Writing

I should be writing. In a sort of twisted game of procrastination I’ve ended up writing in my blog, which is, in fact, writing. Shh… don’t tell me; I think I’m procrastinating and distracting myself from painting, which was part of the long list of procrastination techniques used to keep me from writing. A few minutes ago I was working on a mandala that I plan to use in a small exhibit that I’m supposed to be a part of this May. So, here I am at my keyboard in spite of myself.

If I’m going to be using my laptop, it would make more sense for me to be at my desk, where I have a docking station along with a larger monitor. However, there’s a spider on the computer and I don’t want to disturb him. He might be my father visiting me. The spider was here earlier; he dropped onto my mandala and wanted to play with my pen. He’s so tiny and delicate you can barely see him, and only if you try hard. I didn’t want to let him hang around a piece of paper I was working on, so I grabbed him by his thread of web and carried him outside. The light out there was not great. I could see him on my finger, but I had to kind of go on faith that I had successfully released him into the wild. When I got back to where I am working—a meeting table in the middle of a larger space that also contains my office—the spider was right there on the table. I resigned myself to the fact that it was my father visiting from the other side and no amount of taking him outside was going to change anything. So, here I sit with a tiny spider building a web on my Surface computer like he’s supposed to be here and we’re just hanging out.

Life, overall, is better than it was earlier this month. While work is still a handful, I seem to have more emotional wherewithal to deal with it. I’m not hiding in the revolting bathroom of that very old building, or calling in sick, pulling the sheets over my head in bed and contemplating what excuse I could find to go on disability so that I could spend my days taking care of the cats and writing. Now I go to work, and most days I look forward to it. I don’t for a minute want to give the impression that my employer is abusive. They’re wonderful; I’m simply falling apart.

I visited a psychologist a few weeks ago. Come to think of it; he’s supposed to call me back with what my insurance company said about his plan to go forward with a psychological assessment. (He pitched this as a wonderful thing for me. He said that I could use it with his clinic or take to any clinic of my choosing, that it would be treated as a golden egg.) I went so that I could learn better coping mechanisms and techniques. I’ve kind of given up on the idea that it will all just go away. It’s probably a part of my genetic make-up and I just need to learn how to deal with the depression/anxiety or what-have-you. When I visited him for the intake interview I was so distraught that I forgot to ask him what I should do if I have another episode. I’m not certain I want to know what his answer would be. I have a feeling it would involve an emergency facility, and I’m not looking forward to being in an emergency facility. Not while I still have sick days left.

I’m not even sure why I’m feeling better. My medical doctor, when I described that horrible Tuesday in which I was hiding under the sheets, told me that it sounded like an anxiety attack, so I’ll stick to that term until I learn otherwise. Anxiety attack: a nice little package I can present to people when they wonder why I’m nauseous every morning of my life, or why I’m in a fetal position in a bathroom stall that is so small you can’t open the door without straddling the toilet, and so old that opening one stall door throws both doors open and you have to avert your eyes when you walk by in order to not see the startled expression of some other unsuspecting dude sitting with his head in his hands, unaware that the stall door just hit him on the knee, exposing his nude bottom half to the person who is now walking out the door. There aren’t a lot of good reasons to do this, and ‘anxiety attack’ says a lot in just two words. And most people can relate.

My friend, the spider, has moved to the lamp. It seems like it would be too hot for him, but he’s swinging up and down, building his little web to catch microscopic dust mites that float through the air. It’s getting late and probably no more work is going to be done on my novel tonight. I believe that there is pie in the refrigerator in the house. I have milk, so I think I have a plan for the next 45 minutes until I go to bed and let the CPAP take me into the lovely world of dreams and sleep until the alarm goes off and another work day begins. It’s nice that this Sunday doesn’t find me anxious and distressed. I wish I knew what I did to make this happen. Maybe I’ll review my journal to see if any behavior patterns appear. But, probably I’m going to read while I eat pie and then go lay down with the cats.

Life is good.

* Update: Three days later and I found myself, yet again, hiding under the sheets this morning. But, that’s okay because I now have an appointment with the psychologist tomorrow morning to have the assessment done. They tell me that I’ll be sitting alone in one of their offices answering questionnaires. That’s not the one-on-one experience that I longed for, but something about this guy makes me trust him. He did tell me that the actual therapy would begin after the assessment was done. While I’m there tomorrow they will set up an appointment for me to come discuss the results, once the doctor has analyzed my answers. Fair enough. And that will be the golden assessment that I will be able to take with me and be received with open arms at any office I might want to visit. (He did say that I could choose to stay with his office, but he didn’t seem exactly excited about that. I have a feeling that his main bread and butter comes from other sources, like people visiting him at the behest of a judge.)

I’m sitting at my desk with the Surface plugged into the docking station and my friend, the spider, is spinning his web on the larger monitor. He has a buddy with him; two spiders spinning in concert on my monitor while I work on my novel and my blog. I guess my dad is looking out for me after all; he seems to be in it for the long haul. Usually, the spider/Dad is gone in less than an hour, but this little dude has a roommate (Dad’s brother, Ken?) and they’re building a web, making themselves at home. Like they’re gonna see this thing through with me.

And, Life is still good.

My friend, the spider

Not What She Seems to Be - By Design

I was looking at a picture on Facebook today of a friend who is traveling to a wedding. The picture in question was of some sightseeing - my friend and her friend were taking a selfie together in front of a large stucco house. Next to them a young lady looks into a different direction. Her hand is up to her neck, she's wearing a large, long-sleeve pull-over shirt with a small handbag over her shoulder. Her long hair is pulled around, over the shoulder on the other side of her face. She is beautiful, and she looks thoughtful. She takes care with her appearance, eyebrows, lashes, etc. 

Without thinking about it, I begin to create in my mind a storyline along the lines of Sleepless in Seattle. A man looks at a picture of a friend, and is immediately taken with a bystander who was in the frame. He knows nothing about this stranger, but he falls for her immediately and thus begins that adventure of figuring out who she is, finding her and hoping beyond hope that she would even see him after all of that. 

Of course, my logical side tells me that this man has bigger issues if he's going to be throwing his heart to a woman that he doesn't know and immediately assign to her some personality characteristics that he finds attractive and mysterious. But, when has a person's logical side been very much fun to be around?

I just want to know who she is, what she's thinking about. What causes the insecurity that we see written so plainly on her face? What is the burden that she is carrying alone, and could I possibly help her with it? Would she let me? Would she let me wrap my arm around her, like she's wrapping her own arm around her waist, supporting at the elbow the other arm that is raising her hand so gently and thoughtfully to her slender neck? I could protect her from whatever she is worried about. We could be happy together, if only I could find her – with so little information to go on.

Creepy? Li'l bit. Just a little. One thing that I like, though, is that as a writer I'm allowed to think along these lines. It's encouraged, even. If a man or woman that I knew were thinking and acting like this I'd have a serious discussion with them regarding their mental stability and the possibility of a psychiatric evaluation. But, for a person who creates fiction, this troubled moment, unintentionally captured in an otherwise cheerful photograph, inspires an entire world. I could build a novel in which a man wonders (and then obsesses about) this woman. Slowly I could develop the story behind the man, as he tries to piece together who she is. As I painted this picture, I would describe why an otherwise stable person would act in such an impulsive – if not romantic way. And when one writes regularly, this sort of thought progression happens often. Daily, if we allow it to.