Lost, But Looking Ahead
Last evening, for perhaps the thousandths time in the past month, I made myself promise to spend more of my time writing, drafting, reading, getting onto Medium, reading, writing, clapping. It’s been a difficult one to keep, lately, as much as I detest making promises I can’t/won’t keep; somedays, for certain, wild horses couldn’t bring me to the laptop, the site of all the madness, paranoia, paralysis…
And how good and fitting it is to die in one’s head!
Not so much. Though I’ve remarked recently on the potential irony in demanding of myself that I write for the good of my mental health, effectively transforming it from a passion to a compulsion, anything to keep my fingers moving rather than losing myself in distractions that bring me nothing. Of course, that’s rather the point. Then again, I justify the writing as “good” since I’m not hurting anyone (least of all myself), and the paradox disappears.
Surrounded by hopelessness (I’m not complaining, just processing), a darkness that relentlessly points to the futility of it all, and into this frailty, introspection seems to be a death: the death of the outside world, and the hope for turning something beautiful becomes a distant one indeed.
I know I am not alone in having a condition affected adversely by changing weather/atmospheric conditions. (To this day I laugh when I think of Mrs. Bennett saying, “My nerves…my poor nerves! You just don’t understand what they’re like!” [or something like that]. To which Mr. Bennett replies, “To the contrary, my dear. They’ve been my very good friend these twenty years.”) Once upon a time, in Manitoba, winter meant a good four to five months of -20C temperatures, with the odd cold snap, and occasionally, very occasionally, early spring. They didn’t call it “Winterpeg” for no reason, though the name hardly applies now. Fucking global warming.
These days, and this year especially, it seems, temperatures have been all over the map. I got to have a bit of relief, when we had an arctic air mass over our heads for over a week and temperatures were between -30 to -49 with the windchill. But mostly it’s been four months of constant transitioning from warm to cold, and back again. It’s playing Hel with my nerves.
Which never results in super positive thinking. I keep thinking I need to get some CBT involved to really change my life, to get me to a place where my pain stops determining all my choices.
To some extent, though, it’s as if the pain drove me back to writing in the first place. When I worked in a manufacturing environment, I wrote much, much less. For one thing, my energy was nicely depleted during the day, and by the evening, my impulse was to relax, spend time with my kid. Faced with a shitload of time I hadn’t had access to before, desperate for a way out of the terrible situation I was in, I found Medium and began to rekindle my passion for the written word. It is, very definitely, the written that drives me. My hearing impairment, and the plague, means hearing things is more like a distant memory than anything real.
But, too, this time (I hope it’s different!), I realized that I need to set my purpose outside of myself. Confusing…yes, well, I need to keep going because there’s a young one who’s not at all (if ever) ready to do without me. Perhaps this is why people gravitate to Christianity: it means you never have to think about why you need to keep going (ah ha, in a sort of non-critical, opiate-like fashion). I try to permit my actions to have meaning after the fact, which means there’s nothing essential about keeping on, save that to stop is to deliver death to meaning that you were hoping for in the first place.
So I drag my sorry, despondent, unwilling ass to my laptop. And I write.
And hope returns.
J.D. Harms 2021