Don’t wanna write. Don’t wanna write. Don’t wanna write.
But I have to. Before falling back to sleep this morning I thought, “This is a story of good and evil. It takes place in my brain.”
Ideas come and they grow like a time-lapse video of the jungle floor. Then, like a machete, comes the slashing voice: No, that’s stupid. You’ll never pull that off. That’s a dumb idea. You’re not talented enough to make that. You sound young. And stupid. You don’t even like writing.
Well, I don’t, but it’s only because the voice hacks away my curling vines before they’ve even come close to crawling their way up toward the sun.
If I don’t learn to live with and take the power away from the voice, I won’t produce. It’s simple as that. If the destructive force overshadows the creative force, I will not allow myself to create. It amazes me that everyone faces this battle all the time, everywhere.
Good/evil, creativity/destruction, love/fear, higher self/lower self - all the same. Frustration at being stuck on the less constructive side of the backslash doesn’t bring you over to the other side. If only that were all it took.
But I am - frustrated. So, so much so. Frustrated that I’m so frustrated over something that everyone faces and somehow overcomes. Frustrated that I teach kids to free write, not fear sounding stupid, keep their pens moving to clear out the garbage until the good stuff comes out because, I promise, it will come - when I don’t allow myself the same courtesy of failure. We celebrate failure in the classroom. I don’t want to be a hypocrite.
I don’t want to lie anymore. I filled out new-hire paperwork recently and noticed how many times I wanted to lie (and did lie) on the past jobs section. How much did I make per year? How long did I work there? I created thousands of dollars and months that didn’t exist. Sometimes I say I lived in Virginia for six months, or I took a year off from school. I’m only rounding up, but I’m doing it because I’m ashamed - that I’ve never stayed away from home for longer than five and a half months, that I’ve been a graduate student for four years. Those are the real numbers. I am a half year from thirty. I haven’t slept with anyone in [Internet boundaries]. I pull out my grey hairs. There used to be a few along my part but over the years they’ve spread all over and I’ll probably have to stop pulling soon and start dying. I dyed my hair for all the years it wasn’t grey and now I want to enjoy the way it turns copper in the sunlight before it fades to white. It has been five years since Matt and I broke up. Since then, my longest relationship has been two months. I sometimes check the stove a dozen times before bed, hopping up for one last check eleven times, sprinting to the kitchen to see that the oven light is off and sprinting back, to save time. I lived alone for four months and enjoyed the privacy for the first two. That bedroom had two beds because it was a summer rental I was occupying in the off-season. I had an OKCupid account while I lived there. I went on three or four dates with a guy named John, whose last name I can’t remember. He deleted his facebook, didn’t own a credit card, and moved to China a few months later. On our first date we met at a bar near my parents’ house and ran into the ocean in January. On our third date he came over and we made crepes, melting chocolate in a metal bowl sitting atop a pot of boiling water. He rubbed my shoulders while I baked and took out the trash the next morning before he left. He pushed me up against my new wall. I dated three men while I lived in the condo, with overlap. A year later, John took his vacation from China and visited me at the house where I was petsitting. We walked to a cornfield and each shouted as loud as we could, but that night there was nothing between us. After living alone I moved to Chris’s house and discovered I preferred having roommates. I wanted to be the kind of person who preferred living alone, but my first night in the new house I slept better, had good dreams. At Yogaville I shared a bedroom with two others, then a next bedroom with one other, and slept even better. This summer I’ve been sharing a room with Faith in the graduate dorms and the first night after she moved out I had a friend stay over. I prefer people, and I prefer them close by. The exception is bathrooms: I don’t like doing bathroom things in front of others. All the things I do in the bathroom, save for using the toilet, are in the interest of making myself look better than I naturally would.
Some of that sounds sad, a girl realizing her hair is turning white and who isn’t as independent as she hoped she was, a girl who others wouldn’t call a girl anymore, who is surprised each time she remembers that turning thirty means something, one choice biological something in particular. I thought wanting roommates was a weakness, and that going a long time without sex during my twenties was a waste of an external youth and beauty I hardly acknowledge. I’ve lied about all of it, to myself or to others, because I thought it was sad, or wrong, or weak.
When my skin is really dry I can bunch up a patch on my leg and it looks like my grandmother’s skin. My wrinkle pattern is just like my older sister’s. I probably won’t have a baby. I don’t like sharing a bed. I like Long Island. I like living within an hour of my parents. I don’t want to lie anymore.