overhaul / undertow

Friday, August 27, 2004

Important realization:

I was reading this book on creativity, and in the first chapter it instructed me to put it down (yes, it told me to put itself down) and to think about what my creative dream was.

This is hokey, but I did it.

I stopped buying feel-good airy-fairy self-help dreck years ago, after I realized I'd dedicated my bookshelf to volumes upon volumes telling me how I should do things different, better, with highly effective habits: I threw every last self-help book away. I was sick of trying to fix myself: how about just accepting myself as I was, I thought?

Of course I did no such thing, but at least I freed up a shelf for new books, which was nice.

These days I figure maybe I should suck it up after all and read a few books that have advice. After all, it can't quite be said I don't need any right now.

So I put the book down and walked into the laundry room here at my folks' house to put the undies on the rinse cycle, and it hit me like a ton of bricks: my creative dream is to love and to be loved.

All these years I've been thinking, I'm a writer, I'm a painter; and I should dedicate myself to those dreams, and I had visions of myself lonely and a drunk in a house somewhere writing and painting and feeling hopeless and alone and lonely. I had my dream, and I had my creativity, but somehow I'd bought into the lie that an artist cannot simultaneously be successful AND sane enough to have a loving, fulfilling relationship. I'd think of fulfilling my artistic dreams and feel....deflated. Me alone in a house. How fun.

How dissappointing. How heartbreaking. No wonder I always felt like my dreams weren't big enough, or worthwhile enough: they really WEREN'T enough. Not to make me happy.

Sometimes I am retarded. Why did I sell myself short?

Why did I go along for years--I mean, since childhood--thinking, "You're just not really made for happiness." Now, I can understand "I'm not cut out for ice hockey," "I just won't ever really be a professional mathematician," -- but "I'm not cut out for joy?!!?" What the hell?!!?

What if I could be happy AND an artist? Have a loving relationship AND write, AND paint, AND do whatever--all with someone who loved me there?

now THAT sounds like a dream worth reaching for.

It's good, I think, when you are feeling shitty and miserable, to install good dreams hanging there above the path you envision for your future. I was at the bookstore tonight buying that darn book itself, and I turned to the rack next to me while standing in line, and a bookmark in purple leather read:

Dreams are necessary for life.

The first book I ever read that inspired me to write--to really write with love and passion and feeling--was Anais Nin's Collages. I'd never read anything so evocative, lyrical, and beautiful: the book made me dream.

The little bookmark had quoted Nin.

Maybe I'll be ok.

Monday, August 16, 2004

I've gotten to a place where I can acknowledge that my problems are bigger than me--not just the drinking / drug problem, but a crapload of other problems are bigger than me as well. I have a lot of options, and I have a myriad of choices I can make, and I can be an empowered person, but it's important to realize, I think, just how much is out of my hands and how much is subject simply to the whims of circumstance, or the tao, or whatever you wanna call it. Dylan's "force that drives the green fuse" is also the force that blows out my tire, makes my computer crash, or presents me with a passive-agressive parent. And yeah, it's bigger than me.

What's weird is how that's relatively easy to admit, but why is it so hard to admit the possibility that forces equally as vast could shape my life in GOOD ways--that the grace, the luck, the serendipity that mark my life could not also be the result of forces greater than myself?

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Recovery is lonely.

I'm living at my parents' house. I never go out any more. I have no social life. My friends seem gone.

I have a fish and two dogs here. That's nice.

I guess I should go to more meetings, but I've always been a person who just conected with a few people, not a whole lot of superficial connections, and when I go to meetings I still feel alone.

It makes things hard. I'm depressed a lot. I'm considering seeing a psychiatrist. Maybe I need zoloft or something.

Meetings in the morning, work, then back home, read, sleep.

It's good for me, but I still feel like crying a lot. I guess this is part of it all.

At this very moment, my parents are fighting in the other room, and I'm sitting here and if I turned I could look over my shoulder and see them. They're not fighting per se, but my mom is sniping at my dad and my dad is being frustrating and I am sitting here reading this page, which is bringing tears to my eyes because for some reason every phrase seems to be just right for how I feel these days, and applicable to all the things I'm struggling with and thinking about, and there's this crushing silence now descending over the household, as they both go silent with anger and words unsaid, like they always have since I was a child, and the tears in my eyes are half transported with beauty and the serendiptous perfection of Gibran's prose, and half squeezed from me with the weary awareness that there are some things from which some people never recover.

Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.
Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking.

-khalil gibran