Tag Archives: writing

Thirty-Five


I’ve thought for years that 2013 would be my year – the year when everything finally worked out, and I’d be “successful” (whatever that means). I thought this because I was convinced that I would come into my own when I finally turned thirty-five. I’m not sure why I thought this, but I just did.

After the weekend I’ve just had, I would have to be fucking Pollyanna to continue to believe that this is going to be the case. For the last forty-eight hours, I’ve basically lain in bed the whole time, staring at the ceiling, and crying.  I was supposed to go to work yesterday, and today, but I called in sick. I don’t think I’m going to go tomorrow either.

I have done no housework for days, and there is barely a clean dish to make myself any food, so I don’t eat anything or, if I do, it’s cereal. Much to my eternal shame and guilt, I also didn’t feed any of the pets until long after the usual time because I couldn’t rouse myself to get out of bed to do so.

I have no clean clothes, and, in fact, I’ve slept in the ones I’m currently wearing two nights in a row. It goes without saying that I haven’t brushed my teeth or washed my face, and my hair looks like I stuck my finger in an electric socket.

I also haven’t cleaned the litter boxes in days, which is a big, big problem when you have so many cats. What with the terrible stench in the house and my dishevelled, dirty appearance, I am a classic crazy cat lady.

I feel very hopeless, isolated and lonely. I know that I need to get back to meditating, and start working the SLAA steps, but both of these tasks seem so daunting, and time-consuming. I want a quick fix! I know that’s lazy, but I do. Or I want a guarantee that meditating and doing the steps will revolutionize my life. I want the promise of results, goddammit!

I think that part of the reason I’ve stopped meditating and haven’t started working the steps yet is because I am scared to death that they won’t help me. This makes no logical sense whatsoever, but, in some way, it’s comforting not to do anything, as that way I can hold on to the hope that there is something out there that could help me. If I start meditating/working the steps, and they don’t help, then I’ll have nothing. All hope will be gone.

It’s the same way with writing. How much easier it is to sit on the sidelines, bitching about other people I consider less talented than myself who are successful writers than actually getting around to doing any writing myself. It’s comforting to think of myself as a talented writer who “just cannot get started” rather than a “writer manqué” who just doesn’t have it in her to be successful.

I don’t have faith in anything at the moment – not myself and certainly not a Higher Power.

 

You’re So Vain (Part 2)


It’s one of those days, folks – a day when I haven’t got a single intelligent thing to say. But I’ve promised myself I’ll write every day in this blog even if this means that I just write crap. This was a personal goal of mine, but, hell, even Leo Babauta over at Zen Habits says it’s a good idea. I’m sitting at the airport now, waiting for my flight back home, and I really didn’t feel like writing anything but then “You’re So Vain” started playing, and that seemed like too much of a coincidence to ignore.

I’m depressed to be heading back. It seems like nothing in my life is going well. Professionally, personally, emotionally and spiritually I feel adrift. I work up feeling depressed, and then felt better later, but the depression hit me again later as I was having lunch with my friend in a café. I’m not sure if the Prozac is working, but, well, I’ve only been on it for a week, so I guess I should give it more of a chance.

I bought a pair of expensive jeans today, and I was depressed looking at myself in the mirror in the store. Yeah, I know, first world problems, right? But, well, I never claimed that I wasn’t superficial with a head filled only with vapid thoughts. I’m attractive, but I think I could be a lot more toned. I seem to have put on weight over the last few weeks. Then again, it’s really hard for me to know whether I look good or not, as I probably have Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Any time I think I look good, people say I look unhealthily thin. After seeing myself in the mirror, I decided that I would start training for another marathon again to get more toned, but I don’t know if that’s a good idea. I’m so fucking busy – I’ll be starting work on the SLAA steps next week, and meeting with my sponsor weekly; attending the Zen center at least once a week; going to at least one SLAA meeting once a week; meditating daily; looking after my ten pets; singing in my band; blogging daily and, oh yeah, working forty hours per week. Do I really have time to train for a marathon as well?

I can’t believe I’m about to quote a Radiohead lyric from 1992 (clearly, I never outgrew my emo phase), but “I want a perfect body; I want a perfect soul”. Marathon running and honing my body probably shouldn’t be a priority in my life right now. I should probably be focusing on my recovery. But I just can’t stand the idea of growing older, and not being attractive anymore.

I want to be a Buddha, but, well, a really fucking hot Buddha.

