Sunday, February 10, 2008

Down By The Water

Long ago, in my last blog post, I wrote that sometimes you're standing on a cliff, paralyzed by the fear of falling, and all you really can do is jump. It's true. Sometimes it's the only right thing to do, not because the ending is assured or the world at the top dangerous, but because you know there are places you have to go and there are no maps and in the end fear is the worst possible law to live by. So you jump.

And sometimes, it was the wrong cliff. You can't really know, sometimes, until you're lying broken and aching on some rocks you just know weren't there before. You can't really know until you've seen what's at the bottom up close. And so I find myself, lying here, wondering how such a pretty cliff could lead me to such a jagged place. These are the hardest things to blog about. This is one of the reasons why this blog has gone so quiet. It's very difficult for me to admit to pain and confusion, difficult to blog about the causes when I try to remain anonymous, even more difficult because, for all the truths I do not tell here, I am incapable of lying under the cloak of anonymity this space provides. And really, there's just no way to avoid feeling lame when you jump and the fall is not at all what you expected. Who wants to talk about being lame?

Not me. I don't enjoy talking about it, nor do I enjoy feeling it. And yet there it is. The fall is hard. I'm unsure of where I've landed. I am, in fact, lying here in pain and confusion, brought on by more than just the trauma of the fall. Somehow, when a jump leads you to an unexpected place, new fears arise. The fear of getting up, the fear of the climb back to the top, the fear of all the things that made the jump wrong. And so as I move through my days right now, I seem to be vascillating between two moods: A sort of horrible, clingy sadness and The West Wing.

As you can imagine, The West Wing is the mood of choice. God bless writer Aaron Sorkin, god bless TV on DVD, god bless my new MacBook and its happy, shiny screen that brings the show to me in technicolor. I've seen it all before, but that's ok. I need it right now.

The show, is of course, brilliant. Astounding in its cogent commentary and with characters so real you're sure that if they were in charge, we'd stand a fighting chance, the show is just engaging enough to let me cry without forcing sentiment. Aaron Sorkin isn't afraid of metaphor and poetry, and since metaphor is my favorite coping mechanism, he speaks my language. In a season one episode, one character tells the president that his demons are shouting down his better angels, and I suddenly can visualize it, too. It's a pitched battle with my better angels fighting fiercely, hair clinging to their grimy faces, robes torn and arms bloody. My demons are all fire and unsure footing. I imagine I have to get up and get dressed and eat breakfast so that my better angels have a fighting chance. (Though I admit that I occasionally feel bad for my demons, who are so damaged and seductive and mean-spirited that I am sure that they'd benefit from a nice bowl of soup.)

Right now, the war being waged is just loud enough that I can hear very little else. It makes dissertation writing next to impossible and blog-posting, as you can see, full of the sort of melodramatic and self-pitying emotion that makes even my better angels snarl in disgust. So I watch The West Wing. I watch episode after episode and try not to think about much at all. But things sneak in and I find myself relating to the drama and the struggle. I watch when a reporter asks the press secretary if there is water over her head. No, she says. The water, she says, is exactly at my head. I nod and nod and think yes. So I'm posting today to say that I haven't abandoned this half acre. I have not drowned. But I'm feeling battered, so I'm just going to lie here for a while on these rocks where the water is exactly at my head.

4 Comments:

Blogger O'Donovan said...

> It's a pitched battle with my better angels fighting fiercely, hair clinging to their grimy faces, robes torn and arms bloody. My demons are all fire and unsure footing. I imagine I have to get up and get dressed and eat breakfast so that my better angels have a fighting chance. (Though I admit that I occasionally feel bad for my demons, who are so damaged and seductive and mean-spirited that I am sure that they'd benefit from a nice bowl of soup.)

Thank you for that. It makes me think I'm OK, and if just reading it makes me so sure of it, then surely you are OK, too.

3:54 PM  
Blogger EA said...

So beautifully put, and having spent the last month in a pitched battle of my own, I relate strongly. I am currently lying on my own set of rocks.

Also, can't say how much I appreciated West Wing while it was on TV.

6:39 AM  
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8:26 PM  
Blogger Scrivener said...

I'm sorry to read of your painful fall, but also thankful for this post. I can't help but read this post and think of my own cliff diving. From this latest round of jumping off a cliff, I've been falling, and hitting on the jagged rocks, and falling some more for almost a year now. I hadn't considered The West Wing as a balm, though now that you mention it, good idea. I've been rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Be well.

11:55 AM  

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