“Nothing strengthens the judgment and quickens the conscience like individual responsibility.” ~Elizabeth Cady Stanton
“Abnormal pleasures kill the taste for normal ones.” ~Eduardo Sanchez to Anais Nin
I’m slowly accepting the idea that there’ll never be a period of my life where I am free of all but the basest responsibility. This summer I didn’t want to think about money but I still held down a few jobs. I didn’t want to think about the future but I needed to figure out the last minute details of living in China for the next 10 months. I didn’t want to be beholden to anyone except myself and then I started seeing Ivan, who acts so nonchalant about the next 10 months in a way that I can’t understand after sobbing hysterically everytime Johnny left or I left in the time preceding his Fulbright. Now, in a little over 11 days, I’ll be taking the GRE, which will have a significant impact on grad school admissions. I’m not ready. In July, I abandoned any notion of responsibility and took a $200 trip to San Diego for a weekend and spent entire days in bed and an entire week eating nothing but diner breakfasts. Spending all of my money on condoms and chocolate bars and nail polish. What did this decadence ever do for me? I actually told him once, “I feel decadent today.” If there’s anything any of them should have taught me is that all of this is fleeting next to the permanence of my intellectual pursuits, that the ultimate is in writing well and knowing what you stand for…
How does one become emotionally healthy?
By keeping busy. By doing something worthwhile. By running. By doing what feels right. By not dwelling on the things that hurt.
As isolating as it was, I used to be the queen of spending time by myself. It was the encounters with other people, things on the outside, that I felt wounded by.
And now it depresses me. I haven’t read in years. The books for grown folks that everyone’s read tend to be too daunting for me. I haven’t written in years except to document the mundane maladies of everyday life. School. Irritation. The list of body parts I hate grows. The girls who grew up like this with me, none of them stayed this way. They either have everything or nothing at all. It’s these interludes where it’s easier to hate everything about yourself and hate yourself for not growing out of it since high school.
by fourth grade i knew i wanted to write. by fifth grade i kept diaries in the way that diaries are supposed to be kept - confessional, delusional, narcissistic. by sixth grade adults told me that i was literarily gifted.
by eighth grade i had a nervous breakdown. i started writing bad poetry because bad fiction just wasn’t cutting it for dealing with the trauma of adolescence. in tenth grade i took a writing class where once again an adult told me that i was gifted. from tenth to eleventh grade, i was in my first serious relationship and have not been able to write since then. when i think about the “true” artists - my peers, eric clapton, whoever - they’ve always been able to create, create, create. i saw donna carrying a case with her work in it and wished so badly that that was me. i look at dominic (my neighbor)’s stuff and stuff that stephen posts and they’re all things i could do. but i’ve never been able to create unless it was for an assignment. i wish i could constantly be making prints or stencils or even filling an old art journal with cut-outs and thoughts.
I wish I could write again.