Some days all I can do is cling to my art. I feel my world withdrawing, but my fingers rib red lines along words as they grasp and hold and strain. It’s more feeling than reality, but it keeps me moving past my insecurities. The past few days, a quote by Albert Camus has lingered on edge of my thoughts, flashing now and then into focus:
Life continues, and some mornings, weary of the noise, discouraged by the prospect of the interminable work to keep after, sickened also by the madness of the world that leaps at you from the newspaper, finally convinced that I will not be equal to it and that I will disappoint everyone—all I want to do is sit down and wait for evening. This is what I feel like, and sometimes I yield to it.
I feel heavy.
As my first therapist told me, it hurts me more and takes more effort to do simple things. Talking on the phone can make me panic, a simple comment can derail my day, a slant of light against a wooden floor forces me to sit. It’s a weakness I don’t often admit. I’ve had to overcome it, resolved that I may never defeat it.
“I wish I wasn’t so sensitive,” I wrote my now ex-girlfriend last summer.
She understood me, but still replied that my sensitivity allowed me to feel the world so deeply, like a blind man who learns to see with sound more keen. Sometimes, that’s beautiful. I see specters laced in distant headlights, hear prayers in the rustled kisses of brittle leaves in cold wind, see stories in lines traced along an old cashier’s palm. Sometimes, it’s painful. I find broken dreams whispered by the sifting trees and cry mid-step when I see a squirrel tumble a nut down a path, feeling cold and alone.
Life is a brittle masterpiece that cracks and crumbles as I try to hold it. As I try to set it down in words, it squirms and wrestles from my grip. It browns and curls like old flower petals drying in a sun that’s too bright.
Sometimes I want to give up. I want to bury my sensitivity. I want to join the gray crowds and cold sidewalks and be content. Some days all I can do is cling to my art.
But I find a song–however imperfect–to round my lips around and sing. The sadness lingers, but it’s diffused with with joy. Then I remember why I cling to words.