I Am But I’m Not

I don’t know what to write anymore.

It’s not for a lack of inspiration or motivation. It’s simply, I do not know how to move forward.

It’s times like these where I say to myself, ‘Why did I choose this? Why did this choose me?’ and I hate every facet of it. I hate words and I hate sentences. I hate virtual ink on a virtual page. I end up hating myself.

I felt strange today. I couldn’t drive normally – almost made a bad left turn – and all music sounded like loopy, numb, calliope constructions. I couldn’t understand any of it or my surroundings. I couldn’t understand myself.

When I was little, I used to experience a different sort of strange I couldn’t put into words – it was a hypersensitive, hyper-realization of being alive. My eyes would wobble in their sockets; my limbs would go fuzzy, yet everything was clearer than it should’ve been. Life itself suddenly separated from me, as if it were a reversal of the traditional out-of-body experience. The effervescence of life, like a vortex, vacuumed back into me like a molecular explosion. My breaths would hitch in my throat. Smells catapulted my nose and tastes were exemplified, even the grubby hint of morning on my tongue.

It terrified me. Mostly because I thought it meant I was really supposed to be dead. As if it were a mistake that I was alive, and that this was a spiritual glitch in my life-force, an angry attack against me.

It still happens once in a blue moon. I’ll get an ‘attack’ and I’ve learned how to get through it. There’s no discernible reason for its cause, and no, there’s no name.

Today – today I almost willed for it to happen. I wanted so badly to cease to exist. Very quietly, like an alien abduction, a vaporized disintegration. I wanted so badly to seep back into the fabric of my seat, then the metal of the car, then the cement on the street. I wanted to flatten like a pancake and stay that way, always looking at the sun.

Or to float away. Red balloon. Float away like I let float away a ‘We Miss You!’ balloon to honor my grandfather’s death when I was little. My mother had told me it was headed for heaven.

I want to feel constellations in my grasp. I want to drift amongst planets and galactic explosions of light.

I fucking hate the greasy smack of Los Angeles, of any city, of this country. Sometimes I lean back and close my eyes and think about when I’ll go back to Paris under sweeter conditions. Sometimes I think I might live there forever and meet a nice man and have two kids and we’ll take walks to the cemetery under the bridge. I think about the perpetual Parisian dew in the air. The breads. Oh, the bread.

Sometimes I wish for everyone to feel this completely and utterly numb.

Just the other day, though, I cried in my car and it was the first time I’d cried in ages, and I laughed through tears because it was a miraculous thing I should cry again, really cry. And now all I want is to cry.

I start and I stop. I write and I trash.

I am but I’m not.

13 thoughts on “I Am But I’m Not

  1. Hey Miss Jeff, I can relate with a lot of what you are writing there, even if I’m much older than you. Your Parisian dream particularly gave me chills, since I also have similar feeling for the city of light. My best friend bought me tickets so I can go meet him there next year. He knows how I feel about Paris. He’s my best friend after all.
    Let me share something about my personal background. I used to work in a disgusting job in Brazil and Canada was looking for immigrants. I applied and got my Canadian green card. I moved to Montreal in 2009. It was my chance to start from scratch, rediscover myself. I considered tons of things, even Physics! Then I started to work in a shelter for homeless people in graveyard shifts. Nights were long and sometimes nothing happened. I started having ideas and instead of writing them down as prose I wrote them as a stageplay (A little flashback: I wrote a novel when I was 17 and got it published. Stopped writing for years and then I wrote a second novel inspired on a friend of mine. She stopped talking to me after she read it so I promised that I would never write prose again.). I got the itch. I used my savings to try my dream. At some point I ran out of my savings and had to move back to Brazil, where I continued to write until my family got sick of the bum in the house. I managed to land some financial help to move back to Canada. Some weeks ago I started in a call centre company and then after a while they fired me without explanations (they only said that I wasn’t the right fit for them and explanations would be in a letter that just repeated that I wasn’t the right fit). I was devastated. I drank my ass off for three days until I got a call from Air Canada for another job interview. Now I’m waiting for the next stages of the Air Canada selection process. I have no idea how to pay for next month’s rent and have no energies to keep looking for other jobs. I just decided that I will get this Air Canada job at some point so now I’m writing. A drama this time. About a man with two kids who loses his wife.
    You just wrote such a beautiful post there, you can argue anything except that you don’t have the juice right now to write something beautiful. If you don’t know what let me know and we can workshop ideas or something on gtalk. My only advice is: if you are gonna drift, drift through your writing.