 

Habit


I don’t have much to report today. But I’ve decided to write anyway since my two “top lines” in SLAA are  to mediate and write every day. I’m sure that it’s common to have far more than two top lines, but my life has always consisted of a big list of “shoulds”, so I decided to keep it simple, as there’s less chance of my freaking out that way, and self-sabotaging. My pattern is to impose a lot of rigid rules on myself, and then panic, break them all on purpose, and hate myself for doing so. I’m not quite sure where that comes from, but I’m sure it’s got something to do with my overbearing, over-controlling mother. I feel like I have two people inside me – my mother who’s telling me to do something and me, as a child, who wants to yell – and sometimes does – “Fuck you, mother!”

The biggest challenge for me is not getting to my meditation cushion or to my desk; the challenge for me is believing that there’s a point in writing or meditation if I can’t do it “properly”. Meditating “properly” means sitting down for at least thirty minutes and, ideally, I’d do that twice a day – once in the morning, and once in the evening – but that has yet to happen. I do usually manage to sit for thirty minutes once a day.

When I was twenty-one, I went on a ten-day, silent Vipassana retreat in France, where I had to get up at 4:30 a.m. every morning, and practically meditated the whole way through until 9:00 p.m. I’m not sure I ever want to go on a silent retreat again (actually I didn’t mind the not talking part – although my friends would be astounded given that I’m known for not being able to shut up for more than two seconds – but the no-reading/no-writing rule really got to me!) but I will forever be grateful for my first introduction to mediation and Buddhism. However, the one bad thing about the retreat was that we were told that we needed to continue our practice at home by meditating for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. Two hours of mediation a day!? Well, I’m sure this is indeed optimal, but how many people have that kind of time to spare? I managed to keep up the two-hour meditation rule for the first couple of weeks at home, but it became too much after that. A healthier person wouldn’t have beaten themselves up for this slip, and would have simply tried to do what they could, but ever the black-and-white thinker, I couldn’t tolerate such compromise. I either meditated for two hours a day, or I thought “Fuck it!” and did nothing at all. Soon I just stopped meditating altogether.

To be honest, I still don’t really see how meditating for just five minutes a day (if that’s all I can manage) is going to help me at all. But I guess the idea is to just develop a meditation habit, and take it from there. Research shows apparently that if you stick to a new activity for twenty-one days, then you form a habit.

As for writing, my dilemma is very similar to the one I have with meditation. “What is the fucking point of just writing in a blog about the pitiful, little, self-obsessed dramas of your life?” my bitchy mother’s voice asks me. “That’s not going to help you start a career as a freelance writer!”. My bitchy mother is right in a way, of course, as I really would like to do some “real” writing, but I do think it’s important to write here every day. I’m incredibly lonely, and it’s nice to write something and say “Hello, world! I’m here! I have a voice!”. And again, it’s back to the matter of creating a habit. I shouldn’t feel that I can only write something when the muse strikes.

It doesn’t matter how unimportant, uninspired, uninteresting or short a blog post might be, I just need to do it!

Just fucking do it!

Breaking Promises


Hello, little blog. It’s been a while – a month to be exact. I got a little tired of walking to the lake at lunchtime to blog frantically for the last fifteen minutes of my lunch break. It wasn’t terribly relaxing.

Not much to report as usual. Same old dead-end job; broke; tired, depressed; self-hating and self-defeating. The cherry on the top of my shit cake is that our landlords, and their evil property management company, are absolute cunts (I mean, seriously, that word was invented for them), and they’re trying to get rid of us…for what? For standing up for our rights really. It’s all a bit stressful. Of course,  I suppose I could just roll over and let them shaft me up the arse, but, nah, I don’t think so. I’ll be seeing them down the JP Court, thank you very much.

The one bright light in my tunnel of doom is that I am in a new musical project. I met a musician on Craigslist (is there anything you can’t find on that website?!) and we’re getting along very well, both musically and personally. Well, he could be a bit more emotive, and say what he means more often, but, well, you can’t have everything.

My only concern about this project is that I have neglected my “own music”. I was supposed to be coming home at night and practising piano, and making my music. To be honest, though, I prefer working with somebody who challenges me and tells me what to do. It’s not that I don’t have ideas; oh, I have plenty of ideas, and that’s the problem. I have a hard time focusing on just one idea, and I get terrified and overwhelmed by them all, and then I don’t do anything. It’s a relief to let somebody else steer me a little.

I feel guilty that I don’t have enough gumption or “get up and go” to make music on my own, but maybe that’s just the kind of person I am, creatively. Maybe I just need structure. My life kind of fell to pieces after university because I wasn’t used to not having a place to be, an essay to write, a book to read etc. In my last year, when everybody was freaking out about our final exams, I was a little oasis of calm. I must be the only person who actually enjoyed finals. And I’ll tell you why – it was the fucking papers we had to write throughout the year that terrified me because, technically speaking, there was no fucking end to the amount of research I could do. And that’s what happened. I would research a paper for weeks, and weeks, and weeks until I had so much fucking information I didn’t know what to do with it. In comparison, two weeks of finals, which had so much ridiculous significance for my overall grade, were nothing. A three hour exam in which I have to write something about Goethe? Pfft. Bring it on. I loved the fucking time limit. I loved being limited.

