Here’s what they don’t tell you at crazy-camp: being crazy sucks.
My blog has turned out to be kind of a weird format where I write stuff that I think is kind of funny or interesting, but not much about what is happening in my life. It works for me, because my life is limitlessly boring. But, I’m having a bad day and I just want a place to vent. The folks are coming into town and I am staring at the filthy ring in my toilet apathetically. I could clean it, but it would mean that I had failed the writing test I gave myself this morning. You know, the one that goes like, “Write something. ANYTHING!”
And so I write: My life is great. I feel bad all the time. There is no reason for me feeling bad all the time. Hence, the crazies must be having a party in my cerebellum.
While it is super-fun to be able to have days where you record a new song, clean the entire house and run for 3 miles, all before lunch, the laws of mental gravity are unchangeable. Whatever goes up must come down.
Today I am down.
I am what you would call a rapid-cycling bipolar person. What that means is that I can go from ecstatic to suicidal in approximately 45 minutes. My husband tells me that it is sometimes quicker than that, although I think he is full of crap most of the time. Much like my toilet.
It would be fun to tell you that I wasn’t always a little nutty. I actually believed that for a while. In fact, although I started being scary-crazy when I was 19, I had an inkling that I might have some mental problems much earlier, when I was in 7th grade. It was a pretty crappy year where I spent a majority of my life wishing I was invisible. I had no idea what was wrong, but I wasn’t really looking for answers. Luckily, I accidentally found one when my health/sewing teacher did this whole lecture on manic-depression. I slouched in my chair, sewing googly eyes onto a sock, thinking, “Rapid mood swings, emotional outbursts, random euphoric bouts of creativity…I totally do all of that stuff. Interesting…”
I know what it’s like to feel out of control and emotionally shipwrecked. When I was teaching, it was not like this. I had a schedule. I had people to put on makeup for. I had an image to uphold and it kept me from doing things that were outside my norms. Yes, occasionally I did a weird dance to a song that I created from an article about nuclear reactors, but that was still within normal parameters for me.
Now that I am a writer working in my own home, I have no norms. There is no one telling me to put on clothes. There is no one telling me to stop and have a sandwich. The only thing that keeps me moving forward is knowing Abigail depends on me to be a sane, dependable force in her life. And so I keep my life held together with peanut butter sandwiches and storybooks.
When she is in bed and I have the minutes that are mine, I sit and look at a blinking cursor. What happens to a writer that can’t write? Repression, anger, frustration…but, I have no one to blame but myself. The empty page scares me. It forces me to face my own inadequacies and find the parts of myself that I have avoided resurrecting. I itch to change the world, myself and the way people think. Yet, I can barely change the type of breakfast I eat without facing major emotional blockades coming from inside my traitorous skull.
You don’t want to read this. You want to be reading about the funniest celebrity farts ever, or the current political power of Dachshunds. I want to be reading that with you. Instead, I am “not so much frightened, but paralyzed with inaction,” as Hilda Doolittle would say.
I need to go clean the bathrooms now. That is where I am going to take my first action. It’s not romantic, it’s not poetic, it’s just necessary. My hope is that if I change something concrete, I will have a little more faith that I can change something bigger. If I am able to finally clear the floating, discolored scum from around the edges of the bowl, I will be able to clear the poisoned voices from out the corners of my mind. You know, the ones who tell me, “You failed the writing test today, just like yesterday and the day before…”
You know what? I totally passed. My toilet inspired me to write and, for better or worse, the little snarky ghosts in my mind have been flushed for one more day. Maybe I should consider cleaning the toilet more often.
Nah. That would just be crazy.