I used to feel it was because I must be a lazy son of a bitch. I mean, I am, when it comes to cleaning or, like, cooking… getting my oil changed, my hair re-oil slicked, taking the trash out, seeing a doctor about a tumor… but when it comes to writing, or my lack of it, it’s never been because of laziness.
Anxiety’ll do it real well. Anxiety will stun the muse and make you watch it twitch, wrapped in golden electrified barbed wire out of the corner of your eye.
I’ll get overwhelmed by all the articles I see popular writers on Medium publish, as if they sat down and cranked out and published ALL OF THEM in ONE DAY. Not remotely true, but we’re not dealing with logic here, either. Drowning myself in a tidal wave of “Not Remotely Good Enough” is a good way to kill my writing.
Basking in hot rays of self-doubt is a good anxiety party, too. Yeah, some of my articles have been popular and monetarily successful, but what if I’ve said all the great things I have to say? What if there’s nothing more and everything else I type out is trite crap that helps and inspires no one? Am I done? Will I embarrass myself if I keep posting things and no one cares about them?
Editing in my head as I’m thinking before I ever even get to writing. Imagining all the hate comments I’m oh so sure I’ll get if I express my unconventional thoughts, constructing every rebuttal I can fathom to cover all conceivable bases, choke on that stress without writing a word, and then take a nap.
Anxiety and its doppelganger, Over Thinking, are assholes.
Something at the ripe old age of 40 I’m discovering I’ve probably always had. What the ever loving hell is that about?
I never felt like I had a hard time concentrating. I would just go to class, open my notebook, settle in… and check out. I paid attention enough to make it look like I was paying attention, but in my head, I was doing and thinking and imaging the things that actually interested me.
You know where that’s really hard to do? A job. Know what I’ve always had a hell of a time holding down? A job. Turns out employers really want you to pay attention to, and do a lot of things, that are of absolutely zero interest to you, all because they’re paying you for your time. Pshhh. The nerve.
I was smart enough to get by with better than average grades without having to try too hard. If it was a subject I was interested in, it held my attention. What classes did I love? English, theater, art, philosophy. What job was the best? Working at a bookstore. Unsurprising.
All this time I thought I was just a lazy piece of shit with no willpower, self-discipline, or self-respect. Turns out it’s those nasty chemicals in my brain not playing together nicely.
Drugs are amazing and I look forward to the next meeting with my psychiatrist to discuss getting on some Adderall so I can go back to being able to think clearly, remember thoughts I just had, and focus on anything for more than five minutes without needing to distract myself with social media first.
Oh, and losing about 35 lbs.
I have a boyfriend
I haven’t had one of those in over a decade and I sure like spending time with him. He’s a creative as well, so we both put in our time at work, but then we have adventures and sexy rumpus time.
Mix this with ADD for a dangerously debilitating cocktail.
Avoidance is the same reason I’m a bit of a hoarder, pack-rat, overly sentimental fool who can’t get rid of my address book with friend’s numbers in it from first grade, my Philosophy notes from college, those gorgeous shoes that hurt my feet.
The same reason I’m afraid to get to the bottom of the issues causing my emotional unavailability, not wanting to believe or knowing how to handle how emotionally abusive Dad was and still is, not being able to sit with my feelings and process them outside of the one hour I spend with my therapist every week, and why I feel I’m not making fast enough progress.
Binge watching Dateline, 20/20, 48 Hours, Love & Hip Hop, Project Runway, every true crime doc ever made, all TV, all the time, always on…
Not loving myself enough to take care of myself: body, mind, or soul.
Being raised with a victim mentality, not allowed to make my own mistakes, having things handed to and done for me thus creating a belief that anyone else but me has the power to take care of all of this, and gaslighting being my normal, everyday reality, stripping away any ability to trust my own judgment.
So yeah, bring on that serial killer drama, ID Channel! Catching the Zodiac killer sounds infinitely more plausible than solving my problems.
Of succeeding. Of finally being successful at this thing I have done consistently since I was a small child, this thing I can’t live without, that I have and will do whether I ever get paid another red cent for it because it’s as natural and necessary to me as breathing. This thing that I have, for some reason, been avoiding (what?!) fully identifying myself as because I don’t give myself permission to be happy or proud of my own work. (#therapy)
I’m a professional navel gazer with a BA in Philosophy and everything, which is conducive to the idea and essence of writing, but I need to adhere more to the sage advice of Bo Jackson and the Nike Corporation: Just Do It.