Thursday, August 16, 2012


I planned to go to bed early tonight. I have a long list of things that need to get done, and not even a fraction of the motivation to do it. The laundry will remain in the basket, my roots will remain un-touched-up, the garbage will remain in the kitchen for another day.

I am overwhelmed by my mental to do list of another sort: the running tally I keep of all the ideas I want to execute. I so badly want to create. To draw, to photograph, to write, to craft. Something, anything. I have no time and no idea where to start, anyway.

Years ago, as a design student, I remember longing to use the left side of my brain again. I wanted to do something logical, rational, something concrete, with correct answers and absolute objectivity. I missed math. I missed numbers. I missed having a possible correct answer. I did so well in the classes for my psychology minor because there were definitive theories to wrap my head around. When I was given an exam, there was a correct answer for each question. Black and white, black and white.

I took a job that was rooted in my left-brain specialties. I have a painfully overwhelming need to pay attention to all the details, all the quirks, all the nuances. I make charts and spreadsheets to maximize efficiency. I work in concrete answers. I leave no stone unturned, no minutiae unresolved. I like it. I'm good at it.

Something's missing.

I watch our designers with envy, knowing that their job is the type of job I'd always intended to have. Would I be any good at it? Who knows. I'll likely never know. The longer I'm away from it, the less competent I'd be if I tried to return. It doesn't matter. The world is brimming with talent and I have nothing special to add to that pool. I'm better off where I am. I know where my talents are best suited, and it's entirely for mundane or procedural things.

But, oh. To create. Something. Anything. I scour pinboards and websites full of lovely, well-executed designs, and something inside me aches. It's an odd type of jealousy, I think? I could have done something like that. I know the theories and the technical skills to do it - or at least, I used to. I see photographs and I think about the hundreds - no, thousands - of image files taking up space on my hard drive. So many shots were done with a certain idea in mind, a certain angle, a certain artistic quality. But I lack the execution to turn it into actual art. And even if I did, I wouldn't know what to do with it. They'd just sit in a different folder somewhere else on my hard drive. And the words... I have a different post that I'd meant to write first, about my crippling self-doubt and complete and total writer's block. It's painful for me to not write. But I can't. I can't make myself sit down and create anything. Like my design skills and my photography skills, my aptitude for fiction is rapidly circling the drain. Use it or lose it, they say. I'm losing all of it.

I'm lost in that sea of black and white, and I miss the colors. I'm Dorothy, back in Kansas, and I've seen the other side of the rainbow, and home isn't as sweet as I remember.

I feel useless. I used to feel like I was put here for a purpose, and I used to think that my ability to absorb information, to comprehend the world around me, to understand without trying... I used to think that it was going to help me someday. I was convinced I was meant to be a communicator. Whether verbally or visually - maybe both - was a mystery, but I built myself an arsenal of tools to be able to do either. And now I can't seem to do anything. I can barely talk my way out of a paper bag anymore. I get frustrated and tongue-tied.

I wish I knew what I was supposed to be doing with myself. I wish I could wake up one morning and have a grand epiphany about what path I'm supposed to be on, or what direction I was supposed to go.

Hell, I wish I could see something that inspires me, that ignites a spark of creativity, that I could hold onto long enough to turn into something real, instead a jumble of thoughts and half-baked ideas and that endless void of incompleteness.

I want to feel like I'm contributing. I want to feel like I'm doing something worthwhile, or interesting, or even that I'm doing more than just getting by. I want to feel like all of the people that have ever had faith in me to do something meaningful with my life are validated in that belief. Myself included.


Ashley, the Accidental Olympian said...

Man, do I hear you.

Maybe force yourself to do one of those things. Write a story, or take X amount of pictures for X weeks. Maybe no one but you sees them, but by doing it, maybe something will spark.

Tori said...

Amen, sista.