So let me tell you about my day yesterday.
I went to a conference for women in aerospace. Some of it was very woo-woo, but mostly it was a ton of amazingly kick-ass ladies in a room talking about how we can continue to be more kick-ass. That is inspiring to me. Rah, rah – go team!
Then, I watched/listened/absorbed ‘Lemonade’. When I was in middle school, I love NSYNC. In truth, I loved Justin Timberlake, but you know what I wanted more than Justin Timberlake? I wanted to be the kid that wasn’t like everyone else. So, I liked Lance because he was basically JT-lite (I’m guessing Lance would have pretended to like me too, so it would have been mutually beneficial).
Well, here it is. I loved ‘Lemonade’. I felt moved. I felt like “OMG, Beyonce is poetically saying/speaking/visually-stunning me with vibes I have felt.” I found out a lot of the stuff I gobbled up belonged to a woman named Warsan Shire. She is a poet.
So maybe I’m like everybody else in the world. Maybe I’m woke, or maybe I’m not woke? I don’t want to not like something awesome just because I’m worried I’ll be like every other person. Maybe we’re all cool, you know (because I’m cool – right)?
Then I watched Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and had two glasses of red wine. I watched the episode where [SPOILER ALERT] Tina Fey becomes Kimmy’s amazingly appropriate therapist. I am digging this storyline.
I then took a shower. The shower is where I do 98 percent of my cataloging for my day. I use my reflective moments in the shower to make sense of all that gets thrown at me during the day. So here’s the tenuous threads of my brain captured here in my blog.
Have you ever seen Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk about creativity and muses?
Now you have. It’s it awesome?
I am Tom Waits in the car, but instead I am in the shower. There are no pens in the shower. The shower is relaxing and gives me soothing feelings of apathy. By the time I leave the shower, I have yelled at my muses and told them to come at a better time (and then they shout back – UM, when the hell are you ever available for us these days anyway? – TOUCHE, muses. Toosh – eyyyy).
Tonight, my muses came by and instead I felt like I should listen. I captured these strings of thought and wisps of connection and I began to think about how emotional I’ve been feeling lately. How real I’ve been feeling lately. How unusual I’ve been feeling. How deep I’ve been feeling.
It’s scary for me to feel deeply. I have learned that I am addicted to feeling deeply and I chase that depth until there is no light left.
I’m speaking about my experience with depression – or whatever the hell you want to call it because these days, I don’t think I want to label it as that anymore. I’m going all Winston Churchill on it and trying on another way to look at it. Whatever it is, I feel things and I feel them deeply. These days, I picture my feelings like a wavelength with very small peaks and valleys for very long stretches of time and it helps me do things like get out of bed and be a productive member of society, which ultimately gives me a greater sense of accomplishment and well-being.
However, sometimes I miss feeling consumed by my feelings because even though they hurt me, they made me feel like I was more myself because I felt my whole existence so intensely (and the excitement of the frequent peaks and valleys was exhilarating). I got to spend days obsessing over my own thoughts and feelings in the pursuit of giant epiphanies about life and myself. These days, I don’t feel driven to drown myself in them the way I used to because I have just enough stillness to see straight down to the bottom. Ah, thanks therapy, a master’s degree and ongoing yoga. Also, general life circumstances and aging + the ongoing effort of choice to just not do that unrealistic shit anymore. #adulting
It doesn’t mean that I still don’t have moments where I miss those indefinite moments of feeling things as deeply as I could stand it, just because they were strong and powerful and beautiful in their own bizarrely tragic way.
At this conference (yeah, let’s pivot back there real quick), a speaker who was clearly a rad human doing amazing things in her career, said when talking about getting offered a VP position, “I have cultivated an ability in my life to look at a decision I’m about to make and determine if I want to say ‘NO’ because I’m scared. If the only reason I’m not saying ‘Yes’ is because of fear, then I’m going through with it – the only thing that can happen to me is I will fail and I’ve learned that I will try again, anyway.”
She helped kick some sand up. No deep digging, but just enough dissonance that I took the time to listen to my muses today. I used to write poetry. I stopped somewhere in my life because I felt like I wasn’t good enough to write it anymore. I’m not going to read my work at a coffee shop and I expect no round of snaps. Why would I bother?
But today, I wrote a poem because I don’t want to be scared. I don’t want to fear my feelings because of their depth. I don’t want to care if anyone understands me. I don’t want to fear whether my expression of those feelings will be accepted. I want to write my amazing/crappy poetry in my tiny corner of the internet I’ve dug out for myself so I don’t dig any further and I get it out of me so I can move on to another opportunity to feel extraordinary about feeling extraordinarily…
I miss my black dog,
She was an effortless certainty,
At night, I would chase her.
In morning, she would let me sleep.
We would dig,
Looking for what was buried,
Desperate for what we could not see.
Causing ourselves to bleed.
Picking at the scabs,
To see what was underneath.
She would heal me.
A new layer of skin,
Smooth and unknown,
A perfect place to dig again.
She cut my flesh,
Hit my bone,
Ripped out my marrow,
Just to know.
I miss my black dog,
She kept me company.
Possessive and imposing,
Aggressively digging into me.
When my nails bent back,
The pile of misplaced earth thrown aside,
My fingers bloody,
Alone I cried.
My black dog had hurt me,
Even though I had never left her side.
I loved my black dog,
She made me feel known,
One singular being to understand,
The absolute knowing of feeling alone.