Anti-Humanitarian Effort

Hello there, world.

So. These past two weeks of lifestyle reevaluation have not gone exactly according to plan. The Plan, you see, went something like this: I would wake up early, all self-imposed pressure having evaporated overnight. I would read an inspiring book over coffee and then journal my way to self-actualization. It would take two, three hours tops. After an invigorating run, I’d start the pasta water for lunch and, while waiting for it to boil, whip out a manifesto or two. That afternoon, I would make serious headway into some new, affirming, revelatory project—while having plenty of mental energy left over for my family of course—and I might not even need to sleep that night, so profound would be my invigoration. By dawn the next morning, I would have replied to all the emails I’ve been so delinquent about lately (sorry!), conquered the ironing pile, and come up with a portfolio of new business plans. Who knows? I might have even switched to decaf.

Reality, however, went more like this: Wake up. ANXIETY ANXIETY ANXIETY. Breakfast, with a side of ANXIETY. A lengthy meditation on panic followed by escalating stress. Sprained ankle. (For the record, I no longer recommend jumping up from your computer chair when your leg has fallen asleep. It may look funny, but… well, it is. But still.) No workout. No revelation. Foot turning purple; water-boiling is no longer on list of known abilities. ANXIETY. Can no longer locomote. Can no longer see beyond Cage of Failure. Will never be able to write anything again ever. ANXIETY ANXIETY ANXIETY. Repeat to varying degrees for several days. Ankle mends. Head cold descends. Life ends.

These haven’t been the best of weeks. I’ve been letting everything slide—my writing, my friendships, those five freaking kilometers I’ve worked so hard to be able to run—and I’m feeling the void keenly. I thought that by taking the pressure of my own expectations out of the equation, I would find instant peace and clarity, but it feels more like I accidentally removed myself from the equation. When I’m not nurturing the creative or communal parts of my life, I become a shell… and maybe that’s the real revelation I needed from these weeks of navel-gazing.

Or maybe it’s not so much of a revelation as it is a truth that I discover over and over in different ways. The negative and deprecating voices in my head have been doing a number on me lately, assuring me that I have nothing of value to offer the world, that the world would actually be a better place if I weren’t contributing to it, and that the only respectable course of action for the good of all mankind would be to slink into a quiet corner somewhere and try very, very hard not to be noticed. (Now you understand that my blog is at heart an anti-humanitarian effort.) Going through life as a shell of a person though… Nothing is worth that. Nothing.

I do have some other projects percolating now (should I thank the sprained ankle or the head cold for that?), and I’ve confirmed in the space between my heart and my fingertips that this blog is meant to be sanctuary, not money-maker. The ads are gone now, and coming back to the page now is like opening my front door after sending away guests who had long overstayed their welcome. The air is lighter, the ambiance softer. It feels like home again.

And now that you know I’m not here for you and am actually here in flagrant disregard for your wellbeing, how are you? What have you been up to these past two weeks? Any fellow sprained ankles enjoying their restored dignity?

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  1. Well. You have had two weeks of yuck. I wish I could be there to put your water on to boil for you…or just bring you an all-ready-made dinner. I will say that I am happy to read your lovely words again! I am also so grateful that you allow me into this wonderful sanctuary…even if it is “in flagrant disregard for [my] wellbeing.” (HA!) I posted today for the first time in 6 months. It is a terrible post, but a start. I hope I can feel like I have something worthwhile to contribute soon. Right now? Not so much.

  2. O! that sucks about the ankle (and the anxiety). Ankles are so NECESSARY, and we don’t even realize until something happens to them. I think everyone is in a bit of blog funk lately, so don’t feel like it’s just you. I give you a great big hug right here: HUG!

  3. i’ve always contended that my blog is for me. there are many others who blog for everyone else if people need to feed themselves that way. but writing is theraputic for me, and, well, i need it. so i write for me.

  4. Glad I’m not the only one who plans “ten impossible things before breakfast” lists for herself.

    And Psssst….
    I had a Belin Sized Wall of Denial accidentally knocked down a few weeks ago and started sweating bullets over ..well everything really. This seems to help

    Mood Gym (free, run and made by…a university in Autralia I think)

  5. I’m sorry it’s been such a misery. 🙁 I do hope things get better, that your heart and mind and those pesky anxious thoughts settle down and clarify. May you find HEAPS of joy in whatever you manage to muddle through each day, and take heart that you’re alive, you’re loved, and you make your readers worlds better just by writing your crazy, honest life. 🙂

  6. Megsie – That last line of your comment is me too right now. Thanks so much for the dinner wishes (they count more than you’d think!), and if it’s any comfort or motivation to you, I love seeing new posts from you too.

    Liz – “Ankles are so NECESSARY…” Haha! I know what you mean about the blog funk epidemic. Maybe it’s just a May thing and June will be the Return to Awesome Blogging epidemic?

    Ame – Writing is therapeutic for me too, but I have a hard time letting it be what it is and not trying to fit into conventions or aspire for more.

    Sarah – Can I just reiterate how much I love your name on here? The “deepest darkest Italy” bit always cracks me up. Also, thanks for the link to the Mood Gym; I’ll check it out first thing!

    Krista – You’re a gem, sweet friend. Thank you for appreciating what I share even with all the crazy, honest parts.

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