It’s the same thing when it comes to writing. I have so many ideas, but I just don’t know where to get started. I just wish somebody would fucking hire me, and tell me what subject to write about. Sigh.

 

 

Needlework


I’m back at my cliff, still throwing things off. No wait – that’s Björk. My reality is far less romantic. I’m back at my altar, munching on a tuna sandwich and trying desperately to squeeze in some writing before I have to head back to the office.

It’s at times like these that I am filled with admiration for all those long-dead female writers who had to snatch whatever precious moments they could to fit in some writing. Five minutes here, before putting the kids to bed; ten minutes there before getting the dinner on the table; twenty minutes before the men of the household interrupt your embroidery session, and you have to stash your beautiful words underneath your needlework.

Snatching time here and there to write – create – has long been the preserve of women. Virginia Woolf wanted a room of her own, but I find, perversely enough, that it’s easier to create when I’m limited. My room scares me because there are too many possibilities so I get anxious and end up doing nothing.

I don’t kid myself that these 10-minute blogging sessions are great literature. But I’ve surprised myself by just how meaningful they are – at least to me. First of all, I’m not as dull as I thought it would be and, secondly, they keep me connected to writing and, through my readers, to the wider world beyond.

It’s fucking priceless, that’s what it is. It’s helping me become less of a perfectionist.

Still a moany wee shite.


Wow, I had no idea that the last time I posted on here was January 6th! I thought my last post was in mid-February. I should have realized it was a long time when I attempted to log into WordPress, and had a hard time remembering my user ID and password. Thanks to those chipmunk aficionados, though, my stats haven’t taken much of a beating. In fact, insultingly, my busiest day ever was January 7th with over 300 hits!

Since I’ve been gone, lots of things have happened. “MM” and I passed our immigration interview, and so now I have a two-year green card. I’ll get the ten-year one at the end of next year (if we haven’t got divorced, that is!). I also passed my driving test about a month ago. Both of these things mean that it will be much easier for me to find a teaching job. I’ve been substitute teaching in a neighbouring school district in the hope that that will help me get my foot in the door there.

You’d think I’d be happy, wouldn’t you? But, well, I wouldn’t be the same moany wee shite you know and love if I was happy. I still have days (like today and yesterday actually) when I’m crushingly depressed, and I wish I could just stay in bed all day. I fantasize about slashing my wrists, or putting a bullet through my head. I don’t know why I feel this way. It just seems that nothing ever changes. I feel hopeless.

Last week was a particularly difficult week, as it always is in Mid-March, because there was a massive music festival here. Every year I’m reminded by all the musicians floating around of how I’m a talented singer and yet I do nothing, absolutely fucking nothing, with my talent. It’s the same thing with writing. I have all these ideas for articles, but I never do anything.

I picked up my copy of “The Artist’s Way” this morning, and read through the first chapter with the intention of working through all the exercises. Maybe this time it’ll help unblock me. I can’t help but be discouraged, though, whenever I look at the date I wrote on the inside cover when I started using it the first time – January 15th 2007. 2007! More than three years have passed, and still I’m completely artistically frustrated and blocked. Admittedly, I didn’t really follow the book properly, so it’s no bloody wonder I failed.

At the weekend, I posted an ad online to see if I can find musicians to collaborate with. Every so often I’ll realize that I’m wasting my vocal abilities, and I’ll frantically spend about a week or two trying to find somebody to work with. I’ll meet up with a few, but nothing ever seems to fit. I shouldn’t let that discourage me really, and should keep on looking…but I don’t, and then I forget all about making music. If I can forget so easily, maybe I don’t even want it enough.

Even blogging is a chore these days, another stick to beat myself about the head with. I find it hard, if not downright impossible, to keep up with all of the other blogs I read. I don’t know how you do it, but everybody else seems to manage it. They manage to write a post per day, read and comment on other people’s blogs, and then respond to comments on their own blogs in a timely fashion. All that, and they’ve got a life as well! If I did that, my life would consist only of blogging! Yet another reason to feel guilty and “less than”.

So what does this mean, Sigmund?


I was so tired last night that I lay down on my bed “for a few minutes” around 11:30 p.m. I don’t know why I always think it will be for just “a few minutes” because what always happens is that I wake up hours later, with the lights blaring in every room, fully clothed and still wearing my contact lenses. Last night was no exception, of course.

