Writer's block has always been a pretty familiar place for me around here. It's probably safer to say that I go through a shorter collective period of inspiration in a year than I spend cracking my knuckles and scribbling half sentences in notebooks. Promising myself that tonight, tonight will be the night that I go home, make a cup of tea and get something onto a page that even vaguely resembles what's wedged in my head. A promise, of course, that ends once I get home and collapse in bed and the task suddenly seems as appealing as moving furniture. That page is very, very blank and I scare easily.
I do, actually. Scare easily. It's a flaw that I have covered for years with wry humor and a talk MUCH bigger than my walk, but my first instinct in most situations is to hide. I say most, because desire has always been the only thing to successfully quiet that instinct. My coach used to remind us gently, back when my entire teenage life involved a hefty dose of reckless abandon, that the key to most things was to want them more than you were willing to fear them. It's always served me well. I did, after all, move across the country.
But shortly after I spent that last weekend at home (just before the Marathon bombings), my grandmother passed away and I had to jump on a plane and go back. My family is incredibly close knit and dependent on each other, so it is no exaggeration to say that this was a huge blow. Her arms were what held us all together, and going home to find them gone was like losing a limb I never knew I needed. But I let taking care of my brothers and sisters drown out the fear of her being gone for a while, and when it still couldn't, I slept. And slept. And slept.
I have never been afraid of living in Los Angeles. Never been afraid of being on my own or taking things into my own hands, but the day I got back on that plane to come back here I felt like a completely different person. More tired and more underwater and more scared than I had ever been in my life. It was like I had ripped a seam somewhere trying to carry everything and all the control I had over my life was spilling out of me. It hasn't stopped since. I'm used to feeling uneven about my outside life, about work and friends and how to pay the bills, but being this scared about my own feelings and thoughts and just living in general is terrifying as fuck.
The good news is that these things aren't normal, and I now have a very nice doctor and the power of modern medicine on my side. The bad news is, of course, that the word broken is something I have to constantly sweep out of my head on good days, and cuddle with in bed on the bad ones. And I'm still working through how to have more of the former than the latter, but I'm beginning to think it has something to do with digging until I find the desire that squashes whatever mountain of fear I've turned into.
Therefore, I'm here in a Starbucks with a latte, a laptop, and my best struggling writer impression. If this works, great. If it doesn't, maybe I'll see you in another six months.
But if I'm going to go after fear, I might as well start somewhere familiar.