Listlessness in a Time of Excess, Whatever it May Be

With the pandemic closing possibilities, it opens others. Most, for many, those open, unusual possibilities suck: bankruptcy, hospital debt, cancelled plans abroad, moving back home with Mom and Dad, straight up dying. While these are not Good, others have re-evaluated their lives. Children and time mean more, self-care means more, politics mean more. Some are getting creative with their outlets, while others are letting the loss of this freedom ruin the happiness of others. I, in particular, have re-evaluated my life as well. For the first time ever, I have space and time, if not money on occasion. I have a computer thirsty for words and a canvas blank and waiting. What I lack is impulse and inspiration and true direction. What I lack is something that makes me wonder.

Time moves slowly some days and too quickly for others, but it all passes me by all the same. I attend class online, like so many other summer school college students, but I cannot breach the trench of thought I get stuck in during the larger, flatter plains of the day. At night, the bed — the most comfortable bed I’ve ever had the pleasure to sit upon — calls to me and I roll around listening to the best ASMR videos where pretty hands squish balls of sand or someone acts in the vein of science fiction POV roleplaying. Usually, I’m an android under maintenance. I don’t need to figure out what next to draw if I’m a forgotten android or an alien or just a fly on the wall. I’ve come to prefer it that way, and it makes me strung out on that particular flavor of millennial anxiety; I’ll be 26 next month and that’s too old to not have changed the world.

This trip of “IhavetodosomethingrightnoworI’llneverdoanythingeverI’mafailure,” has come in the form of my desktop computer. I’ve been wanting one forever as I always want something I can’t have — I’ve been in the purgatory of constantly carrying a small laptop between bed-shares and halfway houses since 2009 — and now that I have the screen space, the memory, and the desk , I’m stalling. The blank face of the 21″ screen stares at me and sits in the corner like a massive cavity of color and light and space that just watches me and wait for what I expect to be a Pulitzer-winning book. Instead! I play those dumb farming games and Facebook Scrabble with my brother, and suddenly I’m tired. Immediately. Nothing gets done. I barely took the trash out yesterday. The laundry starts to smell, so I have to run it again. I’m stuck in my own self-made destruction of constantly consuming true crime shows in-between naps and guilting myself into chores. I have no pattern. I have no discipline and it sickens me.

By the end of the day, when I have to look myself in the face with my toothbrush buzzing in my mouth and wonder what I did that day and ask myself why I pissed it away, I have no answer. I want to pull my hair out in frustration, but I haven’t the energy for that. Some days I have a bit more fortitude. Some days I start writing a chapter, but it doesn’t look good, so I delete it. Repeat. I reread and delete and repeat. I think, “I’ve never written a word I’ve ever liked before, what’s wrong with me,” and decide to read a book nearer to my genre and style to witness a professional at work, in the hopes of inspiring some latent ability in my fingertips, and then never read the book. I have so many books. They seem like the keys to my happiness, my success, and yet they’re stacked and dusty. I am stacked and dusty. Gross.

So, what’s the point of this? Of all this, or the blog post specifically, or the world or my view of it? I don’t know. I don’t know how to think of something so creative and inspiring that I win a grant. I don’t know how to be anything else but an A grade student who can sit in front of a computer and not look at the keyboard as she types. I don’t know how to knock myself out of this fugu, but I want to. Desperately. I should just use my tomato timer. It’s right there on my desk, waiting to slice my life into consumable, 25-minute portions. It’s right there. But so are the books. Why don’t I touch any of it? Why do I embrace inaction, knowing it’s slowly killing me?