Creativity works like breathing. You can't breathe out without breathing in. Before I have something to write about, I need to breathe in the world. The beautiful, horrifying world.
"I wonder if we do not waste most of our energy just by spending every waking minute saying hello to ourselves."
It's easier to breathe if I can get out of my head. I spend at least eight hours a day, Monday through Friday, living as though my body were only a mobile stand to carry around my brain. I need to get kick my shoes off and wiggle my toes, walk barefoot on a scratchy carpet or a smooth wooden floor.
I need to get outside and breathe fresh air, someplace away from traffic, off the clock, with nothing in my hands. I need to just stand still somewhere and watch clouds float across a blue sky. I need to be able to lean my head back and look up into the swaying branches of a willow tree.
On Friday Ken picked me up from work early so that I could write the test for my learner's permit. On the way there we passed a car accident. The intersection was littered with scraps of car. When we got to the testing office, I got queasy. I stood in the disgusting, stinking bathroom stall with scrunched straggles of toilet paper on the floor and the door bolt dangling from one loose screw, talking myself down, telling myself I wasn't allowed to be sick. I wasn't allowed to manufacture an excuse not to take the test.
I wrote that stupid test. And passed it. It wasn't that bad.
Here's an example of the type of question that was on the test.
What should you do when a school bus stops in front of your car?
A) Honk and accelerate
B) Turn on your four-way-flashers and keep to the right
C) Execute a three-point-turn
D) Stop 20 metres behind the bus
As you can see, it wasn't an overwhelming challenge.
Day-to-day, anxiety is still close at hand, but I am dealing with it. I am taking baby steps out of my comfort zone. I am giving myself tough love, suspecting every physical symptom. Dizziness, queasiness, fatigue: all these are manipulative tactics my fear uses to control me. I refuse to let fear run my life. It's used to having the upper hand, so it's pushing back as I push forward.
I'm stubborn. If I have to take one step back for every two I take forward, I won't give up.