Friday, May 26, 2017

Stress, Work, Baby: Repeat

Usually people look at me when I’m having a panic attack and as me, “why are you nervous?” And, as I pause between labored breaths, I am drowning like a fish out of water. I hear that fucking question so many times that I makes me want to scream, but my collapsed lungs have no air to offer even a whisper.

This all started a few years ago in 2013. I was, before my first episode, a very productive person. My personality then was very outgoing, very active. I was a typical “go-getter.” But then the attacks started, and my period of work dwindled from hours a day to short bursts of maybe 30-45 minutes worth of real work.

Now I’m a dad. Between my new duty of raising my daughter and writing my books, I have little time now to pursue my original levels of productivity. Simply put: I don’t write as much, so you won’t be seeing me posting three times a week.

But the content is better. I find myself planning my projects with greater care, investing more time into making my plots flow better. At the risk of writing without a net (without any idea particular story in mind), I sit on my posts and shorts, hoping that subsequent attempts will yield a robust result. This works to a degree. There are stories that circulate over the web about laboring artists that will agonize over dozens of drafts, which I feel is a waste of time. My limit is three: first draft attempt, second draft re-write from notes, and the final third draft where I choose one aspect about my story and redo it. Taking the extra time to really rack my brain over a concept has solidified this style I’ve chosen for myself.

Now I’m a dad. It bears repeating. I’m still in shock over the transition. The presence of this, thing, in my living room that demands my life, my soul, I’ve never felt this before. My daughter Eowyn cries because she doesn’t understand the world that she now indwells. It’s not wet or dark, warm and tight. Everything is so open and vast, an echo chamber that she cries out against and hears nothing in return. It’s difficult to imagine what it’s like to be a blank slate.

Stress, work, baby: my new life, some tell me. There is a Mormon that I work with that insists that my life is over, only using colorful, inoffensive language extracted from a threadbare flannel board from the mid-80s. I already struggle with being pessimistic and incorrigible. Insisting that my life is going to change, bear baiting my dreams and hobbies with the burden of childrearing is downright nauseating. I knew what I was fucking getting in to when I decided with my wife that we wanted to have children. It’s not as if I was ignorant of the changes I was going to face. I welcome this brave new world I have entered, for better or worse. It’s high time I was forced to get over my depression and anxiety to serve another. It’s high time I saw myself through the eyes of another. To see myself carried in the arms of God, crying, lamenting at this hard life I endure every day. The perspective is awe inspiring. Like most prospective parents, I am eager to right all the wrongs of my childhood, to be a “cool” dad. Far more fascinating, in a grim sort of way, will be discovering my own pretensions that I will impose unfairly. Relying on my daughter to understand my own faults, that is the gift of parenting.

But one day at a time. Give me, this day, my daily bread. One day at a time.

I love you Eowyn, my Delightful Charger.



1 comment:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVHAZzilWlc

    ^ relevant

    ReplyDelete