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Writing as Therapy

Writing as Therapy

note-preview“My head is full of magic, baby, and I can’t share this with you.” – Love and Rockets

Well, magic might be a bit of an overstatement…but my head is certainly full. And based on the amount of time that’s passed since I last wrote anything, it would seem that I really can’t share it with you. But I’m going to go ahead and give it a shot anyway. If this doesn’t make sense, I blame the babies.

Not that there’s anything unusual about that; I blame most everything on the babies these days. Or their brother. Or the dog. Or being tired all the time. I had a bit of a revelation the other day, though. I wrote a screed in a Facebook group of magical mommas that I was graciously accepted into by dint of being a stay-at-home parent. It’s a group focused on self-love. No, not that kind; the kind where you allow yourself to be nice to yourself and quit shitting all over your efforts with your negative self-talk and regain some of your self-esteem because, damn it, you’re a fucking rock star for putting everything else on hold and raising babies and managing a household and dealing with an eight-year old who is by turns angelic and surly…you get the idea. We’re there to build each other up and give each other permission to feel all the things, and it’s fantastic.

Anyhow, I was sharing with the group how I was feeling pretty NOT OK. About how I feel like I’m losing myself. About how I feel like I don’t fit anywhere. About how awkward it can sometimes be to be a stay-at-home dad in a society where that’s still a pretty unusual thing to be. About how I might be finally willing to admit that maybe it’s something other than a temporary stay in Bluesville, and that I might be on the verge of taking up residence in the Big D. No, not that Big D. The other one. You know…depression.

Gah. Did I actually just say that out loud? Did I actually just tell the world that I, Mr. Optimism, might be…gulp…depressed? Well, there it is, right next to the laundry and the dirty dishes. What does it mean, though? Is it time to start therapy again? Is it time to talk about medication? Now that the elephant in the room has made itself visible (Hello, Elephant!), what the fuck am I supposed to do with it? Feed it? Give it a drink? What do you even feed an elephant? I don’t even want to think about cleaning up its poops.

Then I realized something: I was already feeling better. In fact, as soon as I’d hit the ‘Update’ button I felt like a huge weight had been lifted. Or, rather, like I’d set the weight down and had a really good stretch. The weight was still there, and I was going to have to pick it back up eventually; contrary to what you might have been led to believe, babies don’t feed themselves or change their own diapers. For that brief moment in time, though, I felt better. And then I remembered that I know exactly how to make myself feel better, and it is magical…I just don’t do it. I’m a writer who never writes. And don’t start in with that esoteric shit about “is a writer who doesn’t write really a writer?” I can’t handle complicated questions right now, and I’m liable to end up making baby noises at you.

There’s a funny thing about art that they don’t tell you in the instruction manual, and that is that art DEMANDS your attention. It’s a needy beast, and you ignore it at your peril. If you don’t feed it and let it out to play, it will fuck you up in a billion tiny ways. I know this, because when I go a long time between performances, I get moody and sullen and melancholic. Performing is something I absolutely have to do if I want to stay sane. Why would writing be any different?

So here we go, once more unto the breach. God knows there’s plenty to write about: police brutality, divisive politics, unbridled greed, systemic racism. Time to make some words happen. They may not always be good words, and I’ll probably end up sticking my foot in my mouth more often than not, but the words will be there to help me get it back out again and to take another step.