Saturday, May 31, 2014

Day 2

Day 2 sucks.  You wake up one morning and decide you are finally going to start running, start dieting, start bathing.  Then day 2 comes.  You're sore, hungry, and covered in rashes.  Day one has all of the enthusiasm of a well dreamed credenza and then you move into day 2 and the insecurities come.  The pain comes.  I've had a busy day and so I kept wanting to get to the pages, get to write.  The reaction wasn't what I intended the writing not what I thought it should be.  But I'm here to type.  Doesn't matter if it's crap, it's just to keep my fingers moving.  Get in the habit of creating stuff.

Yesterday was funny, all I wanted to do was keep writing.  My brain and heart were overflowing with ideas that my hands couldn't keep up with, whenever I was free, I was writing.  The morning pages yesterday tore off the scab & the scars and chased away the wolves.  But I didn't write today.   It's 10 at night and I was lying in bed hating myself for already giving up, already folding, already been the incompetent bastard that I was trying so hard to fake that I wasn't.  And I made it 1 day.  I had this sweet short story in mind for today but it isn't going to happen.  Scipio Africanus wrote a better one than I could anyway.  Prophetically accurate.  Where's the target?  What are you supposed to hate?  I mean do you hate the bike?  Do you hate yourself?

I was lying in bed grasping for something to feel guilty enough to roll over and grab this stupid machine and start moving my fingers.  What if Merlin Mann sees I already failed after 1 day?  He isn't going to read this.  What about X being disappointed?  The strange thing was that no matter how many names I populated in column X I was just too tired to feel guilty and feeling guilty, although wonderfully self destructive just doesn't have the same motivational rigger it had as a younger man.  My give a damn was irreparably shattered last year and now I'm almost reactionary to the emotion.  I am obviously still obsessed with it because I'm writing about it right now, but more out of the habit of feeling it than really feeling it.

The strange thing is I rolled over today and grabbed the computer heavy with baggage because I'm tired of feeling this way.  I'm tired about feeling this way about things I really enjoy and about myself.  I commit to both of you that I will start creating something other than self-diagnosing sob stories but today isn't the day.  Maybe I'll write tomorrow what I meant to write today.

This morning pages thing is actually quite serendipitous.  I actually started journalling again, which is basically the same as the morning pages, simply lacking the publicity, commitment, and realness that this exercise is attempting to create.  Writing those pages I remembered a story I wrote when I was in 6th grade.  I'm going to try over the next 29 days to rewrite it here as it has haunted me like nothing my mind has imagined before or since.  I have memories of living that story that are more vivid than any of my real life memories.  For 18 years this story has been bubbling away and I haven't been willing to try to write it because I don't think I can communicate it well, but at least now I need to just write pages so it may as well come out.  But the day before I decided to commit to 30 days of writing was the day I decided that I needed to rewrite that story and exercise the demon.  Last year I uncovered the original story and what felt like Pulitzer prize winning in 6th grade actually sucks and sounds like a kid wrote it.  Which is exactly what happened.  Never read anything from elementary school that you're proud of.  Not only has the story stuck with me but the experience of creating and sharing it broke something that I've been to afraid to acknowledge and fix.  That story just poured out of me, which has happened a lot since from stories to academic papers, I don't often have trouble writing and I tend to get good grades for what I write.  It was the first time, though, that I remember it happening the way it did then, though.  The story existed like Plato's perfect chair and I was simply recording it, which is a lot for a 6th grade boy to process.  Trying to fit that in the middle of a conversation about how to properly flip someone off to make the best impression is difficult even for an adult to do.  The good news is that Cory did flip off Mrs. Vogeley as she drove by quite accidentally while he was attempting to make his point and we all thought next time we went to that house there would be a .303 with our name on it, which would have very effectively solved the existential debacle I was attempting to resolve.  The story writing was a little odd.  When Mrs. Blackwell asked for volunteers to read their story I volunteered to read mine.  This is how I remember it, which is strange because I don't tend to volunteer my work to be read, which is why this is so difficult for me.  I remember reading the story and it was still difficult to read because it was so much more real than what I had put on the paper, my ability hindered the message.  I fought back tears reading the stupid thing.  Half out of the memory of the story, and the other out of sheer frustration that none of these kids would get it, there was this crazy big, uncomfortably beautiful thing, so much more real than the hormone riddled roller coaster we were all beginning to ride.  All they could see was the obese teacher's pet, floundering through a story, probably just looking for a chance to show off again.  I can still feel the tightness in my chest and the churning of my stomach staring at the page, reading what was there, looking in those words for what had been there the night before.  Why wasn't it there?  These strange graphite hieroglyphics weren't the story, they weren't what  had wrestled with and cried through the night before.  Had I written it right the room would feeling colder, the snow and wind would have made us shiver.  We could have smelled the blood and trembled from the haunting call of the pack.

When I finally lowered that insufferable page I saw Mrs. Blackwell in the back of the class with red rimmed eyes and she got it.  She knew the story was more than I could write and she had seen it, though no one else had.  And I felt a terrifying burden.  A weight of responsibility that I was in no way mature enough to handle.  I had affected this adult and it scared me.  It scared me a lot.  Now as a fat kid in elementary school I was afraid of everything, everyone.  I was afraid to ride my bike as fast as my friends.  I was afraid to fail in school.  I was afraid to do too well in school.  I was afraid of the high schoolers walking down the same side of the street as me.  I was afraid constantly.  This was different.  In a world of fear I realized that this kind of fear was different.  This new feeling, this new strange power had scared me that I ran from it. It was the first time to run from something having to do with words.  I love reading.  I love writing.  And yet this scared me.  It wasn't the last time.  I remember when we took some standardized English test in 8th grade and I had scored the highest in the school or something and my teacher asked if I wanted to go on a walk.  I heard a snicker behind me and was mortified to be alone with this big busted Black foot woman with beautiful hair.  I was afraid that I was the only boy who had a strange feeling in my stomach when around pretty much any human being with 2 X chromosomes.  And I was afraid that I had slipped.  That someone was going to expect even more of me than I felt everyone already did.  And I was afraid that someone had found my secret.  That someone was finally going to force me to start writing.  This strange horrible thing inside me was finally going to be exposed and I said, “No thanks,” and hurried back to my desk as fast as I could, my soft swinging jowls lit up red like a hooker's night stand.  I've always wondered what she was going to say, always wondered what opportunity I missed.  If only I wasn't afraid of this stupid writing thing.  If only I wasn't afraid that she might molest me like I wanted her to.  If only I wasn't afraid.

I really don't know why this is so scary and I really wish I hadn't committed to posting this on my blog, and for the first time I'm happy very few people ever read it.  But hopefully if you are scared of that thing that you know you are supposed to be doing, even just to relieve that daily cycle of hating yourself just a little bit, go ahead and do it today.  Just long enough that you can say, today I did what I'm made to do.  Today, for the first time in a long time, I'm finally myself.

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