With a hazelnut macaroon, coffee and a book, it is turning out to be a very nice morning.
With a hazelnut macaroon, coffee and a book, it is turning out to be a very nice morning.
How many music videos can you watch before you finally buckle down and start writing? Jesus, I don’t know. I’ve completely lost count.
Youtube is a vortex.
Note to self – Hey June, remember this little tidbit you noticed about yourself today:
you felt so much better after you began to write. You felt so good once you were writing. Simple.
The price of happiness – sometimes you have to work for it if you want it. Sometimes it’s going to be hard at first. Writing (or not writing and getting to the point of writing) is really hard for youright now, emotionally, mentally. Can I work past that, though? Come on girl, you can do it. I know you can. (and don’t worry. I know how ridiculous that sounded. I just rolled my own eyes.)
Well, here I am again, blog. I’ve been terrified to write, if I’m being perfectly honest. I don’t know why. It’s gotten to the point where when I think about it, I seize up. I feel a knot in my chest and my breathing quickens. It’s probably some sort of mental block; if I push myself to write, I’ll get past this. And the thing is, I feel compelled to write. It’s the only thing I really feel called to do.
And yet, at the same time, I’m terrified to do it. Isn’t that strange? Aren’t we just the weirdest things in existence, when you think about it? That we can create these complex and conflicting emotions in ourselves? I don’t know. I’m dizzy on Nyquil right now and sick with a flu, but at least it’s giving me the courage to write.
The last time I posted, I was dealing with depression and starting to take medication for it. I felt optimistic about it, after I got over my initial disappointment with myself. But then things got worse; I fell into a worse state than before. I ended up changing medications. I’m beginning to feel better. I’m exercising more. I’m trying to write. Trying. Have to keep trying.
I’m sorry for the dramatic post. I will try to keep these to a minimum. But maybe I’ll get it out of my system here at the beginning of the new year, and who knows what 2012 will bring? That simultaneously fills me with anxiety and hope, but that’s ok. I’m working on being okay with things.
I wish all of you happiness in 2012. Here’s to hoping for the best.
So apparently there is another reason for my lack of productivity as of late, aside from laziness, aside from procrastination;
I decided to speak to a therapist today, after weeks now of too much emotion, after weeks of just wanting to curl over like a dead fish and do nothing the rest of my life, after weeks of staring out a window or staring at the pages of a book, uncomprehending, wanting to cry, swinging back and forth between a dozen moods a minute – it’s no big deal, I’m sure, I told her, but I feel like it’s getting worse. I know it’s probably nothing, I said. I know I’m probably just being dramatic.
“I think you’re minimizing the issue,” she responded. And what do I know? Maybe I am. I’ve been treated for depression and anxiety on and off since my youth, and I don’t know how to trust my own thoughts anymore. I don’t know what a normal thought might be versus a depressed one.
She recommended I see a psychiatrist, and later that day, after talking to me for a mere twenty minutes, the psychiatrist prescribed me wellbutrin xl. It’s your choice to take it, he said. I just want to feel better, I said, feeling confused. Feeling defeated.
I picked up the prescription from my pharmacy and got into my car. Sitting in the driver’s seat, I opened the bottle and took out a pill, bringing it up to my mouth, pausing, bringing my hand back down. I stared at the pill, resting complacently in my palm like a miniature emblem of failure. Failure to take care of my problems on my own, failure to be normal, failure to follow through on anything, failure even to know my own self well enough to be confident this was the right choice. I brought it up to my lips a second time and then shook my head and stopped again. It was as if my hand and my mind were two separate things, fighting one another. I looked down at the pill in my palm and then lifted my head, staring silently out my window, running my fingertips against my lips and then resting them on my temple. And I began to cry.
I thought I could take care of this issue myself. I thought I could be better. And maybe I am better, and I just don’t know how it feels to be normal, and this is normal. Maybe I’m medicating because I’m afraid of the way my life is right now and I think this will be a solution. Or maybe I’m medicating because I’m afraid of myself right now, and what I could do, how I could fall back into old habits. In an effort to interrupt the flurry of thoughts that was beginning to circle in my mind and could soon become a full-on storm, I quickly placed the pill on my tongue and let it sit there for a moment, then threw my head back and swallowed.
