Chimes and Things

I’m struggling with time. I’m struggling with balance. I’m struggling with the chime on my supposedly meditative chiming clock that chimes every hour on the hour making every hour of my day feel like a ten minute foray. I’m struggling with my to-do lists. The daily to-do list. The week’s to-do list. The month’s to-do list. The summer’s to-do list. The You’re Only 21 Once (and for only three more weeks) to-do list.

Things keep getting thrown on the already heavy lists. Beautiful things. Favora for friends things. Annoying things. INFURIATING things. Necessary things. Potentially dream-making things. I love all these things. It’s amazing to have things. Responsibilities. Work. Ways to fill the bank account. Class. Education. Friends. Aspirations. Goals. Health. Things are good. Things are very, very good.

But at what point does the brain overdose on things to-do? Is crying on a trail because of the relief of a lovely view evidence you’re doing too much, that you need to give yourself more time to breathe, more time to simply fucking be?

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And why do I keep offering to take double shifts when my coworkers recognize it’s summer, it’s late July, it’s beautiful outside, and jump at the opportunity to go play? Why do I keep taking their shifts when I KNOW there is so much else I need to do in those hours? When I’ve already done my allotted shift and earned my needed money for the day?

I think I keep choosing the forty bucks for four hours spent behind a desk that’s not my desk because at least after those four hours, after that extra shift, I’ll have tangible evidence for the time I spent. I’ll have proof I tried. Reason for my exhaustion. With other things, other ways to spend my hours, there’s not always evidence. I have a feeling. I sometimes have elation. Other times I have mere frustration. I have words. I have less words than before. I have plot threads and character development. I have coursework that may or not receive an okay grade. I have sore muscles and a mysterious amount of calories burned. I have a dull thud of a feeling in my gut, a fear of unemployment in a year, a fear that my time spent will turn out to be a waste.

Which is silly. Which is just so fucking silly because it’s not July 2014, it’s July 2013. It’s today and I’m doing the best I can, I’m making the most of my hours, I’m doing what I know in the back of my I should be doing.

Because even when I take those double shifts, even when I choose the gym over my desk, even when I spend far too much time critiquing friends’ and classmates’ work, I still ultimately end up in my bedroom staying up too late, frantically pounding on my keyboard, frantically trying to put what I need to say, what I’m DYING to write, what my characters are SCREAMING on the page. And I stay up and I type and I do it for me and I do it for the possibilities and I do it because I’m not happy or healthy when I’m not feeding my dreams and I do it because it’s what scratches at the back of my neck all day, every day, and writing–writing not at work, not for school, not for others, not for grad applications or GRE essay preparation, but WRITING THE STORY THAT HAS BEEN TRYING AND TRYING AND TRYING TO BE PROPERLY ARTICULATED SINCE 2005–is the most important bullet point on any list I make, no matter my age or my pathetic bank account or my slipping GPA or my weight.

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I’ve completed many revisions before, most of which were for the same story I’m working on now. I’ve done rewrites too, where I worked from word 0, where I trashed all previous 55,000 words. I’ve edited and edited and edited and shoved once-considered-glossy pages in drawers only to pull them out a year later and tackle the sentences again. But this revision? This revision is something else–and not because of its potential, not for any reason other than that for whatever reason it’s hitting me harder. Every word tattoos my skin in an ink only I can see, tattoos that evolve as I play in the drafting game, tattoos very much like the the ones scarred in black on my arm and wrists that others can see in that they keep me sane, they keep me moving forward and not giving up, not hiding with the spiders under my desk.

I’m cracking from the summer’s weight. I admit it. I finally admit it. Professors warned me. Bosses warned me. My mother warned me. I took on too much. I tried too hard. I pushed too far. I admit it I accepted more than I should have, but I do not admit defeat. Not in the least. I won. All these days, these days that have at times left me sobbing into my hardwood floor that I sometimes wish were carpeting, sobbing thinking it won’t work, I can’t do it, all these days–this final leg of a run I’ve been sprinting since September with no break has only further proven where my passion truly lies. Writing. It always come back to writing. At the end of the day, it’s what I think about. At the end of the day, it’s why I stay up far too late. Writing is what softens the day’s ache, that slows time, if only for a moment. If only for a sentence-worth of time.

You know, who the hell knows where I’ll be in five years? I may be in grad school. I may be working. I may be teaching. I may be an admissions counselor. I may be a freelance writer. I may still be single. I may be very much not single. I may be broke. I may be comfortable. And, gosh, WHY AM I SUCH A DRAMATIC PERSON, but I have to say it, I’m going to say: none of that nonsense matters, those logistics, where I’ll be, my future career, whatever, because I know that no matter what I’ll be writing. I’ll always be writing. I’ll be okay. I’ll write as I wrote today. As I wrote yesterday and will write tomorrow until I finish this current revision.

And after I submit the revision? I’ll put the manuscript aside for a bit of time and continue writing. A new manuscript. New story. New characters. I’ll always write. That’s all I need to know.

So yeah. Here I am. Feeling better. I wrote this entry because I needed to rant. I needed to kind of cry. I needed to admit that I’m struggling. I’m pushing. I’m kicking. I needed to remind myself that my anxiety is silly. It’ll work out. It always does, as long as I keep getting up in the morning and pulling at the hours, yanking time, making the minutes work for me, ignoring the hourly chime and just write. It’ll work out as long as I let myself write and remember how equally important it is to stop, climb, sit, breathe, and take note of the world’s beauty.

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