my Aunt's, where my cousin's dude was doing yardwork. He yelled something to the effect of, "you just wait until tonight, I've got a surprise for you. I know people you don't."

This, of course, was rather upsetting to my aunt. Instead of the confrontation I was concerned about, his surprise was a letter scrawled in red ink, left in the middle of the night on the front door with duct tape. He wrote his address, but wrote "thouth" instead of south and "arirprot" instead of airport. The rest was reasonably spelled, strangely enough.

The letter was vaguely threatening, in that he insisted that he found Norm was a bad influence to the neighborhbood and that he was going to tell the landlord about the activities going on and pester the police ("pester" was written in the margin) until Norm was arrested or kicked out.

But so far, nothing. Keeping our fingers crossed. I am really quite patient, but harassing my family? No. Legal action will be taken if it has to be.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

In Which Excessive Ruminations Produce Ponderings About Hell

Hell is the single most destructive concept to ever poison a mind.

The ultimate scare tactic, the concept of Hell demands inextricable beliefs that twist and warp our ideas about ourselves and our creator. We are traumatized to the point where many of us dare not question it, many refusing to even think about its ramifications.

If Hell exists, we cannot say that our creator is loving. If an all-powerful entity would even conceive of punishing or tormenting limited entities with limited perspectives for any reason, that entity lacks compassion and understanding. There is no justice in damnation.

From the idea of the existence of hell, we have spun a world where we face judgment from God, and in turn, from our society, our parents, and ourselves. We find ourselves scrabbling to make ourselves worthy, and so, find ourselves seeking validation from something outside of us. If we are approved of, we will not be cast out. From this mindset, we are powerless, subject to the whims of an untrustworthy creator who made us as we are, thrusting us into an unkind world, demanding that we feel, think or do only what is acceptable.

This is madness.

Yet we live this. We are conditioned to accept hierarchy, allowing someone else to have control of our daily activities, allowing ourselves to be subject to a system which demands we obey or be cast aside, having no intrinsic value as an entity. Why do we subjugate ourselves to this slavery? Some part of us subconsciously believes in a system of balances and entitlements. We are trying to buy our way into Heaven.

As a society, we feel that someone is more deserving of reward if they have suffered. We believe our pain earns us a place of value. There are plenty of people who make themselves out to be victims so they can feel deserving of peace, paying for their admission to Heaven/acceptance. What sort of God would demand such a thing? What could we give to an omnipotent being that it does not already have? What need would God have for our sacrifice?

So many of us are so deeply terrified of punishment that we dare not ask ourselves these fundamental questions! If God is omnipotent, omniscient, the ultimate and absolute, why would God demand anything from us? If God created us as we are, then God would have already had anything that would have been instilled into us. If God demands anything from us, it must be out of want or need, a lack that God wishes to be fulfilled. There is no reasoning to support this.

God cannot be loving if Hell exists. It is one or the other.

The scriptures of the Abrahamic religions do not depict God as a loving entity in any shape or form. Christianity offers the teachings of Christ, which are very much about forgiveness and love, yet the story has been recast into a tale of long-suffering and sacrifice to appease a bloodthirsty God. Jesus is offered as a means to salvation, a shield against the rage of the Divine.

This is deeper madness yet.

Perhaps it is the case that people are quite content to believe in a petty tyrant dictator as a creator. What does this make an individual being? An isolated flame that may be snuffed out at any moment, without value, a temporary flicker across the screen of the movie of the world? An entity which, if it suffers and kowtows and abides by arbitrary rules, can be exalted to the reaches of eternal peace and joy?

Or perhaps, Hell is a symptom of a yet more foundational belief, one which fuels the search for something greater than ourselves, one that stirs the undercurrent driving religions and philosophies and life itself.

We believe ourselves to be separate from each other, from our planet, our universe and whatever else we have yet to conceive of. We feel separate from our source, whatever that may be. And that is hell, for all of us. Strangely enough, in that, we are united. When we feel connected to someone or something else, it overrides whatever perceived surface definition and distinctions. Stripping away color and gender, religion and perspective, a moment of connection shows us what we are and what others are—the same. It may only be a step, but it is a step worth taking, a step worthy of any entity, be it infinite, eternal or mayfly ephemeral.

What this means for us is ever deeper than anything fear could inflict precisely because it erases fear. Through moments of clarity, we can see that fear does not show us reality but instead colors and twists it into something it is not. Hell is not reality. Separation cannot be reality either, even though it is what fear tells us about ourselves.  Without fear, we are joyous beings.

Our idea of Hell may be the only thing keeping us from Heaven.

Friday, April 20, 2012

In Which Reality Starts to Set In

The other day, I woke up at my mom's, on the futon in the living room, surrounded by cats. It was 6:30, and my mom had already left for work. Unable to sleep, I went down the hallway, figuring I could work on clearing what will be my room again. There were a few issues with this.

Firstly, my mom's been using my room as storage (which is also what she uses the other two bedrooms for) so it's actually mostly just housing furniture. At some point in the past, my mom decided to string clothesline everywhere because her dryer is kaput. Now she hangs the laundry in the bathroom on three curtain rods, clothes-pinned to hangers. Say what you like, but my mom is resourceful. If the infrastructure of life as we know it is demolished, there's no one I'd rather be living with.

