Update: I haven’t written in some time. This is partly because I’ve fallen off the bandwagon and I want to get back in the habit. All the letters of support and all the stories you have shared mean so much to me! I hope you also know I’m working on something a bit bigger… I have a plan to expand on my mental health writings and ramblings. Anyway… here’s my thoughts for today.
Someone said tonight that I’m the type of person who simply says what I’m thinking. Many people think this about me. They think this because I talk loudly and brazenly, seemingly unafraid. I say things others are afraid to say. I push the envelope, sometimes right off the desk and along the floorboards. And I don’t shut up.
I can see how people might think this. After all, what more could there be to say? But this is an oversimplification of the way my mind works. What I say is only the tip of an iceberg. My mind is a tumultuous, raging, swirling hurricane of thoughts. There are serene times–like the hurricane’s eye–and there are times where the winds are gentler. I’m learning to control the gales rather than kowtow to every blustery whim, every haphazard emotion or thoughtless thought. Yet I still find that my mind moves much faster and deeper than other people’s. It feels lonely.
When I was on medication, my mind stilled. Gone were the torrents, the winds, the swirling, ever-moving patterns. In their place was a calm, serene conveyor-belt of logic. Thoughts moved along nicely, one at a time. I thought then, I understood them, and I dismissed them. The torrent was stilled, but deep down in my heart I felt something was missing; suppressed. The hurricane had quieted. My art was gone.
I’ve always been afraid of settling into patterns. I see people run the same patterns over and over again, as if society has cut certain grooves that everyone eventually falls into. Above all else, I don’t want to be a cliche. I believe somewhere deep down that I am unique–or maybe I am afraid somewhere deep down that I am not. After all, aren’t we all “terminally unique”, with our circumstances no one could possibly understand (circumstances that someone else has always lived once before)?
I don’t want to live “terminally unique”, different for the sake of being different. I don’t want to climb on a high horse or trod a different path merely for the sake of being different. But I want art… and I want to be who I am. Sitting down, shutting up, falling in line… all these seem like a waste of breath. A waste of emotion. A waste of art. A waste of the precious gift of life.
Yet, perhaps there is some beauty in being unoriginal. There can be beauty in the common, beauty in the familiar. God must love predictable people; he made so many of them! Perhaps the grooves cut out in society are not at all bad. Perhaps we should enjoy being normal. Simple. Just… people.
And perhaps there is a place to live in the tension between both worlds. To love the ordinary and esteem the common. To have no fear of running in the grooves, if the grooves are enjoyable or necessary. But perhaps there is also a place for art… to step outside of the grooves. Run along the edge of the track. Climb on top of a roof instead of dwelling under it. Paint something off-kilter, look at someone with different eyes.
Balance. Please give my hurricane mind balance.