The world still turns, even when it’s in lockdown, and there’s been much to say.
If only writing came as easily as it used to. The bulk of my entries have been a compulsion, a way to sort out thoughts and feelings when I had no one to talk to.
Then I started dating Heather — my first time cohabitating with a romantic partner — and suddenly had an outlet that was both accessible and validating. It became easier to turn to her than find the words for a screen that never spoke back.
My time in therapy has also given me better emotional moderation; a skill to deal with the distress that comes from depression and trauma. Instead of spiraling into panic or rage, I’ve learned to embrace difficult feelings and let them pass through me. Scary thoughts and painful memories don’t control me the way they used to. A healthy trade for the loss of inspiration.
In that sense, I hold an evolving style and subject matter to be positive developments. After all, I began this blog almost 20 years ago. If I was filling the space with the same things as I was back then it would be an embarrassing sign I hadn’t grown at all. I imagine I’ll always have more things to say as long as I continue learning, even if the impetus is lacking.
It makes me wonder why others stopped blogging (or why they started in the first place). Checking my RSS feed is still a habit, but nowadays I’m left invariably disappointed and feeling more disconnected than ever. Social media has become too shallow for my tastes. Medium too impersonal. YouTube too obnoxious and ostentatious and increasingly commercial, with Twitch being even worse on all those counts.
And yet there’s relief to be found in the fact that no one knows I’m writing anymore. This space is no longer sacred when I feel obliged to or inhibited by an audience. Self-imposed exile became an important step towards reclaiming the sense of control I’d lost. My story isn’t finished, and perhaps enough time away has given me the distance I need to be comfortable sharing myself again.
It’s getting harder to write.
Not that the spirit is unwilling, although that was the case for years, when the things I needed to talk about most were the exact things I needed distance from. At this point, the flesh isn’t even that weak, but a lack of certainty in which to ground my perspectives has become an obstacle. The biggest sign I’m getting older isn’t the white hair in my moustache, but the recognition that I’ve shed some youthful arrogance that used to feel like wisdom.
Do I let fate reward my bravery with an extra crew member, or give it the chance to fuck me over by killing one? Or do I avoid the choice completely?
It’s easier for me to accept a bad outcome if I remember that every decision is made with the best intentions, and the only goal is survival.
HBO shows and games with consequential choices based on randomized events have been a huge influence on my thinking. Media with mosaics of morality, while characters grow and evolve across several spectrums (along with my opinion of them). Where decisions have to be carefully made with limited information and resources, then balanced against competing interests from foreign spheres of influence. Situations where a person can make all the right moves, and still fail through circumstance.
Continue reading “consider this place”…
I’m writing as a way of practicing self-compassion. Weeks get lost to the customers and commute, and when time off involves not thinking or being around people, it doesn’t leave much room for personal growth.
The problem is that nothing feels real or true unless I write it down. The changes are starting to flow together, and I’m at various stages of progress on several fronts. There are no beginnings, no ends, no chapters, no distinctive transitions I can sum up neatly in a title. The lessons stretch out to years instead of months. Development has given way to evolution. It seems silly to write about a feeling that won’t last from the first time I hit Save Draft to Publish.
I’ve been reaching out to new people cause it felt like everything I was doing was wrong. Marie came to feed the cats, not knowing I was back from the hospital. I broke down in her arms, and she babbled at me over breakfast, excusing herself for talking so much cause she was nervous about not knowing how to help. I asked if she’d watch a movie with me, something to do that was normal and not crying. It helped.
Jason’s also been talking me through the upheaval. Advice is easier to accept when it comes from a survivor, especially one who never presumes to know what’s best for me. He’s become the stick prodding me forward one small step at at time, a voice of reason in my ear that reminds me to keep on doing this until living is like breathing again.
It’s a reminder that I’m here only cause people believe in me; they’re the ones tipping the scales when it feels like I might as well flip a coin and let fate decide what I can’t.
It’s not that I don’t want to write about how things are slowly changing, I just never seem to have the chance. Nowadays, my priorities are
survival elsewhere, and the written word isn’t the outlet I need anymore.
Besides, every time I try to get a thought on a page, I get lost in the scope. My thinking constantly goes further and further, as my understanding of the world moves beyond the things that affect only me. It’s made me a more patient, compassionate, and empathetic person. But by the time I figure something out, the feeling is gone, and words are no longer relevant.
I’ve been trying to leave my camera at home too, a way of forcing myself to savour each experience. It’s a delicate balance between that and my ever-present need to document everything. I’m discovering that memories aren’t as vivid as photographs, but they live longer in the implicit part of the mind, and both are food to an introvert nonetheless.
Days without a way to capture the world around me are never easy. I want to take pictures of sunlight and summer and sweat and sex, but life hasn’t been so much about events as the regularity. The moments I share every day with the people I need, or the time between when I’m recharging and healing. The things worth appreciating are more frequent, but all the more fleeting too.
My entries used to be filled with so many details, moments, thoughts, and emotions. I used to believe everything I wrote was important. Not that I was ever a particularly good writer, only a person trying to be honest with himself, and that was the way for me to sort out the things in my head.
Now that need isn’t there anymore. Instead, I write to keep track of where I am, knowing that in time I’ll be wondering how far I’ve gone, and let my pictures fill in the blanks.
On my birthday, Lisa treated me to all-you-can-eat sushi at my favourite restaurant, and cleavage.
The new Leonard Cohen biography is out and Genevieve tells me it’s amazing, or at least a great deal more informative than the course we took last year at Ottawa U about the birth of the romantic troubadour. I used to be completely obsessed with this man, but now I can’t remember the last time I put on one of his albums for a straight listen through. I knew he was coming to Ottawa this Friday before tickets went on sale, but never bothered trying to get my hands on one, even though it used to be a goal of mine to see him perform live before the booze and sex took him like a true rockstar. He represents a part of my past I hardly relate to now, and it’s left me feeling like I need a new hero (who has some very big shoes to fill).
Little boy’s birthday parties involve a little less sexy and a lot more chaos.
I have so many friends with their paths set out for them over next 20-odd years cause of jobs and kids, yet just as many who’ve arrived at adulthood and are now wondering what’s next. After finding a career, buying a house, and getting married, they’re learning that these were goals they never wanted for themselves, only things people have always been telling them they should have. Now they’re wondering where to go from here, and how to find a true sense of fulfilment.
I went through the same crisis years ago, but feel no less uncertain about the future at this point. It’s only natural to go through constant cycles of struggle and resolution if we’re determined to grow and improve, not to mention the curves life tends to throw at us. I’m starting to view it with a sense of freedom instead of doubt.