Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Trying to recover from trying to recover

These days I feel like I'm living a double life between how I actually feel, which is that I can barely function at all I don't know how I'm going to do anything, and how I engage with the world, which is in this super-high functioning way with all these writing projects going on at once and I'm organizing all the details, from the writing to the editing to the promotion to the touring and the whole time I'm thinking how am I doing any of this? Because I don't really have any energy. Then I remember it's because this is what gives me meaning, gives me excitement, makes me feel like maybe there's a little bit of hope, connects me to other people and ideas and inspirations, makes me feel like I'm part of something. But then at the same time it's what drains me, leaves me feeling stressed and exhausted and in pain and it's all feeling ridiculous right now. That whole cycle.

Just after the California Supreme Court marriage decision I got all manic, thinking maybe now is the time to get an anti-marriage op-ed in one of the corporate dailies. I even sat down and wrote it, and called friends who I thought might actually read the corporate dailies and asked them what they thought and we brainstormed together and I liked that part, it felt like we were collectively engaged in something political together, which was also my op-ed. But then I had to think about ridiculous things like will these papers even publish the word queer? And can I use the word gay instead, or would that just make me feel politically disgusting? I mean, if someone else said they were going to use the word gay I might support them in that decision, but I just couldn't do it. Or LGBT -- that would be even worse.

Then I sent the op-ed to 14 of the dailies in total, and surprise surprise none of them published it. But then I got creative and recorded it as an audio commentary (thanks, Puck), which will air on Uprising Radio, the morning news program on KPFK-LA sometime this week (I'll keep you posted), so that's exciting. But I'm talking about all of this because, when I started getting all manic about marriage I was also falling deeper into exhaustion, the exhaustion was already happening I was trying to do things anyway. And so I wonder if doing those things made me more exhausted.

But of course I'm already drained. I can't say I would feel better if I didn't do anything but sometimes I just want something else, I mean a different way of existing that isn't all based on drive because if there isn't any drive then I'll collapse but maybe I just need to collapse. For a while. Like a year. Or two years. Maybe live on the beach and only work on one project -- the next book that starts with visiting my father before he died, continues with trying to regain a sense of hope in my own sexuality, finishes with the overwhelm of the everyday and the legacy of a childhood surviving violence.

But sometimes it's the things I do to take care of myself that cause even more drama, like the blackout blinds that I finally succeeded in getting installed, because maybe I wake up too early because of the light streaming in my windows. And then, not only do the blinds not block out all the light, but they give off this toxic smell like fresh paint. I mean I sleep better, but then I wake up and my head is closed, my day is spent trying to recover from trying to recover.

2 comments:

Willow said...

the next book that starts with visiting my father before he died, continues with trying to regain a sense of hope in my own sexuality, finishes with the overwhelm of the everyday and the legacy of a childhood surviving violence.

I'd like to read that book.

I say, collapse, if you need to--let your bones tumble down until they reach someplace you can rest.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Thanks, Willow -- that'll be the next book, for sure, it in one form or another -- after the next book, I mean -- no, wait, is the next book after the next book after the next book. Translation: first comes So Many Ways to Sleep Badly, then Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?, then the book you're talking about...

And yes your right, collapse is what I need -- at some point...

Love --
mattilda