Monday, June 03, 2013

According to spell check, I have invented three new words in this post*

Do you know how rare it is for me not to have something playing in my head?  The radio, Pandora, YouTube; TV in the background Charlie-Brown-teacher style? Not to mention Twitter, Google Reader (now Feedly, thank you very much), whatever random selection of lists my curiosity has caused me to Google, and now Tumblr?  In addition to the books on my bookshelf, floor, nightstand, and in my purse? Which doesn't even include the tapes of 9th grade history class failures that my memory dredges up, the earwig my mom was humming in the kitchen, the constant nagging of whatever social anxiety issue is rearing its ugliest head at the moment?

It's pretty damn rare, is what I'm getting at. 

I don't like to sit in the quiet because then I can hear all the things I spend so much time trying to mute; feel all the pain I've devoted a large portion of my brain cells into masking.  It's both a conscious thing - depending on what hurts and how badly it hurts, I have to adjust the interference, turn up the volume on one thing (a funny movie, perhaps, or a comforting re-read) in order to try to combat the intensity of the other thing (a 10+ pain day; a migraine that lasts more than a week; another birthday rolling around without much improvement to show for it) - and an unconscious thing: kind of like how, if you really concentrate on it you can control your breathing or swallowing, but if you don't it'll go on without you. 

It's one of the reasons I'm so bad at meditating - sitting, in the quiet, with nothing but me and my brain? And the pain? Seems like a game of Russian roulette to me.  Too much quiet and who knows what could explode, who knows if I'll find all the pieces/have all the spoons I'd need to glue it back together?  Too risky.

But here's the rub - I can't write well without some semblance of quiet.  I was one of those kids who did their homework without the distractions of music or TV (it wasn't allowed in the teacher's household I grew up in), and, when I got older and went to college and could decide for myself, I found it too distracting to try to write a good essay and watch Friends at the same time.  Not that I didn't write M A N Y college essays in front of the TV - my friends and I liked to say (if somewhat unoriginally) that we weren't earning our BS-es for nothing - I could crank out what most of my professors wanted (their own words echoed back at them/a summary of the book to prove I had read it) without much effort at all, and many a course was completed during the commercial breaks of Mad About You

But if I wanted to write?

Really write?  And have it be good? 

That's when I needed - and still need, apparently - a little bit of quiet head space. 

So you can see where Goal A (constantly be distracted, so as not to focus on chronic pain and/or current unhappy life situation) might come into conflict with Goal B (try to write some things that are not completely shitty). 

And the last couple of months - OK, since last summer really, when things started spiralling out of control with my grandmother and I realized that it was going to be a Summer of Suck and that I was going to have to be a freaking Grown-up and deal with Real Actual Problems even though I totally didn't want to - I've been leaning (tipping/falling over into/swimming/basking) into Goal A territory.

Since she died (and my family situation went completely, nuclearly, FUBAR in ways that have left gaping wounds that still haven't even scabbed over, let alone healed), which I can't believe was 9 months ago now, I've been sort of frozen there: emotionally numb (ish - not always) and physically hanging on by the skin of my teeth.

"You've lost weight" my doctors would say, with apparent glee: "That's great!"  Mmhmm: except - I can't eat.  I don't know how to anymore - I am disconnected from food and hunger and fullness and I don't know how to food.  Sounds good, they said.   "Let's add to that," my super-fun/fucked-up body said: "You're definitely in the early stages of diabetes (even though you've lost weight, your numbers are stable, and you barely can force yourself to eat real meals at regular intervals): Let's mess with that even more, give you some new meds and worries/complications about food, and see how you do!" (Hint: I have not done well.)  "Also" said my completely-ridiculous-at-this-point-body "I think you need to be allergic to some more shit, and I know you're trying to eat healthier now, so how about some random allergic reactions to... fruit?  vegetables?  Fruits and vegetables?  The pesticides on certain fruits and/or vegetables that you just didn't wash off cleanly enough?  EVERY MOTHER FUCKING FOOD YOU ENJOY?  How's that sound?" (Hint: Super fun.)

I still don't know what's causing the reactions, although I've just had another round of allergy tests.  When I did them 8 years ago I was literally told not to drink the tap water, because "you are allergic to what's in it."  What the hell is in tap water that I am allergic to? I don't know anymore (who remembers at this point?) but I still drink bottled, so it can't be that flaring up. (She says, as her body laughs with glee.  As if I hadn't learned by now that this shit is not going to make any sense.)

Anyways, aside from the food, there's been other things - health things and family things, and personal things, and feeling sorry for myself things that I could literally rant on and on about for thousands of words - but why spoil all those other whiny posts?  (I will try not to write too many whiny posts.)

The crux of it is, I feel like maybe, I'm thawing out on Goal A a little bit, and am actively hoping that that will help me pursue Goal B. Because I wrote 52,376 words last November, but that story isn't going to finish writing itself.  Because I miss having a place where things are quiet.  Because no matter how many times and how many different ways I have to keep writing this post - the one where I apologize for not being around as much as I'd like and recommit to carving out the words that belong here - you guys always show up, and I couldn't appreciate it more.

I don't have a ton of readers. I would estimate that a more reasonable term for the number of people whose eyeballs will scan across this post would be "smidgen".  But that's ok with me.  Because you're my smidgen, and you're always here when I need you.

So thanks for showing up, Smidges.  I'll do my best (as always - which we know is sometimes better than others) to keep showing up too.

*But spell check is a liar because "unoriginally" and "nuclearly", while horrible adverbs, must be real words.  I will claim Smidges though. 

1 comment:

The Goldfish said...

I have music for writing, which is useful blocking out both other noise and, to some extent, distracting thoughts. The music has to be very familiar and not too raucous - gentle classical music and some folky things that are so familiar that can wash over me - e.g Simon & Garfunkel, Leonard Cohen, Susan Vega, some Van Morrison and certain playlists I have (I have different playlists for different physical locations in my novel).

I'm lucky to enjoy real peace sometimes and there are times when I'm better off without music, but it is a compromise when that's not possible.

I also use music when doing yoga, which at least relates to meditation. When I do yoga, I use extremely involving music, often quite rowdy rock or dance music, so that it kind of feels like dancing, my body moves (if very slowly) to the music, so these movements are natural and I'm much less aware of how much everything hurts (not that I do yoga which hurts me - I'm very careful - but without the music, the concentration on my body makes me hyper-aware of its complaints).

I'm so sorry that food has become so complicated for you. I don't know if you can take a little gluten, but when I had big problems eating, because of emotional stuff, I found oats really useful. Oat biscuits (cookies), both savoury and sweet, porridge and oat-based muesli. They're bland enough not to trigger a disgust response (something I had for a lot of foods at this time), they're filling and release energy slowly, they're easy to prepare, they're good for you and they can be reasonably tasty.

Meanwhile, I don't have many allergic problems, but I once had an allergic reaction to citric acid. Citric acid! I didn't know this was even possible, but the stuff is in everything - most fruit, obviously, but also in lots of ready-made food, soap and cosmetics, even toothpaste. I was getting a ghastly rash and feeling dreadful so I naturally cut different things back, until I was living on fruit tea and apples, and I had the rash worse than ever!

I only mention this on the very unlikely off-chance, because you mentioned fruit. Really hope you can work it out soon. Take care.