whales in the bodies of tiny fish

It’s been months since I had an appoint­ment with my ther­a­pist. I’ve needed the time to work on myself before mak­ing fur­ther progress with him; a sign that I’m at a point where there’s a sense of direc­tion, instead of relent­less con­fu­sion and dread. Now it’s a mat­ter of absorb­ing the con­cepts I should know by now, devolop­ing health­ier emo­tional habits, and let­ting time heal what rea­son can­not. As my body recov­ers from the phys­i­cal reper­cus­sions of depres­sion, find­ing the energy to do these things gets a bit eas­ier each sea­son1.

As a result, I’ve been pick­ing up new respon­si­bil­i­ties in my pri­mary rela­tion­ship, which I have to care­fully bal­ance with my per­sonal goals. Maybe that’s why my wants have become such sim­ple mat­ters. Some days, I look for­ward to noth­ing more than eat­ing ice cream after din­ner, or play­ing a game until my thumbs are raw. The dis­til­la­tion of my dreams has given me another child­hood, which I’m deter­mined not to squander.

underboob

Part of the rea­son I stopped tak­ing pic­tures is because I needed to believe Heather was real. To prove to myself that she wouldn’t sud­denly dis­ap­pear and only exist as a col­lec­tion of pix­els on my screen, like so many lovers of my past2. Mostly it was because every­thing was ter­ri­ble, and just being con­scious was a bur­den. Some days I was too sad to walk or eat, let alone decide what lens to put on my cam­era or how to frame a shot. The start of any rela­tion­ship tends to be a time of won­der and excite­ment for me, but I don’t remem­ber those years with par­tic­u­lar fond­ness3.

Now that she’s giv­ing me the time to pur­sue the goals I so choose, I have the chance to learn new skills and delve into unfa­mil­iar medi­ums. The prob­lem is that I con­stantly feel like an adult stuck with a child’s vocab­u­lary. Most recently, when it comes to music: the com­plex emo­tions I want to express all end up com­ing out happy or sad, major or minor. It’s frus­trat­ing when any direc­tion I take is met with the real­iza­tion of how lit­tle I know about the­ory, how lim­ited my gui­tar skills are, how unfa­mil­iar the gaps between keys on the piano have become.

An added chal­lenge is that I’m not sat­is­fied with medi­oc­rity, or even ade­quacy. I want to bend gen­res. To do some­thing my own, and fuck­ing love it. But I need to under­stand so much more before I can take apart what works and recon­struct it as some­thing new, while still mak­ing musi­cal sense and sound­ing good.

Terraria house

Games with cus­tomiz­able hous­ing sys­tems tend to be a good com­pro­mise between relax­ing and pro­duc­tive, with rewards that Heather and I can enjoy as soon as we have a night together.

The fact that all struc­tures in Terraria need to be cre­ated from scratch means the pos­si­bil­i­ties are mind-boggling. Most recently, I built her a pent­house in our base, com­plete with an attic crawl­space, secret study, and pump­kin patch. She gets her campy, Halloween-themed fur­ni­ture (which I don’t enjoy around the house unless it’s October) while I get to lose myself in the details. Best of all, ren­o­va­tions don’t cost money.

My moti­va­tion has always been dri­ven by the results I can achieve. When it feels like it’ll be years before I’m at where I want to be in any­thing I want to do, the biggest bot­tle­neck in my long­ing to cre­ate seems to be patience.

Maybe that’s why I still come back here, even though I’ve given up being as clever or com­pe­tent as other writ­ers. I used to enjoy hav­ing my own voice; now all I’m left with is a sense of hon­esty and a desire to express. The trend seems to be mov­ing toward smaller snip­pets of infor­ma­tion to catch shrink­ing atten­tion spans — click­bait lis­ti­cles and pic­tures of pithy phrases in fancy type­faces — a direc­tion I’ve been actively resist­ing. I don’t want to say any­thing unless my words will mat­ter, and noth­ing sig­nif­i­cant in my life nowa­days can be summed up in 140 characters.

  1. There have been many steps back on the jour­ney for­ward, enough for the progress to be indis­cernible from a week-to-week (or even month-by-month) basis. []
  2. It’s strange to real­ize that my drive to pho­to­graph things was par­tially a way of deal­ing with my aban­don­ment issues. []
  3. At least I feel secure in the knowl­edge that Heather stuck by me when I was lit­er­ally at my worst. []

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