Posted by: GeekHiker | May 16, 2013

Rambling To Excess

When it comes to time-frames and expectations, television and movies have ruined me.

Maybe they’ve ruined you, too.

It’s been a couple of weeks since the last “deep” post, wherein I wrapped up my little tale of Dublin.  Not a whole lot has happened in the intervening time.  Mostly I’m still just going day-to-day, applying for various positions, frustrated at the whole job search thing.  Truthfully, the search was going better back in December, but since the sequester kicked in I’ve seen businesses pull back in hiring.  I’ve never been particularly political here, not having any desire for flame wars on my blog (though in real life, I rather enjoy a good political debate), so I’ll just say that the effect of the sequester on the hiring market is bloody frustrating.

Anyway…

Am I feeling better since I wrote about Dublin?  I’d have to answer that question with a “yes.”  But only marginally, incrementally.  Now, that isn’t a bad thing, but I find myself unhappy about it, and I think that’s where TV and movies have messed with my head.

When 1Cent was here, we went to see “Silver Linings Playbook“.  As the credits rolled, we chatted about what we thought about the film.  “Well,” I said, “it got where it was going, but it certainly took a while to get there.”

That wasn’t meant as a huge criticism.  Overall, I liked the movie, even though I thought that the mid-section dragged a bit.  Thinking back on what I said now, though, I find I’m reflecting on the fact that big life changes don’t happen very quickly, and certainly not within the two-hour time frame of a movie, the one-hour time frame of a TV drama, or the 30-minute time-frame of a sitcom.  Yet, there I was, off-put because the changes the characters were going through in the film’s timeline were taking too long.

It kinda makes me wonder if it all hasn’t warped my feeling about where I am now because, although I feel marginally better about things since having written about Dublin, all the way to the point of starting to look at pictures from the trip and digging out the books & brochures I collected and considering writing travel posts, I’m feeling impatient that I’m not feeling better faster.  It’s as though I want to wake up one morning, feel full of energy and inspired, and sit down and write about a year’s worth of travel for 12 hours a day.  And send out a dozen applications.  And get back out hiking.  And pick up the camera again.

Not that I would expect to do that all in one day.  I just want to wake up wanting to, feeling motivated to.

(As a side note, I’m pretty sure this means I’m never meant to be an author.  If I were truly meant to be an author and write the great American novel or whatever, I’d feel a burning pressure to write, no matter what.  Instead, I’m finding it difficult to sit down and write because I’m still looking for work.  If someone said they were going to pay me to write a piece (I’ll pause for a moment here while any real authors reading this laugh uproariously), then I’m sure I’d buckle down and do it because a check would be waiting for me on the other side.  Nobody starts out as a writer with paid book advances; they write because they have an internal need to fulfill, because they have to, because it’s their passion, not because they expect it to pay the bills (not right away, at least).  Frankly, finding any position to pay the bills is more important to me than writing at the moment. An author, I think, I am not.)

So I’m feeling marginally “up”, I suppose, but wishing I felt more so.  I want the big dramatic moment (with sweeping musical cue, natch) where everything is better and the end credits roll.  Of course, that’s not going to happen, because life’s problems don’t get solved in two hours.

Those who know me well will remind me that I am, once again, being too hard on myself.  And I probably am.  Although I was initially dismissive of the idea of PTSD, unwilling to consider what happened to me to be anything remotely like what servicemen go through on a daily basis for months at a time in war zones, military veteran “me” of More Blitherings and I exchanged a number of emails in which he told me not to be so quick to dismiss the idea.  One thing that he said that particularly struck me was “Your experience to me is so much more shocking, and from my perspective should be so much more…  traumatic emotionally, and maybe a trigger for PTSD because you weren’t prepared.  As you said, you weren’t were you weren’t supposed to be, out looking for trouble.  We were, and we weren’t surprised when we found it.  And we were a built in support group for one another.”  That really made me think, because if you’re not in a war zone, you can’t be in fear of everything all the time… but it also means that when the unexpectedly bad happens, you’re not as mentally prepared for it.

It’s a lot to consider.

At least I’m not alone in feeling a bit down, which I find oddly comforting.  Blog friend LeafProbably (who I had the pleasure of meeting last year) wrote beautifully about this sort of thing today.  And, of course, there was the post by Hyperbole and a Half that made the rounds on the internet last week.  (Sidebar: is it strange that I found myself oddly jealous of her getting thousands of comments after having not blogged for months?  Perhaps I should start adding cute-but-crude drawings of things to my posts, rather than the silly pretty pictures I’ve been using…)

I have no idea if there’s a moral here.  Maybe I just need to keep reminding myself that life isn’t a movie and that improvement, such as it is, isn’t going to come in a sudden moment ten minutes before the picture fades to black.  And that that’s okay.  So, I’ll just keep getting up and searching for work, and trying to figure out some way to start attacking the massive number (as in, quite literally, thousands and thousands) of pictures I took.  Anybody wanna buy me a copy of LightRoom?

