Sometimes, I feel like I’m stuck, unable to move forward … unwilling to move backward … and trying my best to shimmy-shimmy-shimmy my way sideways, just enough to get a little bit of breathing room in my life. I’ve never been stuck in quicksand, but this is what I imagine it would be like. Well, minus the whole “you’re going to die momentarily” aspect of the ordeal. Sometimes, I almost wish I would die momentarily. Just so the cycle of torment and self recrimination would end.
Okay … so, no, I don’t really want to die. Except, well, sometimes, yes, it does feel like this could be a good idea. Figuratively, anyhow. And then I tell myself I’m being overly dramatic. I roll my eyes at my reflection in the bathroom mirror while reminding myself that no one gives a shit about me or my problems. And why should they? And then I go along my merry way. Except … that feeling is still there. That feeling of slogging forward — painfully, slowly, one foot in front of the other. Not because I want to or even because I think it’s a particularly good idea. But because it’s what I’m supposed to do. It’s what’s expected.
I suppose I’ve always had an over-developed sense of “duty”. I was one of those kids who did homework as soon as I arrived home — and started with my most-hated subject first. I was a person who stuck it out through three soul-sucking years of graduate school, obtaining a degree that tossed me into one miserable job after another. If it had been up to me, I would have walked away. Right up to the very moment I walked across the stage and received that damn diploma, I would have walked. Run, more like it. And yet, I stayed. Because it was expected. Because it meant so much to other people. I’m the person who does all the shit work in my house. Not because I like it. Or even because anyone ever says thank you. But because it has to be done.
Writing used to be my escape. When I needed a break from the expectations and the obligations and the weight of all the hopes and dreams of the people around me, I would pretend to be someone else. I could be free and do anything I wanted — whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. It was liberating and terrifying and beautiful and awful and just … everything. All at once.
But now, even writing has become quicksand. There isn’t any freedom in it. There is only the fight to carve out time from the merry-go-round of errands and wants and needs and requirements and just … crap … that is a busy life in a large metropolitan area in the US. And there is the drudgery of slogging ahead, trying to make progress, trying to prove something to myself and to everyone around me. I am worth this. I can do this. I have a voice. I can use it. Except, apparently, I can’t.