Writer’s block is a terrible condition. It makes you sniff your nails and try to clean them if they smell off. Distract yourself by watching random music videos. Scratch your hair. Adjust your glasses 531 times. Pick at your temporary tattoo. Pick up hair from the carpet one strand at a time. Fold 1,000 paper cranes. Wait…I don’t think I’m quite at a thousand…
Clean your pencil sharpener. Check Facebook and Twitter. Take out the trash. Fill in your planner for next week. Floss your teeth. Shower.
And then it chases you back to your seat where butt + chair = write.
The feeling of exhaustion consumes me, like imagining what drowning would be like, only without the euphoria. I know how I got here, too, but I can’t even admit it out loud for fear it becomes reality, even though it is my reality.
Perfectionism is a beast you can’t defeat. It rides on your back and keeps your head facing the screen. You must impress the high-brows or else. You must type the right words or enter the right numbers. You must must. Your heart dances, but not in a good way. It wants to grow a pair of legs and run away.
Run away to somewhere it feels safe to be itself. Somewhere no harm can come to it and nothing can tell it to stay in one place, musting into infinity. In this place there’s no beyond. There’s only Groundhog Day.
The days blend together and it’s hard to tell if you’ve been through the trenches already or it’s only just starting. All you know is the feeling of exhaustion.
Sometimes I take a long time to finish reading a book not because it’s not good, but because I don’t want to lose time I get to spend with the characters. I know, sounds silly. Like crazy writer talk. You would think dragging out the story that long would mean I would spend less time with the characters, but dragging it out like that makes me feel like I’m spending more time with them. You see, as long as I haven’t finished the book I can keep thinking about the characters and imagining what they’re going through. Once I finish the book, my time with them is done. Reading to the last page is like shutting the world where my new favorite characters reside and never being able to reach inside that black top hat again.
I had heard of belly dancing while I was at university, but heard of it was the sole extent of my involvement with this type of Egyptian dance. I really had no idea what exactly it was until last summer when I had the opportunity to go with this girl who goes regularly to watch belly dancing at Uptown Arts Bar in KC. Every first Saturday of the month there’s this Arabian nights show at the bar where you can get in with a small cover charge and enjoy whatever you normally get at a bar. That particular night I made a new girl friend, enjoyed a cherry limeade kind of drink that had tequila in it, and learned how to belly dance. Yes, I got called on stage at the end of the show and learned a basic dance move called “pop the car door.” It was amusing and thankfully it’s a small stage so I didn’t get stage fright and I was up there with a bunch of other girls so it was nice to feel like another one in the crowd, learning something new. The first time I had tequila and it allowed me to enjoy watching belly dance in all different body types. I had thought in order to belly dance you had to be one certain body type, but boy was I wrong and I’m glad. Anyone can learn how to belly dance and my favorite was watching this one girl dance to this death metal sounding tune whilst balancing a giant sword on her head. I definitely never imagined I’d witness something like that. I don’t know. These kind of events are hard to describe. You really had to be there. I enjoy going out and trying new things.
You died today. I know nothing about you except that your mother must have accompanied you to every lesson and written down everything you were doing wrong. She smiled at your teacher and then as soon as you were alone with her at home the stern look would make an appearance and everything written down would fly off the page and onto your face, leaving you wondering why someone who doesn’t even know how to hold the bow right could believe she’s good at everything, including this. I know you must have practiced ten hours a day or maybe it was two hours every night after school and then work before joining such a prestigious orchestra. That must have been the most nerve-wracking audition of your life, but at least one where you didn’t feel like you had to tell anyone what they wanted to hear about how your audition went because it was all the truth. Your truth. And you were finally ready to tell it. That’s why LA Phil let you in. Your father must have never supported your dream which only made you practice harder, not so much to prove him wrong as so much not wanting to end up like him, skeptical of anything and anyone that didn’t have to do with his immediate family. LA Phil headlines are still here. You died, but your dream stays alive.
I understood that you liked girls in the same way you liked guys so I never judged you for the way you looked at my chest. Because I knew that is part of the girl you were. And I accepted you that way. Trust me, we wouldn’t have gotten along so well as friends if I didn’t understand you. I hope you understand me too and maybe you’re still like that now, but I guess I won’t ever find out now beyond some Facebook updates. I should have tried to figure this out back then. Not that we hate each other now or anything. We’re just far away and have too much time in between us and the last time we saw each other. I won’t forget you. You taught me one important fact and it’s still true to this day though I don’t like telling a lot of people for fear of coming across conceited. I’m not even sure where this fear is coming from, like I really have a lot of things to make me conceited. There are so many much more talented people out there than me. I am but a leaf of grass, like Walt Whitman would say. It’s safe to say I never forget anyone who teaches me a lesson.
But now that I think of it, we had a lot in common. I suppose there was some mutual understanding, but people can change. I suppose you’ve changed. I can sense it from your Facebook updates. You are more calm, more centered, and most of all, more into animals and crafts. You took on a practical job to make a living instead of living a make. I’m over here living a make and wondering if I made the right path choices. I’m happy, but every now and then I think of the way you used to look at my chest and I remember what you said to me that made going to the same school leading to different futures make sense.
Hilary Duff is not exactly mesmerizing like Lindsay Lohan. But her Greta character really pulled me in. I don’t remember ever being as obvious as her when I was 16, but once again, I can relate to how she feels in a world “According to Greta.” I think Greta works for Hilary Duff because she’s so opposite of Lizzie McGuire and you don’t expect Hilary Duff to play someone like Greta. When you have low expectations, results turn out better. I didn’t expect her to play someone so troubled she wants to kill herself, so when she did it well, I really appreciated her performance as the work of art it was. Her clothes, her hair, her make-up, and her attitude all came together nicely to play a convincing suicidal girl. There was more to her character than just a girl contemplating ending her life. Those thoughts rarely come from nothing. When you find out more about her life, you begin to get inside her head, but at the same time feel bad for her. It’s funny both Lindsay Lohan and Hilary Duff ended up in movies with moms and grandmoms who send unruly daughters away to deal with their rebellious teenaged girls. Greta writes in a notebook and I immediately gravitate towards anyone who does that. Her thoughts she shares makes her accessible in a way you can understand her. The story itself delivers a good message: suicide affects those around you the most. People can only try to save you so much. If you kill yourself you hurt the people who love you the most. In the end only you can save you. Besides worrying about you, the people that love you have a lot of their own troubles to worry about. It’s not necessary to make others prove to you that they care about you by risking their lives to save you. Oh, and one more thing. If I had Greta as my waitress, I would request to be seated in her section every time as well.