Thursday, July 16, 2009

In a rowboat without oars.

A few days ago I stood in my kitchen, ready to wash the dishes, and instead, leaned over the sink and had a panic attack. I'm not prone to this sort of thing. I used to get them in high school, but I attribute that to drinking/smoking/partying too much. A couple of weeks ago I had a rough night of nightmares, and a panic attack such as I've never had. Once the feeling abated, I was filled with an even greater dread- I finally admitted to myself that although I'm enjoying many aspects of my unemployment, the logistics of being poor are suffocating, and I seemed to have reached a low mental point...

I've worked hard this summer on my various projects, and am just steps away from finishing my book. Great, yes, but baby, I need some fucking cash. Just a little bit. Enough to pay my bills would be nice.

I'm not feeling sorry for myself- it's more I'm carrying a weight- a feeling, I suppose- the idea that I need to keep looking over my shoulder, as though some great maw is opening behind me, like Big Brother only uglier, blacker, much more subtle.

When I was a kid- actually, well into my twenties- I felt as though I was always being watched. This belief made me want to believe in God, it gave me a conscience and made me always feel judged. It didn't help that I read far too much philosophy- most of which now gives me hives (although yes, I still have a soft spot for Deleuze). Soon after I moved to New York, I got over myself very quickly. Whether it was the shock and joy of moving to the city, or moving away from an abusive relationship, who knows- it doesn't really matter. All I know is that I thought I was hot shit for most of my life, and all of a sudden I began to relish moments in which my image didn't matter. It was incredibly liberating. It meant that for the first time, I was able to enjoy people- really, REALLY enjoy them. I no longer felt pushed to finish a book before I turned 30 (Someone I once knew told me that when one didn't produce a great work before the age of 30, he or she was already finished... I was insecure enough to believe this). I no longer felt I was the smartest person on the planet. What a relief.

I've enjoyed the last few years of my life- thought about things that ultimately don't matter a little less, let go of some of my heady excitement to enjoy the way my body felt, and simply let myself live a little more. I've been, dare I say, happy...

Which is why my recent moments of panic piss me off. I'm not so young that I still feel dramatic about all of it- and I don't feel grossly important enough to feel as though I'm always alone (Although we're each of us alone, right? The one existential adage I return to was said by Sartre: We're all condemned to freedom). I just desire to move on to the next step, and I'm feeling impatient.

New decision- learn to deal with all of this a bit more constructively, which means to loosen my attachment to that giant, invisible, and totally nonexistent masticating maw I've managed to construct over my shoulder. 'Cause no one, as far as I know, is out to get me. I need to remember that.

If it doesn't work- if I'm not able to meditate/sob/scream/bitch/kick the shit out of the ugly oogly booglies/voices in my head, then someone out there better help me get a job, and pronto.


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