What is it about my brain that makes it horribly passive in the moments I need it to be diligent, yet right as I’m about to close my eyes, boom! Here’s that fact you couldn’t remember when you were chatting with your friend earlier! Boom! Oh, and here’s the title of the book you wanted to pick up while you were at the book store this afternoon. Boom, boom, BOOM! Tomorrow is someone’s birthday and you never mailed the card, remember that time 12 years ago you embarrassed yourself, WHAT DOES LIFE EVEN MEAN AND WHY HAVEN’T YOU BOUGHT MELATONIN YET?! All I can do is cry, “whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy” and wait for it to finally shut down. (I’m convinced it’s running on Windows.)
Every so often, in those moments of exhaustion mixed with frenzy mixed with gloom, I have flickering moments of brilliance. I come up with ideas for blog posts and DIY projects, plots for stories, solutions to problems I’m having, eloquent ways to put how I’m feeling about important social issues into words that say just what I want to without being too much (as, clearly, my sentences, usually are). Sometimes, I think I hear those thoughts calling out, “run you clever [girl] and remember…” as I finally drift to sleep.
I wake up, recalling the feeling of intelligence, but not much more. Was it all just a dream, or is there a lively fragment of brain left holding down the fort, too busy fighting off the zombie pieces to send me important messages when I need them, transmitting them only when the zombies settle down? Typing that, I think I have found my answer; I may have some imagination but intelligence does seem lost forever… That’s alright. I’ve come to terms with it. (I might have even realized it sooner if I had just listened to my sister, who has been telling me this for years.)
Most of the time, when I do sit down to write, blank space disappears. But as quickly as I type out my thoughts they disappear again, the backspace button eating up lengthy sentences, poor grammar, boring anecdotes, gibberish. I stare at blank pages and feel worse, knowing it’s not writer’s block that holds me back, but inability.
But truly, it’s not my wisdom or creativity that I am giving up on.
Recently, I began painting with watercolor, and it’s helped me to see that what I need to let go of is the idea of perfection. I overthink EVERYTHING, which results in DIY projects never making it past planning stages, a quieter voice during group conversations, deleted blog drafts, feelings of inadequacy and stress. When I finish with a painting, even though the mistakes are awfully obvious, I feel relaxed. I may not be left with something pretty, but it is always an improvement over an ugly blank page.
And look, I have no idea where I’m going with this post, because I’m tired and it’s almost time to start cooking dinner, but I’m going to publish it anyway, because I’ve decided to leave blank pages in the past.
I hope you all are filling up your pages, too.