Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Congratulations. You've lost your mind.

I worry about everything. Constantly. Everything. If I find myself without a worry, I worry that I've stopped worrying and I rifle through my memory bank until I find something sufficient: lack of funds, no dream job, what if my relationship fails, those are all solid standbys and have served me well, so I ruminate on one of those for awhile to calm my worrying mind.
I have this theory that if I worry enough, turn over a problem so many times in my mind, check it at every angle, I will air out the worry and it will go away. It doesn't. I just find new angles or unforeseen problems that had not occurred to me yet. So it is an endless cycle.
I have been on such a worry whirlwind as of late that I have been giving myself full blown panic attacks, where I can't breathe properly, am prone to more tears more drop of the hat than usual, and can't make it through the night without something infinitesimal setting me off on a crazed spasm of the mind where insomnia then kicks in.
To fully appreciate my crazy I have to offer full disclosure here. As a writer I owe it to myself to be honest, even if the honesty is ugly. I don't care much for ugly, mostly because I have a fixation on the beautiful. In fact I have such an obsession with the beautiful that I pride myself on it. I am smitten with aesthetics and constantly make proclamations about what I can or cannot do based on aesthetics.

I could never work in a tire store. Think of looking at grey walls and tires all day. Horrif! I say everytime I enter a tire store. It's like I have to reiterate it in case I should be cursed and put in a lifelong position at a tire making factory.
I would borderline sell my soul for a screened in porch overlooking Lake Superior. I think or voice this upon spotting my favorite house on Ridge St. in Marquette Michigan, high up on a bluff with swirly staircase included. I dream of walking up to that house, with enough money to knock on the door and say how much? And the owner would look befuddled and say, ma'am this house is not for sale. And I would again, arrogantly shake my head and say, no. How much? I saw it in a movie once so now I think it's possible.
I look like a lesbian magician in my waitressing uniform. In other words, I have to quit, I told my best friend when I started my most recent loathsome waitressing job. She replied, Why do you think I quit Family Video? They made me wear khakis. And tuck in my shirt. Which was a polo. We just get each other. Some things in life are just unacceptable, people. Un.Ac.Ceptable.

Back to my insomnia and confession. I fell asleep fairly easily last night, thank heavens, but then was woken up several times by my boyfriend's newest addiction: True Blood. I blame myself for getting him started, but by the third time that I woke up from the noise of his iPad, however, my patience was running as thin as the blood from the victims meeting their demise by vampire death. Except now I couldn't hear Bill Compton's deep timbre yelling for Sookie, I heard instead Steve Carell making jokes. The Office was on. DC cannot fall asleep without listening to The Office and this is a fact I have grown accustomed to, even need it myself on occasion to fall asleep. But this time, the noise was just a racket that wasn't soothing but a circus marching through my mind that was craving a break with sleep. I asked him to shut it off. Just like how I was starting to panic that I had been woken up too many times and insomnia and worry would set in, as I could already feel the sneaky rots creeping up to the bedroom door ready to pounce on my awakeness, I heard DC's voice sounding equally alarmed at shutting off his sleeping security blanket. He asked if he could finish the episode.
My nerves started coming alive and wrestling about in agitation. And then worry walked through the door and sat down beside me with his sadistic smile, asking:

Can you really live with this?
Live with what, I questioned, nervous.
Having to listen to The Office, every. single. night. For the rest of your life?
Oh my gosh. That is a long time.
It is a very long time. Dare I say is it worth it?
Oh my gosh I have to break up with my boyfriend because he won't shut Steve Carell's mouth!

Then I proceeded to worry about how awful that would be. Until my entirely kind boyfriend who knows me sensed my frustration and began to draw on my back. This has been working to put me to sleep since childhood with all the comfort and warmth of giving a fussy baby her bottle. I tried to fight the gesture as I was already in the throes of a worry festival, flags and streamers flying, but he knows me well and I began to immediately feel soothed, contentment coming back to me amidst the onslaught and I drifted back to sleep.
Okay. Keep in mind this was my sleep-deprived, crazed and worried mind taking over last night. I told you. Ugly.
So what do I do, but assume the worry is right and I am now a powerless prisoner to it and succomb all morning. I can feel myself drifting to the bottomless depths of it, when it occurs to me that I need to save myself. I really do. I need my best friend, Ash, but don't call as I assume she's at work. Fifteen minutes later, as if I summoned her with my mind, she calls me. I explain everything. My panic attacks and crying and crazed thoughts and meditating and wanting to run away and how I have forty-seven dollars on me and I thought I could make it to Nashville on a train maybe and how what if I get married and have babies and then can't go to the Redwood Forest or Nova Scotia whenever I feel like it? I purge and purge and purge. She listens and listens and listens.
And then laughs.
And proceeds to tell me I do this every time I get back from vacation. And that I am always searching for contentment or the new or adventuresome.

"Is running away to the Redwood Forest going to make your problems go away?"
"And marriage isn't the end. Why can't you keep doing what you want when you're married?"
"I don't know. I am just worrying."
"Because worry is your best friend."

It's true. I have let worry become my constant and favored companion.

"Ash. I feel like I am losing my mind."
"Congratulations! You've lost your mind! Now go write about it! Quit acting like you need constant adventure to be a good writer. You have a laptop. You have ten fingers. Fucking write. You could write in a padded cell. It is what you want to do. Writing is all you talk about. And when you don't do it, but instead stare at your walls in your apartment instead of getting it out, you project that worry about not writing onto other things, like your relationship. Get your head out of your ass and just write. Write about being insane. Because you are."

I am insane. But all the best artists are. In fact my madcap mind already has jumped ahead to starting some sort of artist collaborative where we crazed artists can go to talk about how our minds work. And strum on guitars. And drink quality coffee and brews. And paint. Okay, that really could work.
If talking about my manic thoughts with my best lady makes me happy then what does writing about it do? It soothes my restless and rattled soul. So here I am writing. Sure I drove forty-five minutes to a posh coffeeshop full of hipsters to do it, my own artist collaborative for the time being, but I needed to get out of the house and feel free. And no I don't need Nashville or the Redwood Forest today. I just needed my words. And of course my best friend.


Shawnee said...

Ugh, love !! I want to scream every word from the mountaintops. Such good writing.

Indira said...