Do you ever feel like maybe it’s just time to shut the lights off, turn the lock and close the door on an old version of yourself? Right now it feels like I am straddling between two me’s. Cantankerous, vision gone murky – I’m like snake about to shed it’s skin, striking at everything.
Lately it feels like I’m being confronted by an unfamiliar version of myself. I’ve been avoiding things I’ve always taken great pleasure in – like riding my motorcycle, taking photos and blogging about it. And instead I have been slipping into trying things I’ve never done before. Boring, mundane, yet oddly satisfying things.
If I don’t ride my motorcycle on Sunday, and choose to stay home pulling weeds, what does that say about me? Does it mean that I’m no longer passionate about riding? Does it mean that a part of my identity that I’ve held dear for so long no longer exists? Or does it mean that I am willing to accept that I am not a robot that follows a set routine? Or that maybe I simply need a break to recharge because I’ve got too many tabs open on my mental browser? Does it say nothing of any consequence at all?
Why do we sometimes decide to put ourselves in a box and stay there for so long?
Why do I try to convince myself that I can only be what I’ve always been? Even though intellectually, I know I haven’t always been just one thing. At any given moment I could be different than I was just a moment before as a result of just thinking.
Being obsessive is a tightrope. It can be wonderful or terrible depending on what gets my focus. When it is a positive avenue, I am able to do things I am proud of. Perhaps something like a sport or a creative outlet; something that I can share that benefits others. Conversely when it is something negative, I might burn everything to the ground in a fit of destruction.
My pendulum swings wide, rarely resting in the middle. Black. White. Love. Hate. In. Out. All. None.
Self-applied pressure often paralyzes me. For example, I like writing. On the whole, it makes me feel good about myself and provides relief. Being able to communicate through this medium feels safe and my anxieties about my physical person don’t cripple me.
The positive feeling I get from writing will make me chase after that dopamine hit. It’ll make me want more. And more, and more, and more, and more until I become consumed by needing to do this thing because it makes up a part of my identity and it feels good and who doesn’t want to feel good and if I don’t do this thing than who am I even, and what the hell else am I any good at anyway, or why else would anyone pay attention to me and what’s the point of anything?!
So, what was done solely for pleasure begins to turn into something else. Something negative.
As soon as I turn writing into a job for myself I begin to shut down. When I start applying rules and schedules and assumptions and expectations, I no longer like to write. And then, I start to obsess about not being able to write and I become catatonic and start a cycle of isolation. My creativity takes a leave of absence. My sparkle fades. I become a ghost.
Well-meaning people will offer ideas like “how about you just write something once a week?” And while I understand the sentiment and appreciate people trying to help, it fails to recognize a fundamental aspect of my personality that will never be fixed until I successfully rewire my own brain.
If I don’t ride my motorcycle, don’t take pictures and don’t write about either of those things… who am I? Maybe I don’t really have to worry myself about any of it. Everything’s going to be okay.