Monday, June 30, 2008

No answers

I've been reading "The Noonday Demon", a book about depression. He has some wonderful, lyrical descriptions about the physical, visceral experience of sadness. One interesting thing the author notes is that depression follows a circadian pattern: deeper at night and in the morning, and lifting somewhat during the day. I don't know why reading that one little nugget was such a comfort for me, other than that it made me realize that enough other people in the world have had this experience to attach a pattern to it. In my navel-gazing way, I thought it was a weird quirk of my character that I wake up many morning feeling panic, a pressure on my chest, a leaden despair. I would think to myself "how can I feel this bad when nothing has even happened yet in my day to justify such feelings?" But, apparently I'm not the only one.

Another difficult thing about depression is how one's ability to care about .... anything .... just vanishes. I used to have great opinions about politics, or wall colors, or TV shows, or my neighbor, or the weather. But now, nothing.

I want to be pulled out of this, like someone rescuing a floundering swimmer. But I have to pull myself out. I have to create my own life. I have to want to feel life again. I have to want to feel.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Changing directions

I stopped writing here because I stopped running. I thought about starting another blog, but I still like the idea of "escape velocity", so I'm just going to continue here, but I won't be writing about running!

But "escape velocity" is still very appropriate. I quit my social services job last August, went to a four-month non-fiction writing workshop, and came home full of creative zeal and determination to break into the writing field.

It's been six months, and no job. Six months! I do work a part-time telecommute job, living back home with my parents in an isolated town. I've had several interviews, but the longer I go without a job the more my confidence erodes, the more I question my desires. The more ashamed I feel.

Where is the place of writing in my life? Does it need to be my job? And if not, what else can I do with 40 hours of my life every week that I can do with conviction, and that aligns with my values?

Here are some things I know I value, that give me that feeling in my chest that I identify as a deep, real, and magical sense of connection and presence in the moment:

Being with animals
Being with children
Storytelling, in all forms

I look at that list and I wonder how to take those things and turn them into a job.

But. I also know there are other things I value, that seem right now to be in conflict with my other values. Like: I want to earn a certain income. My magic number is $40,000, something I've never even approached in my previous jobs. And, I also value status, which feels shameful to admit, but it's true. I want to be impressive, I want to be successful in the eyes of the anonymous world. I want to be profiled on TV. I want to make other people think "I wish I could be her." It's true, I have a powerful and selfish Ego.

I need to figure some things out, and maybe this is the place to do it.