There used to be a time when my mind was like a big jungle cat stalking some poor, wretched, delicious creature through the underbrush of some country that you couldn’t point out on a map. It chased ideas with a purpose. It stalked thoughts and pounced on them with grace that cannot be replicated by anything other than nature.
Nowadays, it’s more like a ferret that’s been given a healthy dose of amphetamine and been put into a room of laser pointers and mirrors. There is no grace. There is spastic, lurching, confused darting. I don’t know if it is a condition of aging, or depression, or being hit in the head A LOT – all of which I am more than qualified for. But the end result is the sincere inability to capture those same thoughts that used to fall under my mind’s pounce like so many delicious bunnies only a couple of years ago.
The funny thing about being hyper aware of this particular personal detail is the fact that being aware of it doesn’t help. Typically, awareness for me is step one in a solution. You can’t put out a fire if you don’t know that it is burning. But with this newest neural nuance, knowing about it makes it burn hotter.
So I take a deep breath.
I take the pile of notes that I have and swipe them off of my sad little desk.
And I just focus on the keyboard and it’s amazing potential.
One thing that’s always drawn me to writing is the ability to build something out of words. Sure, they are they same words we all use every day – but they have never not once been put into this particular order that they are right this second. That’s a powerful thing. At least it is to me.
If I could at all put a noose on the cause of this perpetual distraction, it would have to be my process. I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t write without a page of notes. Little quips that I collect throughout the day and then try to mash into something resembling a train of thought. That works when researching an article for a paid gig. But it doesn’t work on my brain.
Which brings me to 3:30 in the morning. Dangerously low on Copenhagen and strangely high on over-the-counter cough medicine. Just sitting here using my fingertips to peel away this façade I’ve built up around myself one key tap at a time.
I have developed this weird habit of censoring myself because I am so worried about what people will think. Sure, I know my mom reads these. I know my entire family does. That makes it hard to talk about things like depression. Hell, it makes it hard to talk about a lot of things. My friends read these. My buddies. For some reason I think if I write about love or relationships I’m going to quit getting invited to go on fishing trips. I worry about the audience I’ve built not liking something and therefore not reading anything else I write.
I gritted my teeth so hard they squeaked while writing that last paragraph. The notion of “censoring” myself literally makes me nauseated. Yet, I do it all the time.
That is a “do” I want to make a “did”.
So, consider this a disclaimer of sorts. I’m going to promise you that I’m going to write something at some point that is going to get under your skin. Mom, if you’re reading this – I’m fine. I’m just not going to avoid writing about the ugly sides of life because it might bear some explaining at some point.Hell, I’ll probably follow that up with telling a hilarious story, or writing something insightful. I’m not just going to sit here and write about life kicking your ass without making you laugh about it and telling you to get your ass up and swing back. Because I tell myself that every single day.
I’m a writer – I write. If you’re a painter – paint. If you’re a builder – build. Take whatever it is that gives your life purpose, and do it.
The one person we should never stifle is that little voice in our heads that is the purest version of who we are. It’s usually the first voice we hear in our heads and the last one we listen to. Listen to that little voice. He knows what’s up.