Writing, for me, is like a staggered incomplete exorcism of all the crashing booming thoughts that tornado inside my brain. All day long. All night, too. My dreams are chaotic and cathartic and epic and some of them I’ve been dreaming since I was very young. Always a deep, dark wood with a pine needle blanketed floor. Always a museum filled to bursting with books and art and science exhibits; real DNA blown to six feet tall, turning slowly in a bubbling solution.
This is what lives in my head.
I visited a psycic a few months ago at the insistence of my dear friend Polly. The moment Gail laid eyes on me she put her head in her hands and said, “Girl…your head gives me a nosebleed. It just doesn’t stop. How do you sleep? My God, how do you function?”
The answer is I function all right. On the surface. Underneath I’m a quivering mess. My brain jumps from one idea to another, it constructs poems and characters and worries over the budget while my body is working, cleaning, or playing with Xander. When I try to hold a conversation with my son or even my husband my mind is usually struggling to focus on the words coming out of their mouth or their facial expressions or their actions. My head, as everyone says, is in the clouds. Secret worlds and recipes for homemade cleaning solutions (Did you know you can clean a grody frothing/steam wand on a cappucinno maker with fresh squeezed lemon juice and vinegar? Did you know that you can use the leftover rind to polish and sanitize your faucet?) swirl and crash into one another. My favorite teacher once said that my mind was like the internet (and this was at the internet’s infancy): a searchable treasure trove of useful and entertaining information and creative ideas. I need a librarian living in there, wedged in my grey matter to sort it all out for me.
A lot of the time I am sad. Spoiled rotten when I don’t get what I want. Fussy and fidgeting and morose. Scared of crowds but loving so very deeply what humanity is and what it holds inside its flawed shells.
I have been on medicine. Lots of times, I have. The most recent stuff made me have the beautiful and weird side effect of “brain lightning”. Which sounds exciting but is actually scary. It also gave me vertigo, nausea, and ten extra pounds. What I was on before made me a worn out wet rag, boring and bored and unable to conjure up emotion or creative thought. I haven’t been on anything in over two years. I’d rather the frenzy than the drought of emotion. Or brain lightning. That was weird. Plus (!), my insurance has a special rider that says that any mental health stuff is not covered because of my history of mental health issues. So I can’t get any of the chemicals to play around and mate with my own chemicals anyway. Pfft.
What helps? Writing does. Being outside. Walking. Yoga. Being with my family. Setting up Legos and Playmobil and reading to my son. Reading to myself. Being alone with my husband late at night and doing what a man and a woman who love one another and lust after one another do late at night. All of those things help. My new job so far is interfering (or my own malaise after I get done with new job) with these theraputic purple and bright remedies. I need to figure out a way to carve out time to heal. I need to let it all go, disperse, pixelate into the ether.
Any advice?


Image: Roger Fenton British, 1819-1869  Reclining Odalisque, 1858 salted paper print from glass negative 28.6 x 40 cm (11 1/4 x 15 3/4 in.) 1997.382.34 Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Rubel Collection, Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace, Anonymous, Joyce and Robert Menschel, Jennifer and Joseph Duke, and Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee Gifts, 1997


"... all my lovers were there with me, all my past and futures."

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