Holy crap, have I had a lot going on lately. I am so pleased to have a full studio of piano and composition students, and I just heard I'll have my old job back when it's time. The weather is getting better, so I'm able to see more friends outside and have a social life (though I'm certain that I am more awkward than before). I can't believe how busy I feel, and I made the very conscious decision years ago that no way, no how, was I ever going to have kids. Nothing against kids; I'm just selfish with my time. (Shout out to all of those parenting in a pandemic.)
With the newfound business comes anxiety, and I realized throughout the course of the pandemic that my anxiety is much worse than I thought it was. I spend afternoons wondering why my hands are shaking and nights staring at my bedroom ceiling, fighting the urge to fidget on my phone. Sometimes it all accumulates and crashes on me the moment I let my guard down. You know the times: the perfect afternoon days, the deliberate once-weekly clearing of the schedule. It's like my brain knows when I'll have the space to have a panic attack. Thanks, buddy.
Even conversations seem more stressful now. Maybe that's why I have been spending more time with writing lately. It's almost a way of experiencing dialogue, but with myself. And I'm always safe with myself during these talks. I can hit delete, I can back up content that I want to have forever (those who know me well know that I have an awful memory from my PTSD) and I can be truly honest, fearlessly, because I can call it art. That's a pretty cool space to occupy.
Speaking of mental illness (woohoo! That's going to be a common thing in these posts. Sorry/not sorry) I came to a realization while working on my latest book two days ago. I won't share too much of the story, as I like to keep my creative cards close to my chest until it's time to play, but it's about the nuances of a romantic relationship. As I was trying to discover more about one of my characters, I wrote "the little hurts create the big hurt" on my whiteboard, which is actually a purple board. I don't know where it came from; it just popped in my head, and was entirely in the context of the story I'm trying to tell. Then, I realized that little brain blurt was true about real life too. I am diagnosed with complex-PTSD, which means prolonged bouts of trauma, lots of isolated traumatic events, or in my case, a little of both.
I regularly get frustrated with my brain and my body. Why does it react that way? Why does it become incapacitated at times? Why can't I make it feel better? I can't put my finger on an isolated incident, but I know now that little hurts create the big hurt. I am sure that many of you can relate, whether or not you have PTSD. Relationships end because there are enough little hurts to terminate them, right? Enough mean kids tease you on the playground and you develop a mistrust of your peers. I can think of a plethora of examples.
So perhaps the big hurt is healed at the root: the little hurts. I'm trying to isolate all of the painful minutia of my life, rather than focus on the major ones (assault, abusive relationship, etc.) and that's been interesting. I'm thinking of the friend who didn't pick up during the bad relationship, or the colleague who made a comment on my physical appearance after the assault.
I don't know if it's going to work, but it's certainly a fascinating experiment thus far. I'll keep it up. Oh, and I have a few thank you notes to write to my fictional characters.
Until, tomorrow, stay well, stay safe, and stay kind.
P.S - Have you listened to Animal yet? It's all about this s***.