I’m always a moody person, and when I write I always feel like I’m sixteen and back in high school and complaining about my teenage life. But maybe the more I write the more I’ll feel my age, myself?
As a writer though, I probably am emotionally stunted – stuck in my teenage years somewhat. After high school, my relationship with writing changed. So I don’t really know how to approach it anymore. We need to learn how to be around each other again.
But anyways. I’m always a moody person. But sometimes I feel much more moody than other times, and this is one of those times. I’ve been staring at the TV for an hour now, not watching it. I ate oatmeal and drank coffee out of habit and didn’t taste either. I sat at the kitchen table began to circle around and around in my head, my thoughts chasing their own tail. My skull begins to feel like a prison, just keeping all my relentless thoughts trapped inside with no way to break free, growing and claustrophing around in there.
God, I am so melodramatic! It’s ok, June. Own it.
So I took a picture of myself, because what else would an emotionally-stunted writer do when she’s feeling emotional, right? I took a picture of myself and then looked at it and just decided to draw a mask on myself, turn myself into something else, and it kind of made me laugh. God, I’m so dumb. Everything is dumb sometimes, right? Not in a bad way, just in a…just that it’s nice when you’re emotions are trying to burst out of your skin like poisoned blow darts and then all of a sudden you can laugh about it.
Last week, my husband and I were both sick. We lay in bed together, staring at the ceiling, luxuriating in the liberty to feel sorry for ourselves, and he said, “We’re like two un-heroes right now. We’re like the opposite of superheroes.”
“You mean, like villains?” I responded, blowing my nose. We’re so hot together.
“No, just…weak. Like two people without any powers.”
Now that I put that down in words, I realize it was a dumb conversation. But with both of us in a nyquil induced haze, spouting soporific wisdoms to one another as we sucked on Ricolas, it made so much sense. We felt like the smartest people in the world that night. We complained to each other about how crappy we felt and we kept a box of Kleenex between us. And that stupid little conversation stuck with me. I thought of it again today when I made this picture and smiled.
I’ve struggled with social anxiety and depression from a young age, and a therapist once told me that I should pretend that I had amnesia, and simply look at the world with an empty mind.
“Pretend that you can’t remember who you are,” he told me. “That you just stepped out of your car and you have no conscious idea of Self, of you as a person. Just look at the world around you and take it in as if you know nothing.”
The idea intrigued me. To pretend to not know who I am? One of my biggest issues is that I’ve always been too aware of myself, of what my face might be doing, where my hands are, how people are looking at me, talking to me. But what if I didn’t know who I was? I’d be a blank slate.
Sometimes his advice helped. I’d take on different personas, in a way. Pretend I wasn’t me. All the world’s a stage, right? So I’d wear different masks to hide myself and my fears and my self-consciousness and discomfort. Sometimes it helped. And sometimes I would forget that I was acting at all, and end up slipping into a role so comfortably that at the end of the day somewhere along the line the mask had become a part of myself, or a part of my own self had broken through, and I wasn’t really acting anymore.
I think of what my husband said and it makes me smile because we all pretend. Sometimes you feel like you’re somebody else. Today I feel like my thoughts are heavier than my head and they’re keeping me down. But maybe if I keep on acting I’ll get through this, and eventually it’ll just be the end of the day.