This Sad Dark Room

Strange question today. Counselor asked if she had met me a year ago, would she be counseling the same person? No. You wouldn’t. She asked about stress, if the school and kid stresses would have been the same? Well, the college and financial aid stress is new and heinous, but otherwise, yes, they would be the same…at least similar. Would I have the same attitudes? Was I crying all the time? No. Hardly ever. PMS occasionally. Not like this. This is horrible. Endless. Awful.

I think I confuse her. She says that I don’t let things control me, that I change the things that are bothering me or I at least act against them or on them or something. I don’t just sit there and let it control me. So why? Why am I letting this grief control me?

This is where I go back to that magical step…I don’t think ‘let’ is the appropriate word. I don’t seem to be able to get the upper hand on this. I argue with myself all the time about it…tell myself that reality was different than what I thought and I need to get over it, to move on, and I just can’t seem to drag that stupid-ass part of my brain up and out. It’s just mired, lost, sinking…depressed.

Counseling was a giant weepfest. I guess there is some catharsis in that. But no resolution. She doesn’t have the magical step, apparently. I think if she did, she would give it to me. She asked me to name one thing I was grateful for at that moment in time, and right then, at the end of a long week, with things hanging over my head like guillotine blades, I struggled to find something that wasn’t an absence of something bad (I don’t have cancer…I’m grateful for that)…something that was actually a glass-half-full instead of just feeling empty.

In this conversation I had the other day with a self-professed Myers Briggs expert, she made me think about how I think…metacognition in teacher speak. I’ve said this before, that I wish I could get far enough out of my head so that I could get past this, but maybe this is part of why my artist brain is so good at what it intuitively does…I spend So Much time in my head with the art–drawing and interpreting and observing–that it’s almost impossible to get out when the brain is tying itself up in knots. When I am working on a big project that is taking up huge parts of my brain power, processing through images and compositions and colors, no one, including me, questions my interior focus. It’s what I’m meant to do. It’s how I function. The reason I was thinking of all this was because the Earth Stories quilts are shipping this weekend, and I had to iron, dehair, and label them…so while I was ironing, I thought again about using ink on the quilt…

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And I did. And no, it’s not in the catalog. I’m OK with that. It’s not a lot. It’s just enough. If I had been in a different mindset back in August/September, I would have handled the last stages of this quilt completely differently…there are things I would have done that would have extended the finish time by a month probably, inking and embroidery and maybe even beads, but I just couldn’t. I associate this quilt with the worst of my depression, with the three weeks of shock and the craziness after that. I did NOT want to spend more time with it then. So I found mistakes and problems when I was cleaning it up today…I fixed a few of them…but then I made more mistakes when I was trying to get it cleaned up…I actually ended up ripping out stitches in the background by accident in two different places. LAME. So I had to fix those.

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My bad. Not focusing enough. Not wanting to think too hard about this quilt and all it represents to me right now. It took me about three hours tonight to deal with the two quilts because of screw ups like that, but also because I had it all wrapped up and then remembered I needed to pack the small quilt with it…and then realized I was supposed to put labels on both of them. So I unwrapped and rewrapped about three times. Just inefficient and stupid.

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It’s so frustrating to be working with my brain when it’s this disconnected. But I remember the high level of focus I had when I was drawing this thing…it took over 22 hours of my Spring Break last year to draw it, and I had to literally rip it out of my head. I was never without that image in my head, building and rebuilding parts of it, revising the composition until it made sense. Same with picking the fabrics. So deep into the crevices that I am carrying the image in the front of my mind at all times, whether I’m in the classroom, at the gym, or out to dinner. It’s always there, niggling, engaging the deeper, intuitive parts of my brain into making it work.

And I don’t think any of that is bad. That is how I work. That is what makes me good at what I do. It’s also what makes it so freakin’ hard to get my brain OUT of shit like this, shit I can’t explain, shit that makes no sense, shit that makes me question my entire existence and future and past and every fucking thing. Shit that makes my sleep interrupted (even more than before). Shit that makes me cry at the drop of a hat, the drop of a word, the hint of any tiny bit of sad, stress, overwhelming emotion.

I can’t really expect my brain to treat this problem any differently than it does an artistic problem.

So. I guess we are working on that. I feel like the part of my brain that has the answer, the next step, the magical pill for the cure…it’s hiding around a corner…I come chasing through the hallway, racing after it, and it slips into a doorway that locks behind it, and I end up banging on the door, screaming until my throat is sore and my voice ragged, and I can hear its breathing, quiet and hidden, but it won’t answer, it won’t come out. It’s huddled in the corner, head on its arms, covering its eyes, hands covering its ears so it doesn’t have to listen to me. It’s processing.

I don’t know what the solution is.

Girlchild was playing like a beast last night for the time she was on the field…

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It seems strange to think that she will have back surgery in about 6 weeks, but there we are. She was back to normal today, helping in the kitchen, telling me it’s OK when I explained why I didn’t think the NYC trip could happen, that I just don’t have enough of a financial cushion for that, that we could reevaluate in summer, but that the money stuff just isn’t good at the moment. She said, “It’s OK, mommy. I understand.” And I told her I understood that it didn’t seem fair because her brother had three trips, but that I didn’t pay for all of it and my finances were better then, and now they’re just messed up, and I was really really sorry. Proof I guess that she is growing up, that she’s becoming the amazingly understanding adult I know she will end up being…probably too understanding.

Anyway. I spent all evening in my head telling my brain how stupid it was being. Not a good thing. Tomorrow I will try to erase some of that bad hinky stuff with a hike, and then hopefully I will get the next big chunk of financial aid hell done with and move on to something that feeds my soul or art brain or whatever that might bring me out and let me wander freely on the planet, instead of being kept in this sad dark room.


One thought on “This Sad Dark Room

  1. Your brain is working hard, really really hard. It IS what makes you the artist you are, and it IS what makes all the processing of your pain so intricate. Maybe today on your hike, some parts of your brain can take a little rest so other parts, the healers, can enjoy the fresh air. Then later the different parts can talk to each other, maybe behind your back so you don’t even have to be involved. And a little bit may get better.

    I used to say that my CPU was fucked up. Really though, I don’t know if it was a hardware problem (yes, at least some) or a software problem (someone spliced a bit of looping code in where it wasn’t supposed to be.) Still my brain doesn’t work quite like it used to, but that may be okay.



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