Well fuck me running, I was SURE I'd saved the last thing I was working on. That'll teach me to look up from the internet at my actual human friend who has entered my house demanding Fresca.
(You guys are welcome to do that, by the way. I like it.)
So this friend, Angel (and you better believe that name is fitting), asked me, well, what do you think it should feel like, the practice of making things? Not the actual finished product but the process? Do you expect it to feel good? Because it doesn't. It feels horrible. That's how it feels.
Angel makes the most wonderful things, some of which I'm lucky enough to have in my house. It came as a shock to me, that the process of creating is, for her, riddled with worry and the discomfort of working a bit of yourself into the wool with a felting needle.
Which, I mean, damn. I was hoping I was special! Uniquely tortured! Doomed to serve as a living coffin for my Substantial Gifts that would, I don't know, upon my death spill from my corpse like candy from a pinata?
No, don't eat those, they're maggots. My metaphor is crawling with larvae. Because it's been dead for a while.
But you know what I mean? Maybe I got some issues or whatever, but maybe I can choose not to be self-indulgent about them. Maybe I can do shit even if it really really hurts.
I was running this morning. I had 30 minutes, figured I could do 3 miles, right? 10-minute miles? I ran ten of those in a row back in November!
But I barely made it. 32 minutes and just under 3 miles. And every fucking step of it sucked. No Fun Run, this: my legs burned, my cardiovascular system protested. Ever since I started meds, I can't run as fast or as easily; my muscles tend to cramp and stay sore for more than a couple of days after even small workouts. I fight the ugly voices in my head; I make my body go when it wants to stop. I sweat and chafe and ache and want to barf, sometimes. But I run anyway. Even though it sucks. Because I trust that having run will be worth it.
Oh and this one time I had a couple babies, not at the same time or anything, but I did the whole damn thing twice over, and you know how much of it was fun, each time? The first contraction. That was it. That's the last clank of the roller coaster as it reaches the pinnacle of that first hill; after that, it's all momentum and shit is about to get CRAYCRAY.
Childbirth was not a spiritual, ecstatic experience for me. I was pretty darn well prepped, and it was still crushingly painful at times, terrifying, exhausting -- but yeah, worth it. Not because of the baby. Hell, you can get a baby anywhere. Just for the experience itself. I get to keep coming back to that one, what I figured out about myself and where I fit into the world, what I don't get to choose, what I do. Having done it was worth it.
Birth isn't that for everyone, and you sure don't have to birth a baby to have an experience like that. Besides, the creating-as-giving-birth metaphor is so awful and hackneyed that I'm going to stop right there. For me, though, running and birth are two times that mind and body are engaged equally -- or rather, there's no division between the two.
Whatever well of instinct drives those two improbable activities is the same thing that makes me need to talk to other people, with words and things. That creative urge is as overwhelming and earthy and yucky as the urge to take a giant shit.
None of those things feel good. They aren't nice. They're pretty nasty, actually, with sweat and blood and oh god did I poop? Please tell me I didn't poop! and terror and drudgery and WORK.
But hey! There is always triumph at the end. It might not look how you expect, or how you want it to. It might not be recognizable. Sometimes my only triumph after a terrible run is that two days later, I run again.
So, hell. The obstacle is the path.
That's Zen for "Quit being such a fucking baby and get going, asshole." But don't mistake the bluntness for cruelty.
Now I'm glad I lost the first thing. I like this one better. Triumph, right?