Fear




I haven’t written much lately. My last blog entry wasn’t even written. It was a time lapse video of an abstract painting I did in Adobe Fresco. And by abstract, I mean terrible. I’ve always described my artistry as simply- I sing, I write, and sometimes I think I can draw.

Anyway…

A terrible “abstract” painting set to the background of one of my recent recordings, “Stay” by Rihanna. A terrible painting, that I titled identical to the song I was singing. A terrible depiction of a woman, on her knees, terrified of being alone, begging the man standing over her...

Stay.

I’ve been accused more than once, multiple occasions, actually, of only writing depressing things. Well, evidently I also only paint depressing things. Or, I think I can.

As far as writing, I’ve just felt uninspired lately. It’s not like there’s nothing to write about. As I’ve said a hundred times, there’s always fodder. There’s just not always inspiration.

            I vaguely remember, in a recent creative writing class, a classmate saying she had written her piece late at night, when she was tired. And someone mentioned (maybe it was her, I don’t recall) that that’s when they’ve done their best writing. That they wrote best with a tired mind.

And I thought, I do not write well when I’m tired. I write my best when I’m drunk. Unfortunately, I rarely get drunk. But fortunately, I also write my best when I’m manic, or depressed. And those things, I am, much more often than drunk (when I’m manic, Jeezus, I could write the manifesto). But I don’t write well with a tired mind. It’s not creative, it’s just... tired.

So. Fucking. Tired.

So tonight, I listen to my “Blue October’s Mellow Shit” playlist on Spotify, crying into my wild berry Truly. Frantically turning the house upside down for a pen while running around hap-hazardly throwing up Christmas decorations. Starting the 14th household task on my list, scolding myself for not finishing 1 through 13 (but I will, oh yes I will, even if it takes until sunrise). Smoking my 34th cigarette of the day. Imagining where I might move to next. Thinking about what new car I might buy tomorrow. Blabbering my flight of ideas to the dog.
And, writing the manifesto.

But I’m not manic tonight. I’m just depressed. Or am I drunk? I am on my second Truly, after all.
Oh, imagine the art I could create when inspired by all three! The trifecta! A hat trick! In truth, I’m probably two of those things, and well on my way to the third.

I guess I was also inspired tonight by a conversation I had earlier with three of my girlfriends. We were talking about the holidays. How different they will be this year.

Ohhhh, the holidays. Mother always says that’s when I struggle the most. Any time I’m having a “moment” (and by moment I mean a day, a week, a month) she will say, “Remember, it’s the time of year; this is when you have the hardest times.”  And sometimes it works. Not always, but sometimes it does mitigate my delirium. Like many children, I’ve always detested admitting she is right. Like all the times she’s said, “You can’t help who you love.”  

Anyway…

            The girls, the conversation, the holidays, how different they would be this year.
No, not different. Difficult.

One lost her father this year. It’ll be her first Christmas without him. Another has a young daughter who recently left the nest to Florida, and isn’t coming home for the holidays. The other has a daughter in Portland. Closer, but still not visiting for the holidays. But not because she can’t or doesn’t want to, but because her mother’s health is “vulnerable,” and they both want to be safe.

I get that. I get all of that.

I didn’t lose my dad this year. He’s been gone almost seven years. I couldn’t bring myself to tell her that, even as the years pass, it doesn’t get any easier. I too am an empty nester. Although, my kids don’t live out of state, or even out of town. I am a half mile from one, and about 8 minutes from the other.

And I will fortunately spend the holidays with them. But I don’t see them much more often than those or other special occasions. Okay, maybe not quite that infrequently, but nowhere near as often as I long to. I talk to them daily, I see them occasionally, and I get to spend the holidays with them. And for that I am thankful.

You know, no one really warns you about the empty nest. Sure, you hear about it from time to time. But a lot of those times, it’s from a wife or a husband, focusing on one another now, on their relationship, reconnecting. Or a retiree, enjoying their hobbies, their social gatherings, traveling…

But the lonely, they don’t warn you about empty nest.

Of all the men who’ve broken my heart over the years, the worst heartbreak of my life has been my son’s eventual choice to live with his father. The cool parent. The parent with the big house, multiple garages, dozens of recreational toys, bonfires and beers every Friday and Saturday night. I never could compete with all of that.

Maybe I needed him too much. And maybe he felt that. Maybe I sucked the life out of him. Norman Bates’s mother syndrome. Ha. Ha. But that’s another blog. Actually, I’ve probably written over a hundred blogs about that.

I digress.

               You know what the one thing my girlfriends didn’t say about the holidays being difficult?
The loneliness. Yes, they expressed their sadness about the holidays. They miss their children, their parents. But they never specifically mentioned the loneliness.

               This is the second holiday season I will spend alone. No kids, no companion. The first did not prepare me for this year, and I doubt that this year will prepare me for the next. And so on, and so on.
I wonder why I am so affected by being alone. By being lonely.

Why do I fear it so?
Why is that all I can feel?

And while writing that, I throw my glasses across the room, wipe my face, a sob escapes me. And Justin Furstenfeld sings one of my favorite Blue October songs, “Fear.”

All my life
Been running from a pain in me
A feeling I don't understand
Holding me down

So rain on me
Underwater
All I am, getting harder
A heavy weight
I carry around

Oh, Justin. How do you always sing the words of my heart?
Maybe it’s just the Truly.

These moments are the inspiring ones. The pain that pushes your pen. Seeps out onto the paper like sweat from a feverish forehead. Till finally the malady leaves you. Spent, exhausted, defeated.

And you wash down four Benadryl with your third (fourth?) Truly. Desperate for sleep. Just needing to be unconscious for a while.

Even though the more you drink the better they taste, these things are still probably just as terrible as my painting.

I don’t even like seltzer.