Posted by: beansai | April 28, 2009

Lockdown

     I have been on mental and (primarily) emotional lockdown these past few months. As I try to push beyond this mental barrier I have raised against myself and everyone else, my mind pushes back – pushes against the desire to unleash, to let go. It doesn’t take much to deter myself from my goal. I know exactly what to think to make myself cringe and step away from the chink in the brick wall. This isn’t writer’s block – I can feel the store of information swelling behind the barrier, thoughts dammed together, waiting to spill over. I simply won’t let them, but I can’t bring myself to truly be angry either. So how do you get beyond a hurt that permeates into all your other thoughts until your mind draws a line beyond which you can no longer dwell without the wretched onslaught of anguish? This sounds like hyperbole, doesn’t it? I wish it were.

     I extracted myself from an unpleasant circumstance, hoping that the change in environment would allow my frame of mind to recuperate and move beyond. It has been a couple of weeks, but I still can’t bring myself to simply think of some things, much less speak of them. I know I should, I know I need to. I know that would help in the long run, but I just can’t. Even the slightest probing into this pool of thought results in an emotional pain that is nearly physical (and sometimes is). That being the case, my poetry writing has been severely handicapped. While I wish it was easy to write detached poetry (or even prose), it isn’t. It doesn’t matter if I am writing a political poem, or on a topic unconcerned with my personal life – writing still requires me to put something of myself into it. I have to think not only from outside myself, but from inside as well. Does that make any sense? I have to think in multiples when I write – in multiples of self (my better self, my darker self, my self as I am aware and unaware of, etc.), as well as in the multiples outside of the self. So it doesn’t matter what subject I choose to write about, because they all need me to cross that line, to cross into a territory that I can’t access at the moment.

     This battle between the creative urge and self-preservation has been hard. Writing is usually a relief, a place I can go to and say whatever the hell I want, then tuck it away to never be seen again or re-evaluate later. I want that relief very badly, but I can’t seem to make it to the page. I lose control over my thoughts before the beginnings of a poem have even been grasped and then it’s all downhill from there. When I try to unlock a small portion of thought, tangents leak through and eventually overwhelm. This is quickly followed by another mental lockdown. My brain retaliates by immediately staunching the flow and going off on a benign tangent. In the middle of emotional upheaval I’m suddenly calm as the contents of a recently read book or watched movie consume my thoughts. I find myself back in a safe zone, but there is no true relief here. I know my mind is trying to protect itself. I’ve always been passive, so this duck and run technique isn’t that surprising. And it is extraordinarily frustrating to be able to see myself from the sort of detached perspective (how else could I talk about all this (even if it is in vague, imprecise language)?).

     I’m just trying to write and read and hoping that at some point I’ll be able to move beyond. Even toeing the line as I’ve been doing this entire post is giving me a headache and drawing the pinch of skin between my eyebrows tighter and tighter. I suppose the best I can do is to just keep trying. Hopefully reading poetry and listening to music and such will help loosen the ties in my mind as well as spending time with close friends.

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