A Little Off

The stormclouds blow in, obfuscating any stray strands of yellow sunlight that might have fallen on my couch. My fingers are cool on my chin, as I idly gaze out the window at the passing cars. The cars make an odd whistling sound as they approach, and then fade gradually into the distance. I draw a blank on the physics principle that demonstrates- something about an oncoming train. I can’t remember. Is the heater even on? I wonder, as I pull my slippers back on my feet and check the thermostat. I’m cold.

The kids are watching Star Wars, and I can hear Beanie coaching Abby on the proper way to wield her foam light-saber. She is non-compliant, and he’s getting frustrated with her, but I can hear him breathing and trying to be patient. That a boy. Progress. Jeffrey is engrossed and wouldn’t hear me now unless I danced in front of the screen blocking the picture.

Nothing is wrong. Only the tiny nagging somewhere deep won’t stop, and I can’t pinpoint where or to what it’s pointing. Or if it’s really nothing at all. Maybe hormones? It’s like the itch in the center of your back that’s just beyond the tip of your finger. Like a dog-whistle, it’s making me crazy. I’m misinterpreting friends, misreading emails, mistyping letters, asking the wrong questions and guessing at things I should know. I’m plagued by doubts and worrying over imagined conversations and slights. I’m wondering at the genuineness of my own intellect, and doubting my validity and as a contributor to anything with meaning. What is going on? I know better.

Yet the malaise hangs. Narcissus beckons. The sirens sing. Persephone was stolen. No. Go away. I will not fall into the pond. I know better. Self-loathing is no different than pomposity in the underworld. Both amplify and aggrandize the importance of self to the exclusion of reality. They are backed faces on the same shiny but meaningless coin. Snap out of it. What is going on?

I was like this as a child, too, only I didn’t have words, myths, experiences to calm and quiet the storm. The clouds would blow in, the wind would kick up, and I would be drawn outside, the skies mirroring my mind. Disquiet. Perhaps I was seven or eight, and I would sit on the edge of our crabgrass, my feet in the gravelly pebbles near the street, while I leaned on the crooked Redwood fence marking our property. My sketchbook was open in my lap, and I wrote bad poems trying to capture the elusive wistfulness in my mind. I felt like the only weird kid in the world.

You’re okay, kid. Your spirit is big, and your mind is vast, and you will understand more someday. Just ride it out. It’s not as big as you think it is, and yet it’s so very much more than you can imagine.

I’m going to watch Star Wars with my kids.

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7 thoughts on “A Little Off

  1. Hmmm… Is there something in the air? I’m reading this thinking, “Plagued by doubts… Malaise… Disquiet… Elusive wistfulness…” I can’t pinpoint my discontent, either – but at least now I have words I can use to help describe my current feelings! Maybe we can help each other ride this out.

  2. This is a pretty universal phenomenon. It’s how Satan approaches genuinely good and gifted people. He never gives up, you know. He knows he can’t get you with bitterness or self-pity, so he uses the fear, angst and discontent angle. Isn’t he a bugger? Sounds like a good time to get all wrapped up in some service. (And listen to conference. I thought of you this morning as I half-craved cinnamon rolls).

    Love you!

  3. Once again I love how you are able to describe so well those emotions that you feel. I love how you wrapped everything up with that little burp in italics.

    “Just ride it out. It’s not as big as you think it is, and yet it’s so very much more than you can imagine.”- I should put that up on my wall or something- it gives hope and strength!

    Thank you for sharing!

  4. Yep. I know those feelings. As I get wrapped up in them I have to remind myself that I am worth something and I do have a purpose. You articulate the feelings so well.

  5. The paragraph about your childhood was eerily familiar. I remember feeling that I was a special kind of weird that I couldn’t quite capture, like chasing an elusive butterfly. Eventually I found drawing and painting.

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