    • This was a great comment – I also thought I could fund my dreams until they came true, and it never seems to work out that way for us 99%. It’ll happen, just not today. Lots of stress these days.

      I’m glad you thought this was beautiful, though.

  2. Sounds like you’re in a place to do some really amazing growth as a writer and person. If this is in fact truth and not fiction, you’re experiencing a hyper-reality that will only heighten your filter and senses to enhance your work. Record all of your thoughts and feelings during this time as you’ll want to refer to them as the basis for am amazing character in a novel or screenplay.

    • It IS a great time for growth. That’s what’s so ironically painful about this – I’m completely down on myself, yet I feel a resurgence in me, a strength I can’t describe, that’s ready to bust out when the time is right. I feel as if I’m waiting to either fail big time, or win big time and nothing in between.

      And yes, I will be looking back on this blog in the future when I need material – it’s been great to record my journey thus far!

  3. It’s a terrible time when you’re confused and full of self doubt. This isn’t going to be a lecture with the famous, “hey it happens to all of us, you’ll get through it”. We hear that over and over, but just because we all go through it, it doesn’t make it any easier. Everyone dies, 100% of the people you know right now will die, but when they do, it won’t make it easy just because it happens to all of us. It’s a terrible overused excuse, that people use you when they want to help you, but don’t know what to say.

    You’re in a terrible rut, don’t know where to go, and you’re starting to doubt yourself. The worse kind of doubt is self-doubt (is there a hyphen? I don’t know, I’m an engineer not a writer). A bully can throw insults and put you down, but he can only hurt you if he’s standing next to you. Self-doubt follows you, it goes home with you, it sits at the back of your mind while you eat, shower, read, write and if it’s bad enough while you sleep. But you should be doubting yourself though. It show’s your thinking; I think in the case that you don’t doubt yourself you should worry. All people doubt themselves, and then there are the ones who believe it and as a result do nothing with their lives. Then there are those who believe it, don’t care, stick to their guns, power through and eventually make it through.

    I’m trying to reach out, because I know exactly what you’re talking about. That feeling of confusion, and not knowing where to even aim when you take your next step. The doubt is the worse part. 5 years in engineering school, constant self doubt. I’d look at numbers and get frustrated, my calculator angered me, symbols and equations angered me, I didn’t even like looking at my engineering friends because it reminded me of homework and tests. People say “well you made it through”… they’re right, but it was equivalent to me running through a dense rose bush forest. I pushed my way through, but left scraped and battered by thorns.

    I hope this helps, I read that last post and when I finished reading I was so depressed. You’re a talented writer. You post something, and I actually want to read it. I have a reading attention span of 4 lines. That means I read 4 lines, and my mind begins drifting, but it doesn’t with your work. Like anything there are rules. Only this year did I learn there are some rules to good writing (don’t blame me, I don’t read long enough to learn these things). As you’ve said in your past posts there is always a set of rules and guidelines you personally follow when writing. Stick with them, follow them and something will come out of it. It will lead you somewhere… and bounce some ideas off that guy 2 posts away!

    • I loved reading this. I loved knowing that someone who deals with numbers – something I usually consider a very strict, black and white thing – can relate to what I’ve been going through. Just goes to show we’re all human and we all go through transcendent experiences. Numbers, words, music – it affects us all differently, yet with one and the same pain.

      Thank you for this comment, and I’m so glad you enjoy what I write! 🙂

  4. Gorgeous writing. LJ, when I feel like this I do the following 1) make sure I am not having a seizure 2) write 3) nap 4) write 5) drink and 6) re-read this Pearl Buck quote over and over: “The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him… a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create — so that
    without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.” http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/31946-the-truly-creative-mind-in-any-field-is-no-more

  5. Beautifully said. Something to consider: Henri Nouwen writes in “The Wounded Healer” about being able to help others only after having walked a particular path yourself. Perhaps part of your going through this will be meaningful in the future, when your voice is the only one heard by someone who desperately needs to hear it at a time when he’s going through exactly the same thing. Knowing your pain/awkwardness/discomfort will benefit someone down the road is rarely a comforting thought at the time. Bit I offer it only as a consolation prize. That, and the compliment of your ability to articulate your situation so well.

    • That’s exactly how I’m trying to digest all of this – knowing that somehow, somewhere, someone is relating to this and sees my words as truth in their own way. That’s all I can do. That’s all I can offer sometimes.

  6. Pingback: Look At You – A Response to Myself | LAURJEFF WRITES

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