I found myself becoming more superstitious, the further I got into writing my book. Jow has seen much of it, but never as a whole. And no one did either until it was submitted. And now, only my editor. There was something about the combination of Tax Season and Book Writing and occasionally Craft Show that rendered me completely isolated. I didn’t write letters to friends, I didn’t blog very much, I didn’t go out very much. I would text and ask after people, but I found myself not knowing what to say.
Even here, I had the desire to obfuscate and pretend like normal life is simply resuming by writing some Back to Basics entries. It’s always my reaction to any major life event, I want to smooth out my skirts, put on my lipstick and smile like a Beauty Pageant contestant and pray that no one actually takes the time to ask me how I am. When I have been, on the rare occasion these past few months that someone has been able to pin me down to inquire, my brain would just sort of whir uselessly. I would try to compose an answer. I would try to be vague. I would try to say something, anything, besides I am drowning in this. I am drowning so deeply in this that I don’t even know how to ask for help or what would help. I can’t do anything but take in more mouthfuls salt water. I don’t even know how I got here, I just know that it’s bad. It’s so bad. Because I can’t even say how bad it is.
In my regular life, I like my own company. I like an unexpected afternoon to idle away however I please. I could read or dye fiber or window shop or have a chocolate croissant at a little cafe. But all of my solitary time in the last six months has not been for me to do as please. It’s been to work. I was a traveling anchorite from my office to my home and back and forth. I was slowly letting go of everything that mattered to me. My roots were three inches thick, my clothes unorganized, my kitchen untouched by me for months, my altars acquiring dust, my blog was sparse, my relationships untended to, my inner garden a barren wasteland of dust. I had no inner life past accounting and glamour and the hollow of that was more difficult than I ever could have imagined. I couldn’t sleep. I had resumed reality television and stress eating.
I thought that finishing the first draft of my book would offer some kind of relief. That I would be able to feel emotions again as I had not too long ago. Mostly, I’ve waited to cry but I don’t because my ancestral threads of old Sicilian ladies in black runs deep in my chosen bloodline. After thirty, something weird happens to us where we don’t cry at all or we cry for hours or even days once it starts.
I feel so removed from everyone and everything I love. If you asked me what I would like to do now that the book is in editing (which I am often asked), I smile gamely and give a non-answer. Because the truth is, I don’t know. It feels too big, too overwhelming. I had dedicated so long to being asking to write a book and then actually writing it, I’m not entirely sure what to do.
It’s ironic that I write these books and blogs about how to find tiny missing pieces of yourselves and it takes so much more than I ever had to give and then three bites more because my Muse does not give a shit about concepts like “self care” and “down time”. It’s all about hitting the deadline, filling my vow. I dream of my uncle who casually mentions he’s not really dead and that he wants a birthday party without inviting my mother, his little sister. I scold him and tell him that he needs to invite her and she will only stay a little while and he’ll be dead soon enough.
But mostly, I don’t know what to say. Not to the people I love and who love me back. Not to coworkers or acquaintances. Not to myself. The closest to me ask hopefully, are you any better?
I want to be better. I want to step through this door and not just huddle in the entrance way. They take me for drinks at my favorite red restaurant in the city I went to college in. They drink to me and we eat tiny bits of antipasto and talk about what it’s like, aging. They say the nice things that people who love you say, that I am a femme fatale and that I look like Cristina Hendricks. They tell me that I am glamorous.
I don’t know how it got so dark in my head exactly. Writing this book forced me to really sit with all my fears, all of my brokenness and stew in it until I started to sew myself back up. It’s my hope that the easier aspect will come once the editing is finished.
I’m trying to find my bearings. To find little things that make me happy. To make little plans for only a few days ahead of me. To find that brightness again. To take back the things I let go, tiny orb by tiny orb.