Monday, October 12, 2015

On how not to sink.

 I'm starting to notice something.  I obsess over things. Like my writing, for example. I'm starting to notice the way my brain only facilitates one mindset at a time.

They say some geniuses like Einstein, Hans Christian Anderson and Charles Lindberg, possessed the same trait which is what made made them such experts in their craft. They had the innate ability to zero in on one area focus more intently than the average person.

I have been writing since I was small. I took notes on back and forth conversation in my favorite television shows to help me navigate through my everyday life (i had no idea that's what i was doing at the time mind you). My parents took me for a hoarder when I refused to throw the notes away. Looking back now, I can understand why I had such an attachment to writing. It was the most effective form of communication for me. Unfortunately, I didn't have the skill set to explain this to my parents back then, and they didn't know any better.

I started writing poetry as a teenager. Broken hearts, fits of rage, storms of confusion, you name it I wrote it. It wasn't until a few years ago I really started taking my writing seriously. Things started out great. I started taking a few workshops, landed a bunch of performances, got paid, wrote a book. All good things. Until my writing became an obsession.

As I am learning about certain facets of Aspergers I am starting to feel the weight of my chest decrease with  tiny sighs of relief. So many years of feeling depressed, misunderstood, and alienated day by day start to make sense. Many people with Aspergers also suffer from depression, anxiety and OCD.(obsessive compulsive disorder) Lucky for me, I got the package deal. The thing about all three of these, is that they all have the ability to activate each other in one form or another. It's like the ultimate trifecta.

 My obsessive thoughts have dragged me down into my darkest days. Days when I literally felt like hurting myself was the only way to escape the crushing feeling. I never wanted to die. It was never a matter of taking my own life. No, this was more a way to feel grounded again. Like the only way back down from this crazy place was to physically bring myself back down again. This might not even make sense to some people, but it's the only way I know how to explain it right now.

Writing kept me far away from that place for years. I do think in many ways it is an excellent form of expression and release. The only problem I ran into, was that once I started taking it seriously, I stopped paying attention to everything else around me. I let it run my life. I ate, slept, breathed poetry. I stopped whatever little socialization I had taken part in, stopped actively reading, stop listening, stop noticing, stopped everything, for the sake of becoming the best writer. In theory it sounds like a practice makes perfect model. Not so much. Too much of anything is never a good thing applies here. But try telling my brain that.

The reason I took a break from poetry is because it became my obsession. If I wasn't producing quality work every day I had convinced myself I was a failure,and you say something enough times you start to believe it. I made myself sick over it. So much so I lost the spark that initially lit the flame in my desire to write. The love and wonder disappeared and it started to become toil and struggle. I needed to fix this.

I am lucky to have a trusted friend and mentor who has been an astute guide in my writing career. He listens to understand. Something not many people do anymore. He understood my quandary from a professional perspective as well as a personal perspective. We both agreed (okay it took a lot of convincing for me) it was time to hit the brakes. If I intended on growing as a writer, this pitstop was a necessary addition on my path to success.

Did I believe that in my heart? I'm not sure. I had to do a lot of self talk, still do. Telling myself things like “You are still a writer even though you aren't practicing today” “This isn't forever” “Everybody needs a break”.

It has been about 3 weeks. I have a little over a month to go. I have written one poem. I don't know if I should have, but I did. I have taken to writing notes for later so I don't feel so much pressure from loosing ideas I wish to address in my writing. Besides, I'm not completely bereft of poetry. I'm working on editing my second book , writing this blog which sometimes includes poems, and reading poetry at every chance I get.

It's not the way it was, and my brain is so akin to predictability and astute regime, and this whole freelance through my days can be a struggle I am not at all comfortable with. I won't lie and say it's easy. It sucks and I mess up. *Sidenote- Exercise and writing are my most important practices to maintain stability. Unfortunately, I had to alter my exercise routines due to an injury, which has only added  to my anxiety.So that's two huge changes I have had to make in my routine around the same time. Ask any Aspie.This will be the reaction..... Covers ears. Shuts eyes. Shakes head. Walks away. Nope.
 Imagine this- 4 wheel drive terrain and I am front wheel drive-just for the sake of a visual.

 But I am surviving.

I am learning not to put so much pressure on myself, especially if it means the end result could mean losing my greatest love. I'm not ready to risk that. Obsessing can put a person in some really shitty situations, (which I will discuss in a later post) and it is important to me that my writing not be including in that list.

I will never be perfect at this. But I do like to think I have started a new beginning. Recognizing parts of me and learning to love them as is, work around the things I can, and understanding that my differences don't make me a bad person or any less of a person, just slightly more complicated. Anyway who doesn't love a challenge??? Stay Weird.

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