broken slate

I think I've lost my groove.

I wandered the house looking for it - under the couch cushions, between the books on the shelf, behind the milk in the fridge, in the cobwebby shadows of the closet along with my other skeletons - but no cigar. Just a soft blankness in the center of my head, comforting in its utter lack of regard for anything at all and frighteningly alluring. If I could just accept this as the new normal, my life would become much simpler.

I wouldn't care about the fact that the spark of creativity that once burned so fiercely within me that going a day - an hour, even - without an outpouring of art was unthinkable - I wouldn't care that that spark is barely glimmering now, or that when it does, it's as though I'm seeing it through the window of a house that is half a mile away through a snowstorm. It's faint and ineffectual, and any power of compulsion it once held to go, make, do, be that which you dream and don't just admire idly from afar is quieted by the distance and thoughts of the hardships of getting to the damn thing in the first place.

I wouldn't care about the fact that I'm barely making enough to scrape by. When you have no interests, you spend less money anyways. I wouldn't care about not being able to afford a new coat (one that actually has buttons) because when there's nothing that interests you enough to bundle up and go outside in the first place, you don't need one.

I'd stop training, which would save me more money. Training is hard, and increases the amount of food I need to buy, and sometimes it makes me feel uncomfortable emotions. It's easier just to avoid discomfort in the first place, burying the uncomfortable bits ever deeper.

I wouldn't care when my focus was broken and I lost track of what little scrap of inspiration I had managed to grasp, because I wouldn't have started to write in the first place.

But I do care. And that's my saving grace right now, I suppose. I care that I'm slipping ever closer to the end of caring and a life wrapped in cotton, unfeeling and insulated from the worries of others, not struggling to produce beauty or utility for an audience that might not appreciate it, or even ever see it in the first place. I'm not quite sure why I care, but I do.

Actually, it's not exactly true that I'm not sure why I care about this. I do have an inkling. It may be dumb, but I've been thinking a lot of my own ideas are dumb lately, and that fear is probably shutting up the decent ones right along with the stupid. My inkling is that I'm in mourning.

Since that sounds ridiculous even to me, I'm going to ignore the deafening inner voice to just shut the fuck up already birdie no one cares what you're going through and go on. I had a Plan. I had the makings of a Real Grown-Up Life. I had a Dream that I followed doggedly and devotedly for over a decade, including the last painful year when I'd realised that I did not want it, and was not going to keep following it, and that I was only aiming for the one big milestone to please my parents and to prove to myself that I could complete something, anything. Since before I should have been trusted to dress myself competently (and looking back on some of my fashion choices, I still shudder), I had one singular goal, and I achieved it. And now I feel like I have nothing.

This isn't necessarily bad. Goodness knows I've heard (and given) the trite advice that "this isn't 'having to start over,' this is 'being given a clean slate!'" enough to know that there's a hell of a lot I could do in this situation to reinvent myself, building a life with dreams that can grow with me instead of a static goal that is or isn't achieved. And that's exactly what I intend to do. But it's also impossible to turn away from the fact that I followed something that I loved for a very long time - longer than I've been an adult - and now that it's gone, there's a tattered hole in my life - my routine, my thoughts, the way I organise every other facet of every day - where it used to be, and that's painful. It's like losing a partner, or an arm. I've been ignoring this and simply trying to pick right back up and start fresh, never realising why it just hasn't been working.

I'm grieving for the lost possibility of a life that, while I am still quite sure wasn't what I wanted or would ever have been content with, was viable. And that's some tough shit.

I don't even have a clean slate. I have a broken slate. And before I try to skip away merrily with the rest of my life, I need to allow myself some time to weep over the shattered lists and plans and sketches, to pick up the scattered pieces and salvage what I can, then to create a mosaic with what remains. Once that is clean and ready for fresh chalk, I'll actually be ready to continue.

But I have to give myself plenty of time to mourn what could have been.

-b