I’m terrified of my life right now. I dont know if I’m depressed or in transition. But I know I don’t feel ok.
Beginner-blogs often go through a cycle: They start strong, with enthusiastic posts getting published pretty consistently. Then they start to slump a little. Eventually, the author disappears altogether. And then weeks/months later, the author appears again, with a post that says something like “Wow, I didn’t realize how long I’d been away for!” or, “So much has happened since I last posted, I hadn’t had time to write until now,” or whatever else. You know. You’ve read those posts.
So, here I am now, saying I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last posted, even though I do know how long it’s been, and I thought of revisiting and updating my blog often, but a million excuses got in the way (which included, in case you’re interested, these classics: I never know what to say and nobody cares anyways, and what’s the point of writing a blog if you don’t have a theme, and I should create a cooler blog that people will want to read and I should create an actually cohesive blog and God, since when am I such a whiner?). So, there you go.
But if I can’t think of a cool, cohesive blog theme that will make other people want to read my blog, then I’m going to make this blog work for me. I’ve been a grad school dropout for two months now, and very little of what I hoped to accomplish by this time has been accomplished. I’m nowhere further than I was a month ago. So I’m going to use this blog to keep track of myself, to make public my daily progress or non-progress. At least, that’s the plan for now.
Actually, no. The plan is ultimately just to sit my ass down and write. But God, it’s so fucking hard (am I allowed to use strong language on WordPress? I’ll probably edit this later). One blog post a day on here, and at least one page written of my young adult novel that has no well-formed plot or direction and has gone nowhere in the last two months, and at least one cover letter submitted for an internship or publication, A DAY, for at least one week, starting now. Baby steps. I can’t look back at what I haven’t accomplished, I just need to focus on what I can do now.
I just had my birthday on Tuesday and I am determined to make this the year I get shit done.
1. One post
2. One page
3. One cover letter
PS – I won’t mention how most beginner-blogs once again drop off into nowhere-land shortly after their “I’m Back” post. That won’t be happening here. Hopefully.
So, my last post was all freak-out and then I stepped away from everything for a while and drove up to Big Sur, and stared at the ocean and how it goes on forever, and breathed in the air with its mix of pine and wood and salt and sea.
Not to go all granola, but sometimes the best cure for inner chaos is mother nature. It simplifies things, to see trees that have stood in the same place for decades, to see the expanse of the ocean stretching beyond you, limitless. It reminds you that your problems aren’t anything new – that your worries, your anxiety, your stress – the emotions you’re experiencing are the same emotions that people have felt throughout history. While the scenario and situations may change with the times, emotions are as steady and unchanged as the trees that stretch silently towards the sky. It helps to remember that. Life is really complicated, but it’s also really simple, right? Going somewhere that’s still raw and natural can be reassuring, a reminder of the big picture, of how simple life really is on a large scope.
It’s a temporary fix, though. Now that I’m back at home, I can already feel anxiety edging in again. The pace and pull of everyday life quickly reels you back in and sucks all the fresh, natural air out of you. But that’s okay, too. It’s probably important to find a balance between being productive and staring at trees.
Posting because I feel like I should be posting something, even if I have nothing to say, because I’m not doing anything else with my time and oh my god can I be productive enough with all this unexpected time I have now?
Officially freaking out.
So, as some of you may know (as in, one of you, ie my husband and only reader of this blog), I started grad school two weeks ago.
I was super excited about grad school. Grad school! I was going to be a graduate student! One of those intellectual, cool, mysterious people of the upper echelon of acedemia! I could start casually dropping words like ‘echelon’ in everyday conversation and get away with it because I was a GRAD STUDENT! [Also, I had to google ‘echelon’ because I had no idea how to spell it.]
Only, once I actually started, I realized something – I didn’t like graduate school. At least, I didn’t like the subject I had chosen to study. At first, I thought – oh, that’s okay! It’s linguistics! Who likes linguistics, anyways? Well, apparently every other student in my program, that’s who. They loved linguistics. I mean, they really loved linguistics. You could see it in their face when they told me about how they were studying Russian syntax, or something-something morphology. Their actions would become more animated, they’d gesture with their hands and emphasize words like “aphasia” and “diphthong” with a certain enthusiasm. It was like me when I talked about books, or reading. Or literature. Or poetry.
