Monday, April 4, 2011

Inexplicable Shifts

Sometimes you’re solid. You get it. Whatever life throws your way you take with optimism, with tact and rationality. You’re aware of yourself, certain, excited to take risks for pure enjoyment. You smile at strangers, make small talk. You’re calm and sympathetic. People are drawn to you. There’s nothing you need, and no one can push or pull you out of your element. You’re in control, modest and powerful simply for being you. Life is easy despite any inconvenience, any challenge, and it’s going to stay this way forever.

Then for no clear reason, something shifts within you. You spring a leak and begin to take on all of the doubt, the self-loathing. Every action requires a great effort, if only to take a breath, to keep your spirits above the surface.

Clenched teeth. Stiff Joints. There is this glare to everything, like you’re looking perpetually through some dusty late-afternoon window. Your headache pulses to the beat of everything.

And you’re going to fail, and all you’ve left behind you on that hard road are epic and complete failures. You’re fucked. And your friends don’t understand, and their advice proves that, and they don’t answer their phones anyway cause they probably don’t even like you. But you need their advice. You need someone to tell you how to get through this. The walls are fucking sheer in this pit, someone has got to throw you goddamned rope. There must be answers, but you can't quiet your anxieties long enough to actually think.

Of course, it’s hard to sleep. And when you do sleep, if you get to dream, you dream of conflict. You fight hard and you lose brutally. You’re confined. You’re stranded at great heights. You’re tortured. And any sense of hope is an illusion. If you come up, you’re going to fall, and fall hard, and wake in that sudden flash of sweat.

Has it always been like this? Have you ever felt your neck and back unclenched? Whose fault is this? You play back the long list of wrongs done to you as you stare into the darkness. You’re the victim here. Someone has to pay.

But then, one morning, with no singular shimmering cause, with no clarity you can discern from Freud or your friends, you wake up, and the day feels easy. You’re rested. And you notice that the morning is constructed of all these incredible little details: shapes of sun across the wall, hints of singing birds. You savour them.

And the past rolls off easy, the future dangles before you in pleasant mystery. And every moment, every thought, everything, has the quality of a secret joke, a punch line you couldn’t possibly explain. But why would you need to?