What is happening to me–? I can feel myself seal off from the world. And strangely, I rather like it, in an “I am so relieved” kind of way. One of my writing mentors said that friends were the biggest enemy of writing, and I did not quite understand her at the time. What? How could friends be bad for anything?
And yet now I kind of understand, even though I totally love my friends. Even though everyday, there is at least one email from a friend who cheers me up. Guiltily, I announce, that yes, I understand what she means. Kind of. At least, I’m closer to understanding than ever before.
When I was in my early twenties, I couldn’t
bare bear to be alone (this mistake, another homonym misuse was caught my 4th read-through). Every minute of the day contained a social activity (yes, I couldn’t even sleep alone–while everyone hated having to share a room with dormmates, I relished the thought of company at all times). The minute I stood still in a room, I felt the world crumbling around me, some awful thing poking through my emotions. And so I would keep on moving, knowing I was running away from myself. (I wonder if that’s why Tom Cruise runs so much in his movies).
I think I was about five (at one point fifteen) pounds lighter in my early twenties than I am now. Probably from all that moving and running around.
Sometime in my mid twenties, I crashed. You just can’t run around forever, and eventually the demons catch up. They tackled me and wrestled me to the floor until I was nearly catatonic and wrapped up, a mummy encased in my pain. I let it ride. No, I didn’t let it ride. I didn’t want to let it ride, but I had no choice, so I just rode the pain until I could feel the pain again and it became insufferable and I kept riding until I could get above the pain again.
Still, I was a social creature. I loved people. I hung out friends. I had activities.
Now I am just so tired. And it isn’t just one day, but weeks, turning into months, of this limited energy–waking up a little tired, knowing it’s downhill all day from there. It makes me downright cranky some days, and I grit my teeth and bite my lip for hours. I am changing, somehow–it creeps me out to see this but at the same time, I’m just riding it. Maybe I’m even letting it ride.
I am just not up for socializing. It takes everything I’ve got to be out there–and not everyone understands that I’m going at a different pace and need lots of quiet so I’ve got a lot to explain and that exhausts me further. I miss my friends but I can’t face the lack of understanding.
Compound this conflict with how I was raised: “A woman always has to be cheerful and be a great hostess!” So no matter what, I’ll try to put a smile on my face and be that great hostess at all times. (But a reader, “Andrew,” pointed me to the wonderful “Spoon Theory” if you want a hint of what I’m feeling).
Mostly, I’ve got to write. And I’m exhausted, so I’ve got to economize as best I can to do the things I need. I always wondered how Laura Hillenbrand wrote Sea Biscuit while suffering Chronic Fatigue Syndrome–and though I have nothing like her affliction, I am getting the idea.
I have a new mantra these days: on days I’m to write, I don’t eat, don’t go out, don’t shower, until I get my words down. Of course, I’m not supposed to blog either. But in this case, I wanted to get these words off my chest before I settle in to the story of a character other than myself.
I got a phone call every fifteen minutes for an hour this morning. I cut the calls short on each one–something very hard for me to do. But I had to write. I had to sequester my energy. Maybe I really am turning into a writer–the dream I had that I would fine tune my recovery to develop the muscles of a newer and better writer may be coming into place. Maybe that is what all this exhaustion and desire to sleep is about–I am going through a metamorphosis.
Regardless, I’m changing, I think.
p.s. I have let the gopher mole possess my garden. He wins. The stake did nothing, my dogs have thoroughly scoured the soil, happily rooting through the garden and digging holes into tunnels–all to no effect.
The little fellow is hungry–and I’ll allow him to share my veggies. (Even though I am still mad at him for eating my French Tarragon without sharing any with me!). My goal to celebrate life with this garden has taken an unexpected turn with an extra guest (I guess flora doesn’t come without fauna) at the table, but isn’t that life?
p.p.s. Oh screw it. I keep thinking of better things, but I’m just really down about not being able to do everything I want to do, and being the equivalent of a dog that wears an electronic collar around his neck. He steps over his boundary and ZAP! he is set back.
For all my talk about how this energy limitation helps me ferret out what’s really important in my life, I am at least as equally distraught about not being able to do EVERYTHING I want to do. I am so distraught about not being able to write unless I have a whole day clear, and otherwise feeling so retarded. I am just so frustrated. Beyond frustrated, really.
Who is this new person that I have become? Those few sentences I put down in the face of my exhaustion look so pathetic. My self doubt is overwhelming.