This nagging feeling began to form in the back of my head, this sense that I was in the wrong place, that this grad program was not exactly the right fit for me. And the more time I spent in classes, the stronger that feeling got. It was like I had bought a coat that was two sizes too small. It kind of fit, but the longer I wore it the more uncomfortable it became.
I began to wonder, “What am I doing here? How did I get here?” Hell if I know. “I feel like I should have figured this out way before I got to this point,” I bemoaned to my husband one afternoon on my cell phone, sitting on a curb in the parking lot of my school and clumsily smoking a cigarette (I don’t even smoke cigarettes. I just figured I would do it since that’s what people do when they’re super stressed, right? Whatever). How did I not realize this isn’t what I want to do? How did I get here, buying books and taking classes? I had all summer to realize this wasn’t the right choice.
I felt like an idiot. I was embarrassed. I couldn’t believe I had gotten this far. I mean, I think it would be pretty apparent that “I kind of think maybe I want to do this” is not a good enough reason to be in grad school. But here I was, sitting in the parking lot, hacking up a lung because why the hell am I smoking? and not knowing what to do.
Fortunately, I have a patient husband who’s willing to listen to me rattle off my one thousand and one options, and my one hundred reasons I’m super mad at myself for being an idiot, and then he helps me sort through my options and tells me not to be mad at myself and that I’m not an idiot etc. and makes me feel a whole lot better.
So, after a lot of talking, and thinking, and calming down, I realized something: I got into this program because I figured it was the smart, financial, adult choice to make (I knew I could get a job in teaching once I was done). But I didn’t start grad school because I was excited about linguistics, or excited to teach. I did it because I knew it was a ‘smart’ choice.
But I never even gave myself a chance to pursue the things I love – writing, reading, literature – I never even gave myself a chance to go after the dream of becoming, say, a writer, because what point was there? The chance of succeeding at something like that was extraordinarily slim. And what if I failed? What if I went after the dreams I’d treasured since I was young, and then I failed miserably? What do you have left when you fail at the one thing you’ve always wanted to do? (PS – writing about my fears here make me realize how melodramatic they are, how grandiose your fears can become when they’re stacked up silently in your head. When you spill your thoughts out on paper, a lot of times they seem smaller, insignificant. It just made me feel a lot better. Try it sometime. )
I’d decided to play it safe. Graduate school was safe. Teaching was safe. Moving further and further away from the things I was passionate about, the things that could hurt me the most, that was safe. Tale as old as time, right? But still, it never gets old when it’s happening to you.
After starting grad school, it dawned on me: I didn’t want to run away from my dreams anymore (god, how lame does the word ‘dreams’ sound? It’s like I’m writing a Lifetime movie blog post right now. Oh well. The truest things really are also the most cliche, I guess). I wanted to try and actually work towards the things I loved, instead of running away from them.
It helps, too, having a husband who believes in me and helps me believe in myself. I’m pretty sure he’s going to read this, so I just want to say thanks, hubby, for helping me through this, and being there for me as I try to figure out what the next step is.
I decided to drop my classes. I’m not a graduate student anymore (I’m actually not a teenage werewolf, either, I just haven’t seen that movie in a really long time). And I was surprised to see how people reacted to my choice to drop out. I was afraid to tell my family and friends. I felt a little bit like a failure and I felt embarrassed, getting this far into it only to drop out before I even really began. But you know what? People were completely supportive. In fact, my family even said they were proud of me, friends said they admired my choice. It’s hard sometimes, they said, to quit something when you know it’s not right for you. “Life makes it so easy to settle,” my cousin remarked. “I’m proud of you for going after what you want.” I was so pleasantly surprised at all the support.
So now I’m applying for any sort of publishing or editing internships I can find, trying to find out about freelance writing, trying to figure out what my next move should be. I’m totally freaking out. But I’m also exhilarated. I have no idea what my future holds, but I’m actively working to make it something I want.