There is this wall that I keep banging my head against. It’s heavy stone and covered in thick, thorn-ridden vines. When I smash into it, I come back dazed, little pieces of myself torn off and clinging to the barbed spikes. Still, I know that this wall is just another obstacle. I’ve dealt with obstacles before. There is no such thing as insurmountable odds. Eventually, the thickheaded and stubborn can overcome anything.
So, I keep smashing into the wall. I keep waiting for it to fall. I keep… going.
The bittersweet truth is that the healthier I get, both physically and emotionally, the more creatively drained I feel. Writing, drawing, creativity, these are the things that literally saved my life. These are the things that kept me going when I thought I was in a hole so deep that I would never be able to see the sky again. Now that I have the ground back under me with thick carved stairs leading out of the dank, I feel a little like I’ve abandoned those friends in the dark places behind me. No, I’m not back on top yet, but I’ve found a path back up that has a much nicer view. I don’t need my flickering candle.
My view is pretty awesome.
I was laying on my bed, reading and watching TV when my dad got home from work tonight. He stuck his head in my room and casually asked, “So, did you quit writing or am I gonna have to slap you?”
That’s one of the ways my dad asks if I’m alright. He knows me. I haven’t written anything worth reading in weeks, and I’m starting to lose that sense of identity that comes from putting words together.
The act of writing, the definition of who I am. When I think of myself, “writer,” is one of the words that swirls inside my brain. I’m not a writer if I’m not writing. What does that make me? It’s a crisis of identity that I shouldn’t be facing so early in my 30s. It’s never been hard before. It has always been vital. It wasn’t something I did, it was something I was.
Now, it’s a struggle. It’s smashing into that stone wall. It’s the thorns pulling at my mental stability.
Most of my life, I’ve been afraid that my creativity was fueled by depression. If I let myself be happy, I’d lose all of it.
In a way, that’s created this artificial block. This belief that I can’t create if I’m not broken.
I’ve been doing such a good job of mending myself that I’ve quarantined the part of my soul that rejoices in the act of giving voice to my personal demons.
It is complete and utter bullshit.
So, here, I am. I am sitting at my computer and I am forcing every damn word out of my me, milking my tired brain and flexing a muscle that I haven’t worked hard in weeks. It’s agonizing in it’s simplicity. I keep going because I need it. I need that definition of me or I’ll just give up and become something hollow and mechanical.
Once upon a time, I was a writer. I let words cascade through me because it was what I was. I let that gift, that power, slip away and weaken. I defined it in the wrong way. I made an excuse to myself to shield me from something that was hard to admit. I battered and bruised my soul in an effort to force it into a box that didn’t quite fit.
I’m not sure what I mean to say right now. All of the thoughts are fuzzy and worn away. The words are distant and reaching for them is a struggle.
But, I know two things.
1) If I don’t keep reaching, I’m going to lose the ability to move in that direction.
2) Nothing worth doing is ever easy, and I don’t want it to be.
It feels like it’s time to make a choice.