Someone asked me the other day how I remembered to update the blog regularly. My mouth flapped open, and stuck that way, as my brain tried to understand a question for which it had no frame of reference.
She was not a writer. Or rather, not the kind of writer I am — writer by requirement. Vocation, not avocation. Payment doesn’t matter; this is a lifeline, not a hobby.
Words? Are not optional for me. They are as required as water, as food, as air.
Or more germanely — as required as sleep. Go too long without either, and there goes any semblance of stability, of sanity. I might live, but I wouldn’t be able to continue my life. So, because this is how much the universe hates me, my life is structured such that more of one requires less of the other. And I don’t always get to pick which will happen. And sometimes, neither will, and there’s the conditions for a flash flood of crazy.
I am drowning.
Four days ago: the words would not stop. Post after post, perfectly composed, popping into my head, long after I was done for the day. Lying in bed, begging for respite, for sleep.
Three days ago: Stay up, waiting for words, they don’t come. Shrug, go to sleep… eventually.
Two days ago, I would have asked The Man to stay home so I could write — but he was (is, forever will be I fear) on mandatory overtime, so I couldn’t, and didn’t. So I said screw the sleep, and stayed up.
And they didn’t come.
All day — driving, in appointments, in class, while parenting, parenting, parenting — neverending words, a torrent of words, a flood of words, brilliant thoughts, important points, cleverly composed. But no time to stop, no time to sit, no time to get them down.
And later, when everyone else is in bed, when I stop, sit, wait — silence. Or nonsense.
What do you do when the two things required for sanity are denied to you? Why, go crazy, of course.
You know what’s not crazy? Heavy traffic. Crowded grocery stores. Hyper children. Chaotic playgrounds. Inconsiderate or reckless drivers. Overwhelming course loads. Racist or sexist bullcrap. (Though, if you’re like me, those all might drive you crazy.) “Traffic/the store/those kids/the playground/that driver/this semester/that new law is crazy!” is as linguistically lazy as it is offensive. I am not your metaphor. I am crazy. I am not heavy-crowded-hyper-chaotic-inconsiderate-reckless-overwhelming. Stop it.
Not a fun night-on-the-town crazy. Not a productive crazy. Not a foreshadowing-visions crazy.
Crazy like this: Twitching twitching, chest constricting. Breath coming fast or not at all. Thoughts circling: out out out no no no. Losing it because I couldn’t lose it because there’s a child in my lap and he won’t go to sleep — until I dump him on his sleeping father and run away and we both cry for an hour.
This is a minor wobble, as these things go (…I hope. I think.). It seems self-indulgent to go on about it, but it’s this or even less healthy coping techniques, and I can afford a concussion even less than I can afford the night of sleep missed thusly.
I worry that I’ll lose you, my readers. “Didn’t she write that gone-crazy-back-soon post a few months ago?” Well, yeah. But this is life for me. Mostly fine. Sometimes… this. It doesn’t go away. Not ever, not completely. As tired as you, hypothetical bored reader, might be of these repeats, I promise I am a thousand times more so.
Sometimes, I know where it comes from.
Sometimes it’s my choices.
Sometimes it’s my circumstances.
And sometimes? It just sneaks up on me. Sleep eludes me. Words scramble into garbage. I don’t know why.
Sometimes I don’t know where it comes from, I only know it’s coming.
I feel its hot breath on my neck. My hands twitch at its groping touch. My breath is shallow, my belly tight, anticipating its presence. I am running from it — yet it is the running.
Did I cause it by trying to avoid it? Could I have breathed more, shut down the computer sooner, laid wide-eyed in the dark longer? Did I tempt it by rejecting the words offered? Was my error to think I could write in the first place, could have some success and stability?
All the answer I can bring forth now is the equivocating maybe.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be “successful”. I don’t know if these mood regulation glitches, these writing/sleeping imbalances will let me do the things I long for — have I told you about my book idea? Martyrdom Not Required: Attachment Parenting for the Real World ‘Cause I’m obviously so damn skilled at this parenting-life-balancing-gig – but they are a part of my life. They always will be. As much as I hate this — and oh, right now, I do — I don’t hate my life. I can’t hate me, as much as I curse my brain at times. And so I deal.
I don’t have a witty conclusion. There’s no insightful point, no cue for you to nod your head and declare “That’s so deep.” There’s just me, exhausted, face salty from sweat and tears, wrung out, done — yet knowing I have to get up in the morning, to the chirp of “Where’s my dad?” and answer “He’s at work again, little one, but I’m here with you again” alone with you again, make it through the day, no time to break down, no time to stop, no time to be and be drained and be done and have that be enough. There’s just me, thinking this will have to do — not enough writing, not enough sleep, but if I make do with this, I can get just enough sleep to make it through.
Wish me luck.