Monday, March 19, 2012

Confuddled Enough For a Rapidwrite, Broken Into Choppy Paragraphs

I have started at least 8 blog posts in the past month, but they all remain languishing in my Drafts folder. I was trying to make the typical, if not polished, at least somewhat concise piece of verbiage that passes for good writing if the reader is not looking too closely.

While I was just lying with Baby, getting her down for the evening nap, I was looking at a book called Inner Excavation, which is a mixed-media book that focuses on photography and poetry. I have some kind of block when it comes to photography. This may stem from the fact that back in the days of film, I could never remember how to change said film no matter how often someone showed me. When I took a photography class in college everyone must have thought I had died in the darkroom when we were supposed to remove the film from the camera. I finally came out, but the film was still nestled in there, all cozy-like.

Now we have digital cameras and I don't understand settings and all that, and I am really not all that interested in learning. I am not a huge fan of photography in general. But I know it would help my artistic eye to compose photographs, I could use them as writing prompts. Since I am kinda scared of it, that probably means it's Something I Should Do. But I'd have to take lots of self-portraits if I were honest and I do not want to see how awful I would undoubtedly look in some of them. I definitely have to make peace with my aging self. It would be fun to take self-portraits dressed up like my Alter-Egos. Also scary. Big Fears.

Big Fears definitely hold me back. It is so easy for me to blame my season of life when I don't get much done in my "interest areas". But Big Fears are just as responsible as Wife and Mama Duties. They are part of the big conspiracy against me. All thrift stores are part of the same conspiracy, working together to make sure I never again find another cool yet flattering garment. I am having one of those hormonal times when you feel like you weigh 20 lbs more than you do, and change your clothes constantly in the hope that you will finally find something in which you look less than horrific. Plus, all my clothes are falling apart and/or are all stretched out from my last pregnancy.

I am so tired of being depressed and discouraged, but I feel like I am in a time loop, with the same thing (my life, basically) happening again and again and I always react with the same negative and/or fatalistic attitude instead of breaking the pattern and stopping the loop. The other day I looked up the definition of the common saying, "It Is What It Is", and it said that the phrase implies a sense of hopelessness about a situation, as opposed to the other common saying "It's All Good", in which the speaker is "trying to rise above whatever problem exists, without expressing their underlying negative emotions".

I have always had a kind of surface optimism (the companion to my surface extrovertedness), but it has often been buried under discouragement. So my motto could easily be "It Is What It Is, And It's Also All Good", because while I actually feel depressed quite a bit, and more hopeless than I used to feel about much change being possible, I never quite lose sight of my eternal hope, even though it's shrinking so far into the distance as I am led through this world.

Anne Lamott writes about the internal radio station KFKD (or WFKD, depending on where you live) which plays different content into each ear simultaneously - basically, delusions of grandeur on one side, and merciless self-deprecation on the other. I have been listening to this station for as long as I can remember, and the programming this week is an impressive line-up ready to discuss and debate my upcoming meeting with the magazine editor.

My Minion of Narcissistic Positivity keeps insisting this will be the beginning of my long and respected career as an author and art journal instructor. No doubt promotion will be starting soon for my book that is part memoir, part zine, part art journal workshop. The money will start rolling in. Interviews with me will sought by both Christian and secular media (most notably, The Utne Reader). I will be famous in a few interesting niche demographics, earn enough money to make a difference in our lives and the lives of others, but will be unrecognizable in public. My healthy radiance and fitness and middle-aged yet funky fashion sense will show through in all photographs of me. I will be the first Christian zinemaker to speak at ComicCon, and Joss Whedon, James Marsters, Juliet Landau and Amber Benson will seek me out and tell me how much they love my work, plus, they all came to faith after hearing the orthodox yet creative and culturally relevant presentation of the Gospel in my book.

The arch-nemesis of the Positivity Minion will then get the rebuttal. The Naysayer will sadly remind the audience of my poor track record in business and teaching situations in the art/craft/writing area. There will be warnings about how I can talk the talk so much better than I walk the walk, as far as being a writer, a Christian, a homeschooler, an artist. It is certain I have pulled the wool over the eyes of anyone who thinks I might have any wisdom or talent at all, in any sphere of life. And not to be rude or judgmental, but really, I look like crap. My hair is always frizzy; no matter how much I work out I am still 10 lbs overweight; and my face has this exhausted, haggard look that is only accentuated by the lines in my forehead. Photos of me that might be included with any publicity will be a visual reminder of my absolute loserhood.

Fascinating perspectives like those are available around the clock on WFKD. I wonder if you also get that station? In my area, there are welcome, yet convicting, editorial interruptions by God, asking me why I keep these idiots on my payroll.

I felt pretty crappy when I started writing this, probably because everyone was still up and my Inner Introvert was screaming for mercy. She starts screaming earlier each day, it seems. But I have been pretty much alone for about three hours. I chatted with one of my oldest friends on FB and also previewed Kelly Coffey-Meyer's newest workout. It was pleasant multi-tasking, so much nicer than the pressure-cooker multi-tasking I am always trying to do every day. I was thinking yesterday that my stress level would go down, and my contentment level up, if I just lowered my expectations of, well, everything. In my life, things seem to be either/or. Either my house is clean and neat, OR I am cooking good meals and snacks OR I am in creative mode OR the kids are in one of their rare non-unschooling periods OR I am exercising every day. Or, like now, it's (almost) None of the Above. That sorry state IS mostly baby related, and so will pass sooner rather than later. But even when I don't have a little baby, I have never been very good at having a "balanced" existence. I go through bursts of energy and enthusiasm for one area of life, and focus on that for a while. Then I move onto a different area, or I might just fall apart for a while and do nothing but read crime novels while I drink too much coffee in the corner at my own pity-parties.

I want to be able to say It Is What It Is without the hopeless undertone, because really, that's the truth about life. Wherever we are right now, is where we are. God knows we are there. We don't have to hide from Him or from ourselves, even if What Is really sucks right now, even if it sucks because of us. I don't want to wrap all this up in a neat little package. Actually, I do, but I am not going to. It is my tendency to want to put The Whole Thing Into Perspective, but it's usually indulgence in half-truths to do that. Plus, Baby is stirring, I am tired, morning comes too quickly.