My creativity has taken a major nosedive.
It’s hard to have room for creativity when there is so much other noise in my brain. Noise I can’t seem to turn off or even turn down.
Even now, as I sit down to write, producing a blog post seems like a have-to instead of a want-to. I’m trying to trust in the fact that I’ll get in the flow, that I’ll find the words, but my mind bounces to other things I have to do today, ways in which I want to say something later, ways in which I should have said something last week, how to solve all of the problems.
Even problems that aren’t mine, alone, to solve.
To use a perhaps tired analogy, we’re in a dumpster fire of a time in this country right now, and it seems all I have is a tiny little cup of water, like one of those glasses they give you with espresso in Europe, and I’m supposed to use to put out the fire AND drink in order to take care of myself.
But, you’ll tell me, I’m surrounded by others with cups of water and tiny little fire extinguishers, and if we all work together, we’ll have enough to put the fire out.
That’s very nice, and yes it’s true.
My anxious brain doesn’t believe you. It tells me it’s my responsibility, that I need to do more, and it certainly doesn’t feel safe enough to put that burden down for a moment and write.
I should be able to figure something out, to say the right thing, to change hearts and minds, to have everyone become anti-racist, to get everyone wear their masks, to make everyone happy.
A friend and I were commiserating together the other day, about the paradox that comes with this inflated sense of responsibility. On one hand, what a self-important hubris to think I’m THE person to solve the problem. The pressure is there, though, and it’s more about feeling a sense of failure if I don’t figure out a solution.
On the other hand, there is the imposter syndrome, that I’m a complete hack and not equipped to do the job and I’m just one little person with one little cup of water so why even bother trying, it’s all too hard.
So the pressure is a bully, reminding me that, no matter what, I am a failure.
And it tells me that what I AM doing isn’t enough.
And I’m always on the defensive. Even to myself.
No wonder my anxiety is at a high and I feel exhausted all the time.
My therapist says that I need to get so angry at the part of my brain that puts all this pressure on myself so I can fully let it go. That even if there’s a teeny little part of me that wants to hold onto it, I’ll default back to this negative self-talk.
I do get sad that it’s not as easy as saying, “I’ll just change my mindset and be more positive.” I get even more sad thinking there is a reason (even though it’s subconscious) that I am hanging onto this pressure for some reason. Maybe the reason isn’t so important, because it’s so baked into my identity that it becomes a fear of what letting go might mean for my identity.
I picture this “getting angry at it” as a moment of emotion, that I confront it in the kitchen, that I cry and throw plates and one of them hits it and it poof, dissolves.
Instead it’s a long, drawn-out breakup. One where it tries to tempt me back in despite my best intentions.
But I will leave.