The most self-centered post I have ever written, wherein I bemoan my contrary nature and talk about writing, again

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The first Monday of the month I was at a friend’s house for dinner, peering over her shoulder as she showed me the wonder that is astrologyzone.com. I am very recently interested in astrology at all, and before a few weeks ago I had never even heard of internet astrology.

This site is great, said the friend. So good.

So I read my horoscope for the month, all four pages of it, and it told me that my month was going to be most excellent. Everything was going to come together like melted chocolate and heavy cream in a kitchenaid mixer – a wonderful forecast to make up, I am assuming, for the mercury retrograde that was everyone’s supposed “horrible” January. (I actually had a perfectly wonderful January.) According to this site, my February would start out on a good note, and by the end, I would be wealthy, promoted, and in love. The best day of the month, said the horoscope, would be the seventeenth.

I call bullshit.

This month has been terrible. And today, the seventeenth, has by far been the very worst day. Yesterday I had panic attacks all day for no apparent reason, had sugar cravings that were so strong I started to cry, couldn’t write (trying to write just gave me even more anxiety), was awake till two am, and then couldn’t hardly sleep. In the morning I got my period and was like- DUH. And I felt better for a minute, biked to a friend’s, and collapsed on her bed with the worst cramps EVER. Not even aspirin would kill that shit, and I know aspirin sounds weak, but I never take pain meds and so usually one measly little aspirin does the job like a champ. So I took two. Whoah dude! My friend went to work, I fell asleep for a minute with her cat in my armpit, and when I woke it was dark. I bought some organic eggs from the corner store and two avocados and biked home. Once home I watched Mr. & Ms. Smith (don’t laugh, it was at the library, and I happen to have a thing for Brangelina) but the movie was so BORING and it made me depressed like movies always do, so I took a shower and sat in the tub under the water and cried and wished there was some other place I could go to besides here, or that I was a superhero ninja spy with a zipline gun or at least a part time job.

As far as I’m concerned, the seventeenth didn’t even HAPPEN. This day was wiped off the face of the earth.

That’s what my horoscope should have said: We checked your chart, and it looks like the seventeenth is totally missing. Hmm…

A request for my readers- If you’re the kind of person who loves routine, who has any easy time making long-term plans and sticking to them, who can do things like balance their checkbook and fill out long, pointless applications and sit under fluorescent lights and ride in elevators without feeling like their heart is being smothered like a bird in the same room as a burning Teflon pan, BE GRATEFUL FOR THAT SHIT.

I can’t. And I don’t know why. When I was like, nineteen, being a giant flake who couldn’t commit to anything was a whole lot of fun- you know, my whole life ahead of me and I could live off of dumpstered bagels and anything was possible and stuff.

But it’s not fun anymore. It hasn’t been “fun” for a few years now, and I’ve been desperately trying to find some way that I can exist in this everyday world of meaningless bullshit and abstract career plans without crushing the magical fantasy land that lives in my heart. I know that sounds stupid and self-centered, and it is. It’s naïve of me to even have my own pet fantasy land, but I do, and it’s the one thing that keeps me alive. I’ve had it ever since I was a kid- you know, when I was poor and stuff- not poor like I am now, because being poor when you’re ten is way different than being poor when you’re 26 and not crazy or drug addicted or blah blah blah. So it’s not something that grew out of privilege, it’s just me. ME. So I’ve been trying really hard to find a way to prop myself up and get some sort of consistency in my life so that I can you know, live, and pay my rent and eat, but the things that are easiest for most people, it seems, are the hardest for me- I’m not afraid to be homeless or ride freight trains or hitch-hike or not have a future but I’m completely incapable, apparently, of structuring my time or getting a job or living in one place for more than three months without having panic attacks.

Oh yeah, that’s pretty much the worst part. My brain is on a timer. I can be happy someplace, sure! For three months. And then, DING! It’s anxiety time! Time to go! It’s like I’m fucking Cinderella or something, and my coach turns into a pumpkin. I think maybe I’m addicted to travel, it does something in my brain that makes me forget about my problems, and so as soon as I leave a place I feel better, like life is a fresh clean slate and once again, anything is possible.

Maybe it’s because I’m white and I’m a colonizer, but there’s nothing left to colonize. So now there’s all these white people on three-month adventure timers bumping up against the pacific ocean, freaking out. There’s nothing left! There’s nothing left!

