Saturday, May 23, 2009

Meandering Mess of Thoughts

Sometimes I think I'm a pretty decent writer who can at least turn a good phrase. Sometimes I think I suck and have deluded myself for years. From either perspective though, I've always liked one thing about my writing; I always shoot for honesty, and sometimes I actually get there. It's probably part of my (hopefully charming) naivete' that I think a single life, when dealt with honestly, can reveal something universal about humanity. (Well, that's one of the lessons I got from Steinbeck, even if that wasn't one of his intended messages.)

For awhile now, writing has been very hard because I've feared that I really had nothing of value to say. The truth is that I haven't liked what I had to say. It's been repetitive and monotonous, but so has my life, and I haven't liked that either. That's one of the reasons why I found April's Poem A Day challenge so personally exhilarating. Regardless of the artistry of my work, I was saying something, and the discipline of working with prompts and forms made me say things differently than I had before. Though I often covered old, familiar ground, I was approaching it from a different angle.

I think it's also why I've had a real writing (and emotional) let down in the weeks that have followed. I've been back to the same old crap, the same negative emotions (only unfettered by the lack of anti-depressants), the same frustrations with job hunting and finances, the same challenges with parenting, even though my child is allegedly grown. And I've been disgusted with myself for not having the grit to make myself look at things from different angles without external prompts forcing the perspective.

I want to improve my writing and my life, but I want to keep its honesty. Tonight, I can only do that in snippets. I can't connect them into a cohesive theme, but maybe the connections, the stitches that hold them together, will reveal themselves.

My arms, bitten, gouged, bruised and stitched, are driving me crazy. I can see the shocked looks on people's faces as they try to avoid looking at them. Verbal responses have included, "Oh my God, what happened?" They're primarily the color of sangria with lovely patches of pea soup green from my wrists three quarters of the way to my elbows, and I don't have any long sleeved shirts appropriate for this weather.

They're itching like mad. The wounds are covered with a sticky, prescription antibiotic ointment that attracts my cats. They happen to be shedding with the warming weather, and, well, I'm getting fuzzy. There is one strand that's gotten stuck under a stitch, and I just may have to take that stitch out myself to get rid of it. I can just see it getting embedded under the healing skin, and that gives me a complete case of the willies, almost as bad as the idea of removing a stitch myself.

This is temporary and minor. I know that, but it's given me a new perspective on how people react to those who are truly disfigured or disabled. It makes me ashamed of myself. I know I've had similar reactions, and I don't like being on the receiving end, even for a little while. What is the high road for dealing with that that which shocks, scares and even disgusts us, or that which makes us feel pity (not sympathy)? How do you find the high road when what scares, shocks and disgusts you is yourself? How do you avoid pity and create real change?

I've always thought that real change had to come from the inside out. External change can boost a mood, but without the interior growing to match the exterior, you're left with hypocrisy. Worse, you're left with a dishonest and empty shell of a life. My religion tells me to rely on the transformative grace of God. My upbringing tells me to rely on discipline and strength of character. Self help books, Dr. Phil and numerous life coaches provide endless tools and tricks.

Part of me wants God to work in my life like he did with Saul on the road to Damascus. I want Big Change, Dramatic Change, Flamboyant Change, and I want it now. So much for my image of myself as a patient person. Waiting does get old. Maybe that through a glass darkly thing includes recognizing God's grace as it comes into your life sometimes, because I'm definitely having trouble seeing it, but faith tells me it's there. Really.

My upbringing, as well as teaching me to possess discipline and strength of character, also made me question whether I really have them or not. I've known about the insecurity issues for awhile now. The forgiveness issues still surprise me sometimes. I'd like to think I'd finally gotten over my childhood.

I also admit that I'd like to be one of those people who make such a big turnaround that they can even inspire other people. Is vanity one of my issues or am I just acknowledging that everyone, whether or not they want the responsibility, is a role model?

It seems that questions are my route to honesty tonight. Asking them gives me another set of the willies. I'd rather not have to deal with these things. That I know is true.


Blogger sunflowerkat321 said...

I could have written most of this. "How do you avoid pity and create real change?" That's the million dollar question that I'm wrestling with. I also rarely write, because I feel like it's always the same old thing.

Having the courage to share your struggle while you look things square in the eye IS inspiring. It's very easy to put one's head in the sand and rationalize avoidance of change. (Believe me...I know!) You've had LOT of things happen. You feel the desire for change, and I'm sure you'll find your way.

May 24, 2009 4:40 PM  
Blogger alphawoman said...

I agree with everything Kat says. I find that having an one line jnl for as many years as all of us ex-AOLers have, it is becoming harder and harder. You have a beautiful gift of keeping it real and making us care. And I pray every night for help. I remember being in church and being told sometimes the answer God is giving you is "no"...well, damn! Hwo said,"Nothing happens, nothing happens then everything...." but it's true. Just the waiting part is killing me.

May 26, 2009 6:44 AM  
Blogger Nelle said...

Right now most of us are struggling with financial challenges. One year ago things were so much better for us. My husband's company packed up and left our state. Promised severance was not given, nor was his stay on bonus. He has been unemployed for four months and just last week was hired as a "temp for hire" job. Two days after he worked there they decided they couldn't afford to offer that position. My father is in heart failure and in the past month lost all ability to speak other than yes, no or okay. My life is so hard and I drag myself to work each day praying I can get through one more day. You are not alone.

May 27, 2009 6:15 AM  

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