The Green Lounge: Write As You Are
I’ve been a high-functioning depressive the last few weeks or, as we like to call it this winter, a Minnesotan. My compulsion to write was solidly trumped by the pleasure of not writing – just doing and being and making sure I got plenty of sleep and coffee, although not in close proximity to one another. I did a little paid work, volunteered a lot and walked aimlessly around my neighborhood, in the hopes of feeling more centered and feeding my pale, starving cells some vitamin D.
I’m still off-center and we just got snow-blitzed again.
So I drag myself, with some difficulty, to the keyboard. But I know that if I keep typing, eventually I will wonder why I ever stopped.
My old job needed me back temporarily to train a new manager. I met with her in a coffee shop last week. She was put together – groomed, French-tipped nails, makeup, fitted clothes. I, on the other hand, have spent a winter or four devolving into a schlump. But I was on time, despite getting lost on the way to a place where I’d been only a week before. Timeliness seems to be the only level of professionalism that I’ve maintained since I started working from home nearly 8 years ago.
I kept staring at her nails. My hands, dried and split from cold weather and housework, look something akin to a prize fighter’s. I used to try. Now I dress like Mr. Rogers, comfortable, interchangeable, squishy clothes. I used to wear business suits from Talbot’s. I used to wear mascara. I loved my business suits. It was like having a uniform. I’ve always had a thing for uniforms…on myself. Now, if I’d only hear my inner monologues in a sexy foreign accent, I’d be irresistible to me.
April is like a re-set month for me. Long after people have made and discarded New Year’s resolutions, April is a month of optimism. I do have to admit, though, that this year my April optimism is more like that thin layer of fluffy white snow that covers piles of half-melted dirty snow. Looks nice, but a little sunlight melts the pretty snow to reveal the grotty, depressing truth.
I rang in my 14th wedding anniversary by arguing with my husband on the way to a restaurant. Since we rarely argue, this made it a truly special occasion. My daughter will celebrate her first double digit birthday soon and next month, I will officially become a soccer mom. That used to be a thing, didn’t it? Are politicians still falling over themselves pandering to soccer moms? As usual, I suspect that I might be a day late and a dollar short to that political trend.
I’ve been reading a lot, both off and online – a silent reader on many of your blogs. Online reading is sometimes like jumping from shiny object to shiny object like a crazed magpie, so I returned to books. It is virtuous to say that I read for enlightenment, but sometimes it’s detached curiosity about how other people think.
I read intellectuals only to find that personal experience informs nearly every statistical and theoretical approach. In a data-driven world, it’s good to remember that the human experience is always subject to interpretation and the search for truth, for order, for rationality is unending. And even if you are very, very smart, it is unlikely that you are ever completely intelligent.
Offbeat, quirky books caught my eye at the library. I started reading Essays by Wallace Shawn (a playwright, but mostly known for his role in “The Princess Bride”) and have already come upon something to mull over.
“My congenital inability to take the concept of the inviolable “self” seriously – my lack of certainty about who I am, where I am and what my “characteristics” are – has led me to a certain skepticism, a certain detachment, when people in my vicinity are reviling the evil and the alien Other, because I feel that very easily I could become that Other, and so could the reviler. And this has had an effect on my view of the world.” Wallace Shawn
I read this shortly after reading an article on Rwanda – a story about forgiveness between a family and the murderer of some of their members. We often hear tales like this and it brings to mind the nature of forgiveness, something I’ve written about here. While compassion should rule the day, I’m not convinced that I could just as easily wield a machete against an unarmed family as be an unarmed family. Maybe a little evil-reviling is okay.
This is a lot of words in which I say very little. So this post is a thank you and an apology. I’m writing again. Thanks for reading. Sorry that I had to do this post to make that happen. It’s a warm up to regular writing. It’s the only thing that is warm here.