I woke up around 4:30 a.m., and then couldn’t really get back to sleep again because I started thinking about Wednesdays, which are, from now on, going to be one of my “days off”. 2009 was a disastrous year for me because I was so stressed out about money that I never really allowed myself to have “down time”. Of course, I did end up having “down time” but it was mainly because I got so frustrated and depressed by working myself too hard that I ended up being forced to stop working instead of actually choosing to have fun and relax. The main result of this was that I never really could have fun and relax because I always had this nagging feeling that I was slacking off and should be doing something else. This a pattern I’ve followed since I was eighteen, and I don’t know why it’s so fucking hard to break it. I don’t understand why I have a lot of self-knowledge, which I then proceed to ignore to fall back into my bad habits.

Anyway, I digress….so back to the main story. So, here I am at 4:30 a.m., thinking about Wednesdays, wondering how to spend them. I’d like to make Wednesday a “creativity day”, a time when I attempt to write a short story, or just do anything creative and fun. It terrifies me to think that I might “only” be a teacher. I know teaching is a noble profession, and it’s definitely something I enjoy and want to make part of my life forever, but I just don’t want it to be the only thing I do. I’d like to start writing fiction and perhaps also creative non-fiction but I don’t know if I have it in me. I mean, if I want to write, why the fuck haven’t I written anything before now?! I’m fucking thirty-two years old, for Christ’s sake! Surely I’d have started years ago if I truly had something to write about. Maybe I also want to write for all the wrong reasons…you know, just so I can say “Oh, I’m a writer” and think of myself as a creative person. Maybe I don’t have a creative bone in my body, and I should just accept the fact that I’m going to be a teacher, have kids, retire and then die, just like everybody fucking else in the world.

By 5:30 a.m., I was still wide awake, trying to come up with a short story idea (I thought about writing one which incorporates a Scottish myth) but still listening to the little voice deep inside me whispering “You can’t do it! You can’t do it! Who do you think you are?!” Eventually I remembered a woman in my book group who is a published novelist…but, well, her book is awful. I don’t want to be mean (ultimately I admire her for having the determination, will-power and work ethic to get the damn thing written…and she did also pace it well) but, oh my God, I just know I can write something better than a completely unrealistic, “feel good”, happy ending type novel. This calmed me down a wee bit and I was eventually able to fall asleep. Now, I know it isn’t very nice to use somebody else’s literary deficiences as a sleep aid or as a boost to my own creativity, but, hell, give me a damn break. I needed to get to sleep somehow.

Unfortunately, I was then re-awakened at 6:30 a.m. by a text from a friend of mine in Berlin, a painter. It was strange that she should text me just after I’d been agonizing about being creative. I have always really envied her life and creativity because she’s devoted herself to her art since a very young age, and moves in bohemian, artistic circles. I wouldn’t say that I want to be her, but I have always wanted to live my life more like her. Her text said that a friend of hers (an annoying, pretentious, rich English girl whom I’ve never liked) accused her of stealing her painting ideas. I’ve never really understood why my friend likes this girl so much (I suppose they must just have some sort of connection through painting), but their frienship has always been so fraught with stress and drama, so it seems like far too much effort to me. God, there is enough pain in the world without having friends who add to it! My friend also told me that a famous gallery owner had come to see her show, had wined, dined and bedded her, all while promising her the world…and, then…neglected to get back in touch again.

I don’t know if there’s any significance in receiving a text from my “creative friend” just after I’d been agonizing about my own creativity. Probably not. Probably it means nothing. Or maybe the text was to remind me that writing, and being creative, isn’t going to be a panacea for all that it is wrong with my life. Who knows.

I finally fell asleep again and had the weirdest dream. I won’t go into too much detail (reading about other people’s dreams is kinda boring, huh?) but suffice it to say that I was a trainee teacher in a school that was being taken over by strange, evil orange tabby cats (in the vein of Garfield). They kept appearing, then vanishing, and turning up somewhere else in the classroom. I was drawing a picture of a leaf-less tree in winter on the blackboard when one turned up and knocked over all my belongings. Next, all the teachers were out in the car park, discussing, quite nonchalantly where they were going to be transferred (as if it were normal for evil Garfield-like cats to destroy your previous school!). “MM” was there, too (he was a trainee teacher also, apparently) and a very young teacher came up and whispered something to him, so it was obvious that they’d had sex at some point. I asked “MM” if they’d had sex before he met me, but he never answered, so I took that to mean he had had an affair with the teacher. She was still around, gloating, so I kicked the crap out of her, and then started to beat up “MM”, too in the hope that he would finally admit the truth. He never did, and the dream ended with us standing in my living room with “MM” looking away from me.

The strange thing is that I then sent “MM” a text about this dream (it felt so real!) and I got the following message back:

“Oh baby. I also dreamt you were having an affair. I was breaking everything around me and woke up very sad”.

What does it all mean, Sigmund?!