It’s funny when I write about it, but actually it’s really serious. I’m actually freaking out right now, sort of disappointed in myself because I was all set to live in Portland for a good while (so I could finish my novel and make something of myself, you know, at some point) but then my three-month timer went off, and 85 thousand words doesn’t mean a thing if you can’t even stand to look at the screen to finish editing it. It’s really hard to try to write a book, you have to hold it in your head like this magical object, and it takes all your strength and energy to hold it up, and the only thing that keeps you going is this sort of miraculous belief that it even exists, the ability to see it in your head. So then the belief just dies one day for some mysterious reason and instead of writing you cry, and stare at the stupid story on the stupid glowing screen that you were stupid enough to think people would actually want to read, and you put your head down on your desk, and try to resist the urge to smash the computer’s face in with your U-lock, even though then you would be free, because you would never be able to afford another computer, ever, and you could just go be a hobo in the desert, and live in a cave made of rock, and be one with the lizards, and die.

Logic! What I need is more logic, and less metaphors! How do I do this? Some sort of logic coach? No-one ever taught me how to live in the real world…

There is one thing, I know, that always helps, when I feel this way: Nature. Nature is so good for me, it makes my anxiety go away pretty much instantly, like *poof*! The only problem is that human community doesn’t exist in nature anymore (and please don’t tell me to go live on a land collective, six people in the middle of the woods does not a thriving community make) and my human community (the gaywads) even less- so I pretty much have to choose, again and again, between my mental health (nature) and my friends (the city). And when it come down to it I take lonely and grounded over social and anxious, and then when I feel better, I usually drift back to the city, so I can go out dancing and feel hot and like I’m a real human being who relates to other, similar human beings, and then I start to feel overwhelmed and anxious again…

SO, I’m looking at farming internships for the summer, is what I’m doing. It’s time I learned to grow things anyway, what with the impending collapse of western civilization and all. At the rate I’m completing my “livin’ off the land” curriculum, I’ll never get to graduate from the school of anti-capitalism with a degree in DIY. So it’ll be alright. I’ll just be lonely, is all, and maybe I’ll turn into Annie Dillard and write a book about preying mantises eating each other and how a muddy flooded stream is an elaborate metaphor for a cruel and heartless universe, and then I’ll wind the Pulitzer prize.

(oh Annie, you know I love you. You’re my one and only, even if it is a little creepy that so many of my friends have made out with your kid.)

This post= self-centered and rambling, aka therapeutic and helpful. Thanks for listening. I feel better now. Really, I do.

Also, a few inspiring posts for your consideration, from blogs that are not mine, to prove just how heartbreakly beautiful a blog post, of all things, on the stupid glowing computer screen, of all places, can be-

“I want to stand in the street and just point with my arm, direct traffic toward the moon

and

“When two people of few words get together you’d be surprised how much gets said.”

22 thoughts on “The most self-centered post I have ever written, wherein I bemoan my contrary nature and talk about writing, again

  1. Can decide if you need a hug or a hike. Maybe several hikes. Or just standing on the crest of a hill staring out over a pristine forest. Whoa… that sounds good.

    Good job, once again. Rant away. It’s your blog, and you can cry if you want to.

  2. My spine is tingling, reading this made me feel more optimistic about the way I process information and that in fact we share similar sensitivities.

    Don’t feel obligated to answer any of these questions, maybe these questions are more for self exploration.

    Do you find yourself disassociating within reality, like when everyone around you is talking do you go within or only register a couple of words? I used to carry on conversations with myself as a girl, I created a world of my own, and that hasn’t gone away. Are you obsessed with reinventing yourself over and over again? … Do you think that your present life is separating you from what you want in the future? Pressure amplifies my external sensitivity, every dream, hope, and prayer becomes a DO OR DIE situation. I don’t want that sensitivity to go away because that feeling is an indicator towards my internal truth.

    WRIIIIIITE

    LOVE,
    LUDDIE

  3. Self doubt in writers is inevitable. Keep writing, it will get there…meanwhile I love the alarm clock in the head image…my problem as well…

  4. I think it’s also inevitable that you’ll face these challenges in the city. You’re right, we’re not given a framework – most people our age, unless they got full time jobs to support themselves early on – do not know how to make the shift into the “stay in one place because your resume matters” mindset. It’s really hard, especially when you have a sense of beauty, and of what is good, and right, and you’re made to go against that for other goals. Just remember that you have the goals, that you’re working toward them and that you’ll get there.

    You will get there.

    For the 2nd time today, the idea: you won’t get pitched out of your boat just because it’s rocking, is apt, maybe.

  5. NoseMovie- a long series of hikes, maybe. Thanks for reading.

    Luddie- No, I stay pretty tuned in, although I do tend to narrate the world around me in my head, like I’m writing a story. I don’t think I’m obsessed with reinventing myself, although I did that for a while, back when I didn’t know much about the way the world worked or how I fit in it. You sound like a special sort of creature, thanks for reading and good luck with your own sensitivity/creativity.

