Thursday, January 22, 2009


I’ve always wanted to be one of those calm blue people, the kind whose stillness you can feel through the tips of their fingers when they rest their hands on your back. They’re always doing things like that, patting the top of your tangled head or giving your shoulders a little tease of a massage. When I come across those people, (Lily! Molly! Mara! Brett!) I want to fold them up and stuff them into my pocket. I want to thank them for counterbalancing all of the shit I put out into the world.

I’m the subway rider who wants you to move your fucking bag so that no part of it touches my arm. I’m the line-waiter behind you sighing and shifting while you pay with exact change. It’s terrible, I know! It’s terrible for me too! To feel like the breath I take is never deep enough and I’m spreading the tightness in my chest to strangers like it’s an STD.

Okay, here’s the point. Last night, I was riding in a cab to a panel called “How to be a Professional Writer, Create Community and Still Pay Your Rent.” Here are some of fears I was turning over in my head:

  1. I’m going to run into someone I know and they’re going to laugh at me for wanting to be a writer.
  2. I’m going to do exactly what the people on the panel tell me to do and I’m going to fail at it.
  3. I’m going to be inspired by what I hear and get all excited and then let it go, let it fall on its face, give up before I even tried.

Pretty big hissy fit to work yourself into just to fill a seat at the 92nd Street Y. But, and I say this with modesty, I’m impressively hissy fit, I freak out at least four times a week. Last night, though, I had a new thought. I use feeling like shit about myself as an excuse. It justifies inertia. If I beat myself down for being anxious in crowds, impatient in line, careless with time, weak against criticism, then by the end my bones are too broken to reach toward the things I am very afraid to reach for. There is comfort in telling yourself that you could be who you wanted if only you weren’t so miserable, instead of just trying and finding you’re not.

It’s novel to me, okay?! For weeks, months, years (and I’m not very old!) I’ve been thinking that I need help to feel better before I can do the things I really want to do, when really, doing the things I want to do could the help I need to make me feel better. My panic and anxiety are costumed excuses. And jacking their masks makes them so much less scary.

I’m not a calm person. I’m petulant. I’m uptight. I’m hyper. So instead of trying yoga in 2009, I’m taking up hunting. I’m gonna bust a cap in those excuses on the skyline like it’s friggin Duck Hunt. And I’m gonna write about it right here, instead of using this time to think of all the reasons I’m not organized or motivated or interesting enough to write about it. I’m writing this blog because I’m a writer.

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