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Responses

  1. I was just having this conversation with someone else who was feeling melancholy during a bad period. There’s this sense of impatience, a “hurry UP already” — I mean, who wants to be in the place of suck? But I really think wrapping your head around something mentally is kinda like the physical — if you’d, say, had a deep gash, however long it took to heal, it takes. You can’t will your body to fix itself at your convenience, everything happens slowly in its own time.

    I disagree with the writing notion though. Maybe it’s hard to want to write when other anxieties are pressing — I know my creativity suffers when pressured and I can’t relax, but I still think you’re a writer and can do awesome things even with material you already have here from your blog. I think writing is like exercising or brushing your teeth. Sometimes you crave it but usually it’s a habit that has to be established. Lots of great writers have said that they’ve forced themselves to write even when they didn’t want to. And output wasn’t always worthy stuff, but it was the act of doing itself that mattered because it kept the channel open to that special place.

    • I agree with what your saying. Still, the actual physical, literal deep gash healed much faster, and I would have preferred that speed!

  2. I pretty much agree with spleeness regarding writing: it’s really freakin’ hard to get in the head-space to write just-because when you’re in survival mode. A coupla’ years ago I went through a sustained period of unemployment and the amount of energy it took just to corral my anxiety pretty much zapped any ambition beyond getajobgetajobgetajob and getthroughtheday.

    You’ve got a lot going on—recovery from trauma, reintegration to “regular” life after a world tour, a long-distance relationship, job search—so t’ain’t no surprise that you’re not in the groove you want to be in. Ease up on yerseff!

    • LOL – are any of us as good at easing up on ourselves as everyone wants us to be? 😉

  3. It’s completely frustrating to have survived a traumatic experience only to feel like your body and mind have completely betrayed you by continuing to freak out about it. Normal can’t come soon enough, right?

    The fact you want to feel normal is a great step forward. Be patient with yourself. The very best thing you can do for yourself is to take good care of your health and maintain your friendships, even when you’re not feeling at your best and everything they say sounds insignificant and stupid.

    Most of the writers I follow put off writing until deadline time, drink an entire bottle of wine and then finally write. I don’t recommend drinking an entire bottle of wine. 😉

    • It’s not just feeling normal; I need a job to pay the bills too!

      • Job, schmob. 😉 I get it.

  4. I think it’s really hard and strange to come back from a trip around the world and just go back to normal life, fully motivated and even-keel. Throw in a situation like your Dublin one and things get even more complicated. I was only in Europe 6 weeks in 2009 and it took me months to feel like I really had my footing again (and I had a job). I was all spun out and depressed. And if you do have PTSD, that of course would throw everything eve further out of whack.

    I think sometimes you have to just fake it ’til you make it. Start going through the motions until your emotions and passion catches up.

    Movies do distort the way we think about life. (Although I didn’t think Silver Linings lived up to the hype either). I think in real life, it’s more likely that we slowly reach a new stage and don’t even realize it’s happening until one day we wake up and realize we haven’t thought about whatever the thing that was bugging us was in a long time.

    In the meantime, drink beer and eat ice cream. That for sure helps. 😉

    • Well, I’m faking it, but I’m not sure I’m making it…

      Haven’t yet tried the beer float theory yet, though…

  5. It must be the spring thing — seems a lot of people are feeling depressed (or something)! 🙂

    I thought of you the other day when I heard this story: http://www.prx.org/pieces/90132-1312-ptsd-lost-art-and-the-berlin-wall-5-7-201 (click on “segment 1”). He went through it — it took time but had a happy ending — I hope one day you will look back and realize that enough time has passed and you’ve made a lot of progress since then.

    You are a great writer — you just need to decide if you want to be a “professional” writer, but bear in mind that even professional writers agonize and procrastinate.

    Starting to go through your photos is an excellent start. Maybe the snapshots will remind you of all the good things that happened to you on this trip and motivate you to start writing the travel posts that we are all eagerly waiting for! 🙂

    • I doubt I’ll ever be a professional writer, but I don’t think it has anything to do with writing quality. It’s more that I’m just not very good at self-selling!

  6. Not being alone when you’re feeling down is kind of awesome. And I’m lovnig the internet, because pretty much everywhere you turn you’re reminded ‘not alone. nope, still not alone, oh look, theres another one, definitely not alone.’
    that’s super comforting because if all of those other people can get through it, then so can we.
    Plus there’s a huge wealth of support and knowledge out there. Also badassery, because I’m a fan of that.

    • Aw, man, I wish you lived just slightly closer so we could grab a beer!

  7. If it helps, I’m working my way through a major period of the blahs and my writing is suffering too and I don’t have any of the things you have on your plate. AS we are all saying: You are not alone and we will get through this together.

    • Good advice. Thanks, HD. 🙂


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