    Reamus- yeah, the alarm clock in my head- a blessing and a curse, or just a curse.

    ShanaRose- wise words, wise words! And the boat thing is so perfect.

  6. WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) organization is awesome for farm internships and volunteering on organic farms in general. I did it in Australia and I met some of the loveliest people. I would love to WWOOF some more and be a host someday. But its great for cheap traveling and adventure.

  7. I have all these answers, but of course they’re not your answers. I hope you find what your looking for. And DONT STOP WRITING.

  8. Sequoia- Thanks! I have heard of wwoof. Totally amazing! I recommend it to people all the time. I’ve got a farm picked out already, which makes everything much easier.

    Tara- you do have answers, they are amazing. And DITTO.

    Scantron- Thanks! And yes, I’m sure we have some NC friends in common. I was actually going to mention that to you, but you beat me to it! Thanks for reading!!

    Walker- Wyatt! Why are you Walker?! Yes, what we need is a little religious iconography amongst the cedars. To mass, with the rest of the tourists!

  9. i love reading your blog. this one especially rings true with me. i find myself stuck when my true nature involves constantly experiencing new things. and the wilderness soothes me like nothing else. when my nerves take ahold and the futility of life encompasses me, nature brings me back and tells me it will all be okay.

  10. Well gosh, it’s nice to know i’m not the only person who is completely lost and floundering in this town. I did finally got food stamps though. Blessed Welfare!! but since i don’t work much they’re making me do the work program. Oh well, it’s something to do…

    last night i did almost exactly this same thind, but with pen and paper, no a computer. But it was all about this crap relationship i had and what went wrong and why i let myself turn into the person i hate when i was with him.

    Fun!! I LOVE February, don’t you???

    xoxo
    hope you feel better soon.

  11. Hey Carrot- Maddeningly I can stick to routine, balance my checkbook, fill out the applications etc. but it does smother my heart. I keep trying to get out of that room with the burning pan. I’m getting closer and your adventures are a real inspiration. All I want to do is write too. And exist within the fabric of nature, in a routine of random order. Keep resisting! Keep writing! The birds with smothered hearts will buy your book, log into your blog and sigh with relief as they take their 10 minute breaks out from under the flourescent lights.

  12. geez. It took me like 3 days to read this entire post, there’s so much there? This is one of the only blogs I’ve read that has made me want to give the author a hug. Me cheesy!

    Well, I could say something very enlightened and all right now, and I really want to. I’m debating in my head right now if I should…

    aww fuck it.

    but I will say this, Don’t erase the 17th!

    Also, who you are and what you struggle with are so beautiful and valid and relevant.

    I”ll do a tarot reading for you if you want one. If you think it would help.

    but personally, I think you are exactly where you need to be. You are one of those moving spirits, and you are always journeying even when you are standing still.

  13. I found myself nodding along to nearly everything you wrote in this most recent post. I read your blog regularly put haven’t ever commented.

    I’m a nineteen year old boy/kid and I feel like my life has some parallels to yours that are strikingly similar.

    All of my friends are in college or live in cities or have jobs that they can somehow stand, and so for a few months at a time I will spend time with them, generally having somewhat-meaningless-fun – fun which is necessary for my mental health but which eventually begins to eat away at me – until times like now when I’m itching to leave my town and travel again (I hitchhike too!), and be part of something that feels more real. Outside of…the mundane, ‘normality’ (what the hell that is), routine.

    Anyway, this comment was meant as a thank-you for affirming me in that I’m not the only one out there feeling this way.

    So – thanks!

  14. See, this is where it helps to have money. As one who grew up poor, and is not going back, I find that gainful employment has many benefits. One of them being that you can take vacations. So when life becomes to staid, routine and boring, you take off for a month, or two. You go to places where you see people that are not only poor, but desperately so, with no hope of being anything other.You meet them and talk to them and learn from them. You gain perspective. Then you go back to your life. You realize your opportunities. You work hard to make your life just as you would have it.

  15. April- I know, I know! A kindred spirit!

    Joanna- February rules! Miss you!

    Matsya- so glad you like my blog! bust out! be free! The economy is terrible! There’s never been a worse time!

    Sloth- thank you! Your words are wonderful! I do want a tarot reading! Can we do that from far away?

    Darl- You = me when I was 19, except the economy is worse now! Good luck with that! No I really mean that! You’ll figure it all out, I can tell from here. Really!

    Anon- Lookit you, Mr. Content. You figured it all out! Good for you!

  16. April- I know, I know! A kindred spirit!

    Joanna- February rules! Miss you!

    Matsya- so glad you like my blog! bust out! be free! The economy is terrible! There’s never been a worse time!

