Wednesday, 11 March 2009

High Maintenance

My mom sometimes tells the story of when I was small and I was trying to drag the toboggan up the driveway. Enveloped in my snowsuit, I shuffled up the snow-packed drive, dragging the toboggan behind me on a rope. I would get about half way up, slip, fall, and accidentally let go of the rope, at which point the toboggan would slide back down to the bottom of the driveway. I did this a few times, but at some point I hit the wall. I fell again and lost the toboggan, but instead of getting back up again I stayed where I was. I lay on my stomach and screamed, pounding the driveway with my fists and feet, wailing against the universe for all I was worth.

Notes from my primary school teachers on my school reports explain that I am emotional and easily frustrated when things do not go my way. That I am eager to please but have poor self esteem and am often too hard on myself.

I am, apparently always have been, high maintenance.

When we decided to separate my ex told me he would make every effort not to land himself with another writer. Emotional and inconsistent. I know. Somehow, because he is also a bit of a shape-shifter, JP can “handle” me. Indeed he is the only man I have loved who has shown to have this remarkable power.

When I feel passionate about something, I can buzz intensely, so much so that the friction is aggravating to others. When I am unable to find a path to express what I feel, I bottle everything up, then eventually explode in frustration and sadness.

I don’t know what to do with my life anymore. I am 34 and feel as if I have accomplished nothing, am contributing nothing. My sense of self worth has bottomed out. I have seen how some bloggers take breaks for awhile. I am going to do that. I will write when it seems like a mingling of my daft mind and the holy blank page might be worth something.

Take care. Sx


Small Boat Sails into Big Mystery said...

Hey, a few years ago my wife told me she wanted to write a novel. We had just seen the movie IRIS and i was affected by the scene where Iris and John first meet. She says, "What do you do?" and he says, shyly, "I'm a writer." She replies, "Wow, I'm a writer too!" Then she goes into a long monologue on herself and her writing, and John slips into a background role for the rest of their relationship, providing her support as she writes all her great novels and never publishing a thing of his own until she dies of Alzheimers. Then he writes the book on which the movie is based.

When Claire said she wanted to write a novel I got very perplexed. Can this marriage survive two self-proclaimed "writers"? I woke at 4 AM deeply pondering and wrote in my journal for about an hour, finally drawing the conclusion that we musn't identify ourselves as "writers", we should only discipline to place ourselves in the stream of love from which all art flows, even if we never actually create a work of art. I made up a slogan: MAKE LOVE NOT ART.

Shortly after that I started taking long walks with a voice-activated tape recorder, no agenda, just opening my mind to the flow. What came along was the first draft of Small Boat Sails into Big Mystery. Claire meanwhile wrote her first novel and is well into her second and I must say they are really really good and completely different than mine.

So it seems to be working. Now if one of us publishes, that might be a different story...

Take all the time you need. I love what you write and will read anything you post.

Cheryl said...

Oh, don't take a break. Well, you can if you want, of course. I won't say I know exactly what you're going through because I can't but being an artist, and the "emotional one" of the family, I've gone through some really rough periods myself. Writing, anything creative, friends---good friends who won't judge, that's what pulls me through. After years and years of experiencing those ups and downs I've learned to see being high maintenance, being emotional as a gift, the thing that helps and compels me to create. When I don't channel that into something I start to lose my way. I think you have a lot to say and a lot to share. I hope to hear more from you, Cheryl

Anonymous said...

This will be your last winter of discontent. The politics of work would beat anyone down, but hang in there! You're so close with the podcast, a realistic goal and a perfect way to express your creativity and value.
They don't see it, but you'll be the one to drag the Edinburgh military tattoo into the 21st century.
Times like these I like to quote the Godfather, "Keep your friends close, and enemies closer."

Anonymous said...

sounds like you are treading water. i hope you feel my psychic hug & keen wishes for your heart to fill up & return your calm. it is there, waiting to be discovered...never underestimate the power of profanity to improve a mood:)

Dale said...


You do exactly what you like, for however long it takes. We'll be here when you come back.

norah said...

I kind of think getting to 34 with our selves more or less intact is an accomplishment.
I dig you S.