Ambivalence and Compliance

The soft light of the alarm clock begins to glow at 4:10 and intensifies so I wake before the recording of the blackbirds begins. I’m grateful for this cheap, but fancy clock. It’s a gentle way to begin the day.

The morning ritual is set. Bathroom to stairwell, to alarm panel, to sliding glass door, all with Leonard at my heels. I put the button to warm up the coffee machine while I drink a glass of water, fill the dog bowl and wait for Leonard to trip back into the house to get his treat. Then I take my coffee to the little library and turn on the computer. From here, all order falls apart.

On days like today, no words come. There is a quiet weight in my chest and an almost neutral calm. I breathe. I suppose this waiting is a form of meditation. Definitely a form of faith: with faith’s discomfort.

There are days when no news, no comment, no achievement can be good enough. When there is still unfulfilled anticipation. Something beyond hope really. It’s a feeling that touches back to childhood and naive expectations of a vague “good” that is just around the corner. Surprise me! Come on.

In two hours my watch alarm will vibrate to remind me to take the medication that keeps that feeling at bay. Or at least keeps it from being much more than a memory of a feeling.

Another cup of coffee for now. Another sober look at the wasp project and the steep learning curve as I pick up paintbrushes and charcoal again. Wishing I had the confidence of anticipating the “good” now.

It’s odd how self-confidence can abandon you as decisively as a disappointed mentor, shrugging and saying, “I guess I was wrong about you”. A sigh. “But keep working… Who knows.”

A sigh is still a breath, I suppose.

3 Replies to “Ambivalence and Compliance”

  1. You said the other week it was frightening how similar we are. And it is, especially as I read your post. I lay in bed after my alarm this morning dreading the walk down the stairs, the water, the Manuka honey, the cigarette, the walk across the garden to the office, and the sitting in front of a blank screen. It took 30 minutes to write a 94-word poem, and then another hour to write 750 words of Aggie. And all with this undercurrent of “you’re not good enough, just give it up.” But I won’t give in to the critic on my shoulder (my father, as it turns out) who puts down every aspect of my life. And I’ll just keep on going through the pain of creation. Big hugs to you today. Rx


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