    Sloth- thank you! Your words are wonderful! I do want a tarot reading! Can we do that from far away?

    Darl- You = me when I was 19, except the economy is worse now! Good luck with that! No I really mean that! You’ll figure it all out, I can tell from here. Really!

    Anon- Lookit you, Mr. Content. You figured it all out! Good for you!

  17. Okay, so this comment is like, ten days way too late… OH WELL! LOL!

    Carrot, I’ll bet ur an Ares or a Sagittarius. ^.^

    Interesting thing about astrology is that it’s never concrete. Sometimes it hits the mark, sometimes it TOTALLY misses. I never at all put any kind of faith in “generalized” horoscopes – internet or otherwise. Not only are they usually wrong in pretty much every respect, and assume every reader is an “average working Joe,” they are WAY too flippin’ positive!

    I use my limited knowledge of astrology more to understand myself and figure out the rest of the human race I happen to encounter. For everything personal, I read my cards.

    And while my horoscope, like yours, predicted love, prosperity and happiness for this month, my cards (which I read six months ago) quite accurately predicted major change and anxiety for February, bordered on either side by months of ascending and descending anxiety. Well, it happened and boy, did it ever!! lol

    Its incredibly reassuring to read your post and several of the comments and know that I’m not alone and not absolutely insane. 🙂 For the longest time I could not figure out why I couldn’t keep a job for longer than about 18 months at a time, when my folks and everyone in my hometown held jobs for 15+ years.

    Couldn’t figure out why I could hardly stand to stay in one place for longer than six months, or why I couldn’t finish two paintings in a row, or commit to a hobby long term, or finish college, or stick a relationship through, or finish the second revision of the only novel I ever really finished, or finish any of the other 5 billion started, stored, and left for dead in this hard drive, or see through a long-term goal, or sleep in a normal bed with sheets (okay, so I suppose that’s a bit different, lol).

    But for the longest time I tried to squeeze into an easter-egg-sized container, convinced that success = college – job – mortgage – marriage – kids – retirement – nursing home – marble tombstone in some quaint little plot in Iowa. I was trying to hammer myself into a lifestyle that every fiber of my soul was fighting against, the whole time chomping at the bit and wondering why the panic attacks were getting WORSE with each month.

    If it weren’t for meeting the friend I now call Sister, I might not have even considered that perhaps I had a different, NATURAL, option(s). So, exactly one year ago I said ‘Screw this! If not now then never!’ and hitchhiked in California. So, okay, the actual hitchhiking lasted only a week, but it was enough of a taste to change every perception I had of myself, others and the world. For once in my goddamn meaningless life, I felt like I was LIVING.

    When I finally missed my friends enough to go back – and I’m admitting this in all honesty – I died again. For months I felt like I’d woken up from the most beautiful dream that I should have stayed asleep for. In fact, I was just telling my co-worker tonight about that. Why in the tiny sane portion of my mind did I leave?

    LOL! Sorry for ranting on your blog!! I get carried away sometimes. 😀

    Well, anyway, in thinking about your comments on wishing you could stay in a routine, all I really gotta say is this: Mundanity is great to visit, but never move in!

    For people that are “settler” types, its wonderful, but I really, honestly believe it’s not a healthy long-term plan for restless souls. ^.^

    As for the writing – don’t force it! It’ll get hungry and come home eventually, lol. I’ve been in a HUGE writing funk for nearly two months now myself… but if my dreams have anything to do with it, I’ll be coming out of it soon, methinks.

    Oh, and since Luddie gave the writer’s eulalia, I am obligated by the Unwritten, Unspoken Writer’s Code to do the same (because I don’t know how many times I’ve shouted it at brilliant budding authors):

    WRIIIIIITE!!

    Lol! ^.^

    Peace, Carrot!

  18. hi carrot. i got here via cyd’s blog and he has been telling me to read you and i think i should be because your writing is incredible. anyhow. fellow writer here. i have never had the travel bug but i have done a lot of tearing out my hair after beginning to hate yet another project without knowing why. i have been not doing that for a while now, and i think maybe it’s about riding the highs and the lows, and sitting with it, and even if everything seems fucked up, trying to show up to writing. but then you’re blogging anyhow, so you obviously are.

    it’s also true that having a job helps, but i have also gone totally crazy in any fulltime routinized job i’ve ever had. the most important thing i have learnt is that spaces really do exist in the world for people to do what they love. and learn how to be better at what they love doing. and money might come from somewhere once you know what you want (this sounds like crappy capitalist logic but it has been true for me.) and anxiety attacks are a sign that there are things to sit through and with and survive, maybe….?

    anyhow wish luck.

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