When I’m like this, I struggle to find humor in anything. I’m flat. Everything feels heavy and in need of microanalysis. Things that shouldn’t matter, matter. I don’t dare read the newspaper or I will find myself sobbing at my inability to help some poor soul in a country whose name I can’t pronounce. When I realize a funk is upon me, it’s too late. I can’t do anything to correct it. I meander. I drift from one task to another, my heart not rising to any worthwhile occasion. I clean up my email in box, filing and deleting. I give a weak effort at collecting a few things from the RT’s room while he’s away for the week, knowing I should thoroughly clean the entire place, but rationalize not doing it because it’s his room. Not mine.
The patio and sunlight are a magnet, and I want to be outside so the soft breeze can soothe me; distract me from constructive activity. I take hold of my pruners and move from plant to plant, dead heading — snipping the spent blooms to encourage another round. They fall to the flagstones as I cut and scatter around the base of each pot. It’s quiet, contemplative work. As my eyes focus on minute characteristics of my small garden and its population of tiny insects, my mind works to hone in on what is troubling me, because I know something is. It’s a game of sorts to decide how easily to acknowledge that I know what it is. Do I admit it to myself? Or do I immerse myself in the possibilities, all the while chastising myself for having anything at all worthwhile to be preoccupied with.
My camera usually comes out because it’s a good excuse to play with the macro setting which often finds objects I can’t see — even with my glasses on. Some of what I find is lovely, even though few would admit to thinking a bug is beautiful. What I see in the images sparks a bit of wonder, curiosity, and effectively deters me from thinking about myself and whatever was on my mind.
I could use this time to sort through what’s troubling me, but I don’t have to. There isn’t a deadline, no one is waiting, and nothing will happen if I fail to pinpoint the annoyance. If I acknowledge what’s bothering me, I may have to rise to the occasion and take care of it. I don’t want to take care of it. My “Take Care of It” window is closed. I’m only now realizing that it may not ever open again and that I’ll just crouch behind the counter in the dark, waiting quietly for whomever knocks to go away.
Because I have to immediately see what I’ve aimed my tiny Canon at, I end up back at my monitor loading and examining the images. I turn up the volume on one of my play lists and begin my writing, thinking…and avoidance. Fiona Apple or Liz Story’s Night Sky Essays and “Valse d’Amelie” are perfect accompaniments to my thoughts, but today, they’re only encouraging my dreary mood. As is Elton John’s “Belfast.”
I’m a laborious writer. I don’t have difficulty deciding what to write, or being motivated to write. I edit as I write, then review paragraphs and the entire text many, many times. I rarely write in a free thinking manner. Every comma, sentence fragment, run on, ellipsis or series of dashed phrases are thought about. Mulled over. Ridiculously.
The editing works wonders today because time passes, the songs on the play list change, and my sadness has shifted into an edgy kind of irritability. I’m annoyed. At least I’ll get something done now.
I’m lower on the food chain than a bug, not getting anything done.
But I’ll be out in that ocean today at 5PM, burning calories, and working my sore muscles, pretending like I want to have a different body than I do. One that I didn’t want when I had it. One that I didn’t want anyone to notice. Ever.
We’re supposed to want that, right?