The last time I was there, I'd cleared some floor space and established a foothold—simply, a central location to stand in and move in. This time, that was undone. It was like bags of clothing had exploded. I knew this was somehow progress—and tried to remind myself that my mom has been doing endless loads of laundry with everything she's evacuated, but, visibly, it was a bit of a blow. I wasn't going to go through my mom's clothes. I closed the door behind me and noticed that the bottom hinges of the door dividing the general disarray of the house from my 9x9 soon-to-be-haven were sort of not really attached. Like, at all.

It's nothing a few screws can't fix, but portal stability was suddenly questionable.  What if it doesn't work?  What if it all implodes into my space, compounding, compacting, squishing me along with it?  

Unwilling to attempt further progression in room-clearing, I returned to the futon, moving two cats aside to make space for my rear, and began writing a pros and cons list. When I first started thinking about moving, it was something like this:

See my family ALL THE TIME Transportation will be difficult
Save mad $$$$ while paying off little bills completely Leaving awesome people behind
Get a driver's license and help moma get a decent car with my badass credit score

Yard, gardening, be more active

This time, my list looks a little more like this:

Seeing my family all the time Lack of solitude, little totally alone time.
More opportunities to do social stuff More distractions
Saving money I'd usually pay for rent Will probably still end up spending everything because everyone else is broke all the time
More physically active; gardening, lawn mowing, housework Clothing covered with cat hair or chock full o' smoke
Room for yoga, taking walks safely Eminent and probable destruction of belongings, either from cats, mice or mildew
Help Moma keep the house in order Hard to deal with this degree of clutter and the speed with which it accumulates
Getting a driver's license Relying on others for transportation at first
Help Moma get a car This alone will probably entirely deplete anything I was trying to save
Little emotional or dietetic expectations Not going out that much anymore
Healthier, less expensive options for work lunches Leaving my awesome coworkers
Compost/gardening, maybe grow my own food Feeling like it's my mom's house and respecting her personal boundaries
More personal freedom Where in the hell is there to go?!  It's still Saginaw, ass.

I mean, I'm still totally doing it, of course, but actually sharing living space with the Moma again is going to be... different. It's been ten years. She's used to having her house to herself, and I'm used to having many nights entirely to myself. I don't know. I'm just more than a little concerned about getting stuck in Saginaw, my lifelong fear.

But it's all up to me, and not someone else. And that makes all the difference.  Or at least, I'll keep telling myself that until I leave again.

Friday, April 13, 2012

In which I declare my intent to become a boomerang

In a little over a month, I, a nearly thirty (non-productive) writer, (barely productive) artist, (directionless) theorist, and (outstanding) provider of retail-based customer service, will be moving back in with my mother after about ten years more or less on my own.

Oh boy.

It came about because our (my partner's and my) lease will be up June first; he's moving to another town where he hopes to attend graduate school and I... well, I didn't want to go.

We've lived in Lansing, Michigan for almost two years. It's an all right place with an excellent mass transit system, an easily and safely navigable downtown, and some of the more awesome people I've been lucky enough to meet in my life. And as pleasant as it's been, I have not been focused on following any of the dreams I once had for myself. I say “once had” because I set them aside, by and large, due mostly to my belief that I “couldn't” do anything about them. Anything that's dependent on someone else just didn't seem at all feasible.

I've paralyzed myself when it comes to writing. Since I finished my Master's degree, I have written a bit—but before I started school, I filled between 15 and 20 pages a day, by hand, both sides of the page, absolutely absorbed. Maybe it just worked that way. That was the time when I could produce, produce, produce and now I can revise, revisit and rework. Note: that was well over ten years ago.

See, I have this story. Series of stories. Okay, I have nine book length stories of a fantasy and sci-fi series that spans several million years, a few planets and maybe even a cycle of creation in the grand scale of the universe. I might be on draft 25 of book one. I always intend for the newest draft to be the last one before I put it out there. I sent it to Tor once a few years ago and had a teeny bit of pride at having a real life rejection letter from a real life publisher.

The world is a different place for writers than it was ten years ago. I can self-publish on Amazon in e-book form. I can put up .pdf files for free for anyone who cares to read them. I can be read and judged and dismissed and maybe even liked. But, like everything else in my life, I've just felt like I “couldn't” write.

Just like I suddenly felt like I “couldn't” move, not again, for purposes having nothing to do with what I wanted. I love my partner, of course, and wish the absolute best for him. I hope he gets to do what he wants to do. I just... don't mind if I'm not a central part of it. I can't keep going at a pointless job, distracting myself with video games and Facebook and all the things I'm actually tired of on the Interwebs.

What can I do in six months? What can I do before 2013? And why is time such a huge factor in this for me?

I feel like I need to get sorted.

Telling my mother that we were moving, I expressed my reluctance and frustrations. “I just want to live on the futon in your living room.”

My mother responded, “We can do that.”

And one of those obligatory light switch “a-ha!” moments came.  I eased into it in discussion with my partner. “I might...” I started with, but made the decision final when he pressed me. He was looking for apartments, hoping to find one near a bus line because I (nearly thirty) never got a license. I refused to be a bother—my mother doesn't find me a bother, though she soon might—and made a definitive decision—the quickest I might have ever made.

I'm going home. I'll recuperate, I'll write, I'll save money from my pointless job, get a license, help my mother get a decent car, spend a wonderful summer with my beloved cousins, and eventually I will move somewhere I want to live and go to a school I want to go to instead of settle for or pass time in.

And hopefully, by the end of this year, I'll have a finished book on Amazon.