Off-week

First things first: Bleeeeaaaaarrrrrghhhhhhh.

Good; that’s out of the way.

I’ve been so “off” lately. I’m sure it’s just the normal creative cycle (not to mention other cycles), and probably last week’s heat wave too, but I’ve just been feeling so bored with everything: tired of my writing, tired of my paintings, tired of/in my body, and most of all tired of my thoughts. Basically I’m just sick of being in my own head all the time. Wouldn’t it be more fun to be in someone else’s for awhile?*

I’ve felt this way before, so I know the feeling comes and goes, but it sure is debilitating while it lasts. I try to fend it off, but when I’m in the midst of it, nothing — no matter how delightful — keeps it at bay for long. Actually, since last Friday I’ve gone to a Greek culture festival,

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a wonderful party with dancing and singing and old friends and new friends and three kinds of dessert, a tea lunch with old friends at a ridiculously charming Taiwanese restaurant that served lobster risotto as well as braised pig ear (not pictured!),

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and a poetry reading by my talented friend Indira (who is a thousand times more beautiful than my sketches of her).

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I’ve also tried giving into the blah feeling, which is in some sense easier, but ultimately it makes things worse. I have been spending such a disgraceful amount of time on my latest favorite iPad game that this morning I was very stern with myself and wrote at the top of my to-do list TODAY I AM PRACTICING IMPULSE CONTROL.**

It’s not that I’ve done nothing during this period of bleaarrghhh. I made a painting, and I didn’t like it; I think I’m tired of painting realistic flowers and I can’t seem to be able to paint abstract ones.

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I also set up a Meetup group for fellow non-9-to-5-ers, but until it has more members, there is not much help to be found there. I’m excited about it, though.

I would love to go out for a really long walk and explore a new corner of Oakland, but I did something to my left ankle yesterday (the one I’ve sprained twice now), so that’s out.***

On a day like this, if I didn’t live with Erik (who is the soul of rationality), I could really see myself painting the apartment magenta and chartreuse just for the hell of it. What do you think: magenta with chartreuse moldings?

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Or chartreuse with magenta?

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They both look pretty bad, don’t they? *sigh* I suppose parents train their kids in caution just to protect against such moods as these. Thanks to the gravity of long-held habits, there is only so much rebelling I can do… hence the appalling Photoshop job!

I’ve mused on past off-days (or -weeks) that the only thing that seems to help get me out of them is to just go through the motions until I get back on track: to work a bit, and rest a bit, to exercise a healthy dose of impulse control, coupled with justified rewards. It’s much like caring for this stiff ankle of mine; movement feels frustratingly slow, but it’s better than racing ahead into a dramatic fall and further injury. And in spite of the leisurely tempo, progress does happen, and the satisfaction of that is its own medicine.

Sometimes I wonder if some of us are just built to careen through life, hugging the verges, whereas other people are more like Erik — steady.**** Often I feel like he moves through life at the center of the emotional/productive graph while I bounce nearer the extremes. When I’ve been really happy and excited, I’ve gotten exasperated with him for not sharing my squealing glee, but when everything I do feels desperately futile, I rely on his calm perspective. Would I find life more boring if I were of a steadier turn of mind? Or would I be more productive?

Again, a moot question (like trading brains), since these things can only be as they are!

—–

*Actually, I think not; I suspect it would be deeply unnerving, and once I’d done it, I’d never be able to undo the experience. But the walls of my own brain grow tedious. Maybe being in an animal’s head would be nice? A safe animal, not one constantly fearing for its life? But not Lyapa, because I live with her and if her thoughts disturbed me I would always be looking at her and wondering…

**This has worked really well today, but I don’t think it’s because I wrote it that I’m doing it; I think it’s that I was already in a ready state to turn things around that I even thought to write that in the first place. In rereading old posts about off-days I recognize I am having this kind of a day.

***Or, rather — alas! — not out.

****And as everyone knows who knows Erik, “steady” is not — in this case — a euphemism for anything less than stellar.

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12 responses to “Off-week

  1. I felt like that last week. I think it does have to do somewhat with certain *ahem* cycles you mentioned. Just remember that like all cycles, this one will pass and you’ll be on to your next thing soon enough. Just get through this one for now! 🙂

    • Good to know it’s not just me. ;b And thank you for the encouragement. 🙂 I’m replying more than a week later but I did read your comment and the time and it made me feel better!

  2. I’m having an off-two-months. The only thing that’s kept me somewhat afloat was my figure drawing class, which just ended. 😛

    I sympathize! It’s not fun to be floating where you are, even if you know it’s temporary.

    • Ack 😐 Well, changes! Sounds like things are shifting momentously over at yours! Hope you find another grounding activity soon, whether it’s more figure drawing or something entirely different.

  3. Argh I hate that feeling of blah-ness. I get this now and then with work especially when it threatens to overwhelm me or take over my life with “busy”

    • (Oops) I meant, with “busy” work that I don’t give a hoot about. Adobe Photoshop is a handy tool here for letting you exercise your frustration/ creativity 😉

    • Yes it’s such a damper! And busywork, ugh. I don’t know if you find this with your work, but it always amazes me that during an off-week I can be doing a lot of the same activity as during an on-week, and yet it all feels horrid instead of fine.

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