Believe me when I say I have been writing. I have – on random pieces of paper, on my laptop, in my notebook, on the back of receipts and chewing-gum packets. I look at the writing, but it’s garbled. Some dreams, snippets of thoughts, the beginning of a story; mostly vomit.
Vomiting on paper helps my bad nerves. On days when I don’t purge, I can feel the demons shape-shifting inside me, brewing these bubbling fears that come gargling up and block my throat. Those are the dark days that I can’t bring myself to sit down at my desk, or meditate, or even put a normal string of thoughts together. Like a broken radio I get all this deafening interference that clouds my mind and makes me anxious. I try to sleep it away but it sneaks up on me in my dreams, and I run run run away from the wild animals, and the knife-wielding shadows, and the monsters, but still it catches up with me and I stay up at night, sweating and staring at the ceiling.
So I try to write, I try to walk, I try to sleep, I try to meditate, and I try to remember if it’s always been so hard to do the simplest things, to find balance.
I envy my father, who seems to operate at an entirely different cosmic timescale from me. Sometimes he seems almost in tune with the rhythms of the earth, and I say this without exaggeration: he reminds me of an old tree. It’s not entirely unreasonable to think he was a great big oak tree in his past life. I think he is the most patient and meticulous person I know.
I, on the other hand, must have been some type of small rodent, always running away from big overwhelming things, my heart beating too fast, extinguishing my life fuel with every fright and jolt and dash. Life seems like a blur when you are always running, and the world is always dark on the inside of a mouse hole.
Or perhaps I was a snail who let her life pass her by, forever stuck on the shady side of a cool terracotta pot, hiding from the sun. Who knows how many years I spent shielded inside a shell, growing crusty and faded at the corner of the garden?
Perhaps someone thought I needed to come back with the full force and intellect of a human, so that I could think and suffer my way through creation, and into fulfillment. Perhaps. Well, in any case I’m here now, and I think I’m trying to heed the call, though I’m not sure what is required of me or if I can take it, or if from now on living authentically means I will always feel this way. Once you realize you resent distractions, life becomes so much harder, and I say this in the least pretentious way possible. From my heart, I tell you I feel this cosmic loneliness that no one can soothe for me. I’m okay with that. After all this struggling I realize that the answer is not external. Devouring books might help with hints, like in a treasure hunt, and other people can offer directions or suggestions on where to look next but ultimately, the tragedy of it all is that the answer to the problem lies deep within me.
Yeah, I have to dig through all that shit to find that something, whose form and colour and taste and scent I have no idea of, and I’m not sure it can be reached through language or sensation or something altogether different. I just have no idea. All I know is I’m standing here in the freezing cold slowly undressing myself and opening my arms to the beating winds, feeling quite like Odysseas tied to the mast and going crazy. I realize now how long the journey will be, and I try to have faith in the process, and ask the universe to give me strength. Of myself I try to remember to ask daily for forgiveness, for my many past and future failures. In the meantime, I write.