I have tried to figure out why I write for myself less and less. “Less” isn’t even be the proper word for it. Is there a single word that encapsulates knowing something is cathartic and healthy, but denying any skill at that something and, therefore, not wanting to waste time doing it?
I lament the fact that I’ve lost the passion to write, among other things I used to love to do and felt competent at doing. I’ve lost my voice in other ways, too. I used to sing all the time, with friends, boyfriends, myself. I still sing often (who doesn’t, really?), but predominantly in the comfort in my own home, in an almost masturbatory way, and with less of the self-assuredness I once had not because I ever thought I would do it professionally or for some sort of credit, but because I loved it. The idea of loving to do something now, when there is no end other than the doing of and the love of doing of it, seems wasteful. But I know it shouldn’t. I know there is value—deep, meaningful value—in the doing for the sake of doing.
So I will write when I can do, when I want to do, and I hope I will learn once again to love to do it.
While he sleeps, he faces the wall, away from me. I imagine his face, his eyes shut, his lashes parting slightly as I slowly turn to face his back. I mentally trace the constellation of dark freckles and pin-prick birthmarks on his skin through the slits of half-closed eyes. The task is difficult; his form is silhouetted by the glowing curtains before him. My hand reaches out, hovering over his shoulder, and I watch it tremble awkwardly, worried about the consequences of the brief contact, afraid of disrupting the silence which is familiar, but, as always, unwelcome.
My hand floats to his side, where it pauses again, absorbing the peculiar warmth radiating from his centre as he breathes fluidly and comfortably. I move like a mystic healer, my hand over muscle, sinew, and bone, repairing the unseen through a transfer of bodily energy. But the exchange feels incomplete and inadequate. Without the careful thought exercised throughout, I let my hand kiss his skin and rest there. I feel tiny hairs rise under my fingers and his temperature spikes or freezes, I am momentarily unable to discern which.
He painstakingly rolls each limb over, a slow-motion tidal wave of flesh collapsing on the shore beside me. I see a face still swathed in shadow. He is asleep or staring directly at me. I resist the usual instinct to turn away and feign slumber and I instead reach out my hand and pull him tightly to me.
I am on a train which I have wired to run off the tracks. I sit atop a bomb which I have set to explode when I feel overwhelmingly happy. I am the master of self-sabotage.
Something awful happened with my last boyfriend of four years. Lies, a sudden need to exercise, lies, unexplained radio silence, lies, strange necklaces found on the night stand, lies. Then, a slow, painful break-up with so many starts and stops I suffered from heartbreak whiplash.
That was over two years ago. And I am with someone wonderful now. And he treats me well. And he is funny. And he can grow a full beard. And his T-shirts always smell nice. And I love him. But now I am feeling the delayed effects of heartbreak whiplash, which is detrimentally impacting my judgment in the new relationship. Its effects are twofold: (1) I fear the new guy will ultimately pull the same trick on me; and (2) my belief in my self-worth has diminished. Both are recipes for a new break-up. I watch what I say, I watch what he says, I watch so much that I have become a spectator of my own relationship, screaming at the television when the characters make bad decisions, but yielding no change.
I am scared that, despite my awareness of the situation I am in and the ways to fix it, I cannot make the necessary repairs. The legal profession very much entails problem-solving, but the essential skills of critical thinking and (over)analyzing do not transfer well in a relationship, especially when there is emotional baggage involved. Unpacking every feeling, argument, and fear is not the way to progress, but it’s what I am used to and, I fear, what I am hardwired to do. And so, while I am taking positive steps to make positive change to keep someone I love, my hands may be silently cutting the brakes of the car which I will drive into oncoming traffic.
Every time I think of you, it’s only to remind myself that I haven’t thought of you in a long time.
If you can call the miserable exercise of waking up exhausted, working, fitting in one large meal, working, and falling asleep exhausted “alive”, then I suppose, yes, I am still alive.