I am at my favorite diner. I got up this morning and left the woman I love sleeping. She has the day off and there is a book with her name on it on the nightstand. I made coffee so it would be hot and ready when she wakes. And then I drove to the diner to write a bit.
It is only a ten-minute drive to the diner. But it is amazing how many things you can think about in ten minutes.
I have been in a reflective place the past week or two. Normally when we think of being reflective we think of something slow and deliberate. For me, it is just the opposite. I become still and empty myself as much as possible.
But emptying, for me, involves first letting all my thoughts and feelings whirl around like the tornado in the Wizard of Oz, all random and wild, until I settle someplace. It is a messy process and takes time. When I don’t have days of nothing to do, then it takes longer and my brain and emotions live in this strange wildness that doesn’t make much sense until it ends. And it hasn’t quite ended yet, leaving the ten-minute drive to the diner a wild time in my head.
I generally only write about myself here. I rarely write about others.
It’s a choice. Some people do that and do it remarkably well. I would like to sometimes. I meet a lot of remarkable people, and a lot of seemingly ordinary people with remarkable stories. I am a fairly good writer. I could make compelling and readable copy out of it.
But I don’t. I consider people’s stories a sacred trust. Even if they don’t say so, I consider their stories THEIR stories, not mine to tell. And too, I have learned over the years that every story has so many layers, so many facets, so many versions, that I’d probably get it at best, incomplete, and at worst, wrong.
That leaves writing about me.
Writing about myself makes me a bit uncomfortable. I am a private person by nature. I don’t think I am anything special. I once did, but a few years in therapy showed me otherwise. Every trouble, every turmoil, every struggle I deal with, a zillion other people deal with as well. Nothing is new under the sun, as the saying goes. My own life is basically a collection of mistakes that I have learned from, but I am not particularly proud of.
Fortunately, though, I have learned from most of them. If I am as wise as some people accuse me of, it is simply because I have made mistakes at a faster pace than most people, and survived them. It is only because a lot of people extended me a lot of grace as I blundered through. No, I am nothing special except for one thing.
I’ll write about it.
I have been writing poems and little essays in this blog for over a decade. It was my therapist that suggested I start writing again and suggested that I do it in some kind of public way. She knew me well, that therapist. I am one of those people who is more prone to keep at something if I feel like people have an expectation of me. Right or wrong, it is the way I work. So if one reader read regularly, I would be more likely to keep it up, this little blog of poems and words, my own self-therapy.
And self-therapy it is. I begin each morning fighting my depression. It’s like I go to sleep and the little gremlins feast all night long and by morning, they are all energized and ready to keep me in my place, like a bad movie. I have to force myself up each morning with the epithet (because in my life it IS an epithet) of “It’s showtime!” as I plant my feet on the floor and move.
Every thing I have to do for other people is a blessing. It gives me reason. It gives me purpose. I will likely never retire until my body or mind just completely give out. As much my introverted self would be perfectly OK living all hermit-like, I am better, healthier, saner when I am involved, when I have responsibilities, when I have work.
Without that work, I would fall into all-day depression naps. Trust me, I’ve done it. Now and again, I still do.
But mostly I don’t. I get up. I fix coffee for my lovely wife. I feed the cats and let them out. Small acts, but they push me forward. They give me something to do. Eventually I get to this, the writing. I spend an hour or two almost each day doing it.
That may seem like a lot, but it is a small price to pay for sanity, a chance to empty my head and spirit of the demons and squeeze them back into their box for the day. It becomes not only easier to live, but to dance, to sing, to be silly. To be the me I like to be.
So thank you dear readers, for reading. Beyond anything you may get from my words, you keep me sane.
Be well. Travel wisely,