I have become an actual crazy person. Ask my husband and he may tell you that the true sign of my self-delusion is that until now I convinced myself I was a sane person.
Okay, okay. I get it. I’ve never had many points going for me in that area (I have my redeeming qualities– right??) but of late things have gotten extreme. I discovered an infestation of tiny brown bugs in our apartment and I’ve ripped the entire thing apart, top to bottom, bought a vacuum cleaner entirely too large for our 600 some square foot apartment, and when I find one crawling on the floor, I’m tempted to yell, “Go! Live! Live and tell your boss what you have seen, what I have done to your people!”
I’ve gone into hibernation about six months too early. I’m hiding from friends, not returning calls (ahh, yes, that includes yours), running with this fire under my ass to knock out this book as fast as my fingers can type, or more realistically the lowest common denominator, how fast my brain can produce a thought.
I’ve gotten addicted to working out. Before I started this book in November, I’d never gone into a gym. Now, I’m making a fool of myself trying to deadlift 20 pounds and do assisted push-ups so assisted that the counterweight is only slightly less than my body weight, while I avert my gaze from the meatheads in my building, waiting for me to finish my frivolous exercise so that they can do some real work. Guys, I don’t know how to bench press. I think I’m trying to guarantee hearing loss in my future so that when I become sane again, I’ll still have some problems to hang my hat on at the end of the day. That is assuming I ever do become sane again, because the prevailing popular opinion (of my husband and, if she could speak English, I’m sure my daughter would share it) is that this insanity is unrecoverable.
I’ve started stress eating. I never stress eat. Now I’ve put away an entire box of mashmallow creme pies in about two days, give or take. I don’t even like sweets. It’s turned into some sort of bizarre, masochistic ritual. For what? I don’t know. The other day after forcefeeding myself my fifth Chips Ahoy in two minutes, I coughed it all up and stared at the ceramic throne thinknig, Enough. I’m too old for this. I know too much better than these choices.
I decided to give up sugar entirely.
In the midst of all this, questions about my life are pounding into me like softball sized pieces of hail. The biggest one is: Why am I doing this?
It’s a legitimate question. I’m making decisions on a daily basis that reduce my ability to be a functional, happy wife and mother. Is it worth it? Is it selfish? Self-aggrandizing? My tunnel vision is so drastic that many other pieces of my life have fallen away like brittle, dead leaves in the face of oncoming winter.
Then again, my life has never been easy. Wouldn’t choosing to have a second child create the same effect? Further stretch my time and resources? I can’t remember a time longer than one, maybe two months that the word “easy” described my days. Having children is not easy. Being married is not easy. I do those things because they are worth it. More than that, I believe these things are essential to my purpose in life. That means me, personally, not as a universal prescription.
I can’t imagine not writing a book. I couldn’t do it. Every divine prompting I am receiving lately is telling me, write. Write. Pray. Eat a meal today, maybe. Edit. Write.
Yeah, coming through loud and clear. I got it.
No matter how sucky my life gets right now, I love it. I love learning how to leak setting information into the beginning of scenes, how to research a market, how to mold into this obsessive self-discipline where I do not go a single day without adding at least one word to a page. I love being pushed to the brink of my capacity as a human being time and time again, and watching myself adapt. I am so capable of that. I love realizing– admittedly a little too late– that I need to stop eating sugar. I love learning how to create time for myself in a marriage, insulate my husband from the worst of my craziness, and lead a double life during the days where my identity is not a writer, but the person responsible for a little girl’s meals, diapers, and oh, well-being.
I keep saying that I can’t wait until I’m done with this book, but truly, I enjoy it. This is the stuff that makes up a life, that shapes our character. I’m faced with increasingly difficult situations, but only in measure that I can handle, that my Heavenly Father knows I can handle. I’m grateful for these sacred opportunities to rise to the occasion– or at least rise slightly more each subsequent time. The Occasion may yet be up there a ways, but we’re making progress.
The royal we, of course. You know, baby steps towards my sanity are considered noteworthy in this no-longer-bug-infested home.