Thursday, May 4, 2023

Too Many Open Tabs

I just counted the number of open tabs at the top of my screen. There are 46, not including the 16 other tabs that may be open in a different window. I also have at least five unfinished drafts that I am struggling through and I'm sinking into a depression that I don't seem to be able to avoid.

This isn't normally the type of piece I would want to publish from this blog. I prefer not to put energy into the universe that comes across as a plea for help, but I need to express a few things in order to break through from this cycle, hopefully to something else better. Because I am stuck...

I am over it. I am fried. I am frustrated that I don't seem to have any control over anything in my life, not even my own emotions or thoughts. I am sitting here contemplating if this is what I am supposed to be doing with my life--writing to myself since talking aloud to myself would be a sign of insanity. Is this just me jotting down my rantings and ravings for posterity?

(By the way, I hate this new feature where the computer tries to anticipate what I am intending to say. I find this very fucking annoying <---it didn't guess that I was about to curse. For the record, I do not appreciate artificial intelligence trying to make my life seem easy when I really just want to think and brood for myself.)

For the past couple of weeks I have seriously thought to discontinue writing this blog. I have hit a wall, I don't think I'm saying anything new or interesting, and I barely get any readers anyway. I could try to take a break, but then what would I do? I don't have anything else going on in my life that doesn't involve taking care of someone or feeling as if I have to be in Olivia Pope survival mode ready to handle stuff. I am tired. 

And I know I am contradicting myself, but I feel useless.

The last time I felt this way, I sat down and wrote myself out of the funk. Today I am unsure if that will do the trick. Tomorrow, who knows? Several years ago, I did stop writing for about 18 months or so, and I can tell you that I didn't feel any better about the state of things during that hiatus. But I don't know what else I can do, except maybe get away to someplace where all I need to do is think and write and read and sleep and drink. I just need to be.

I don't want anyone to reach out to me to offer encouraging platitudes, as if that would actually happen. I know it won't because it never has, even when it is obvious to everyone how miserable I am. Because that is the catch--no one notices, and even if they did, no one ever knows what to say to me. Either I'm really adept at putting on a happy face for the world, or I'm an expert at being ignored. Besides, these posters are annoying AF. 

My life is a mess. That is not something I say just to have something to say, because literally I had to step over several piles of things to get to this little space where my computer and chair are in my cramped little office where I can't see the floor. I bought some cards for Teacher Appreciation Week that I cannot find, and I have a bunch of Mother's Day cards that I need to write and mail. At the same time, I am sitting here feeling a bit resentful that I make all of this effort and feel that none of it is appreciated. Who cares if I don't send Mother's Day cards with handwritten notes in them this year? I'm guessing no one.

While I'm navel gazing and stewing in my own pot, I got to thinking about the writers' strike in Hollywood and how I totally understand and can relate to sense that no one appreciates creativity anymore. People just assume that if they type in a bunch of concepts into a computer program, it will spit out a sequence of interchangeable scenarios that will eliminate the need for writers.  Who needs a room full of people with mortgages and kids to feed when you just need one person to keep the paper from jamming in the printer. Isn't that essentially the Tyler Perry model of "content creation"? He's a damn billionaire who could be employing these talented moonlighting Door Dashers and Lyft drivers. I don't know how much he pays the actors (and we know he doesn't invest much in production), but if that is the future of scripted television and movies...

I keep telling myself that money isn't everything. I look at the pictures from the MET Gala and of course I would love to attend those kinds of functions, but then I think about all of the people who services I would need to employ to help me look like that. And then I remember that not only do I not have a job, I'm not anybody important, so it wouldn't even merit an invitation or I would be shunned like this cockroach. Perhaps the People's Ball for the bridge and tunnel crowd is more my speed (not really, but maybe I will make that happen someday.)

A few months ago, someone posted about hosting a reading for their book and how no one came. That is exactly how I feel right now. I worry myself into a tizzy over sentences and punctuation and word choice, but when all is written and edited and I finally hit the "confirm" button to publish, I get these simultaneous feelings of relief and anxiety. Because then I have to figure out how to promote it, and after I agonize over that for a few minutes, then I get wound up in a knot with worry that I should have done this or that or rephrased...

(Yes, I go through this every single time.) So why bother? Because I have at least 9 faithful readers, and none of them is related to me, so no one feels guilted into reading what I've written because I might withhold sex or not speak to them. And honest to God, I am not complaining because it could be worse. Imagine if a certain person did feel obligated to read my blog the way they seem to feel compelled to faithfully listen to their baseball or foodie podcasts...

So now you know why I rarely want people to know that this neurotic side of me exists. Yet, I think it makes me seem more human in case there was some cause for doubt. I often entertain the thought of myself as an abject failure, and then I consider the alternative. I don't have as clear an image in my head of what that might entail, but I'm guessing that in the Alphaverse, that Ayanna doesn't wear yoga pants every day. Yep, I've seen Everything Everywhere All At Once quite a few times since it swept the Oscars; ironically, not entirely all the way through in one sitting.

If I'm not screaming into the void, then I'm just another bewildered housewife living her worst life somewhere in the multiverse. That is actually a comforting thought--it feels good to imagine that somewhere out there, a version of me is the Ayanna I am looking for.

See, sometimes it does work to just write it all out. 

That doesn't mean that I won't entertain any more thoughts of self-doubt. I am a good writer, but I'm no Lin-Manuel Miranda (remember him), finding award-winning inspiration in the life of a forgotten Founding Father. I find my inspiration by scrolling social media and watching cable news. I write about experiences from my own life and my interactions engaging with others. I fancy myself as an undiscovered pop culture critic/political pundit, more accessible and unfiltered. I unapologetically stand up for women, Black women in particular, and despite what some unwoke provocateur might claim, my feminism isn't some issue I adopted in order to exclude the awkward people from the sorority. I am a Believer who sees Jesus in the cracks and crevices. I love this country, but I will do my part to push it to become what it claims to be, and I refuse to accept anything less. 

If you are still reading, that is who the Busy Black Woman is. Nope, not a long-winded wannabe porn model--a writer. When I began this journey, my life was in a much different place. I thought I had a solid plan and attainable dreams, but then the ground under my feet shifted. At times it feels like the earth never stops moving long enough for me to find my footing. But I keep writing.

So while I am discouraged right now, I won't give in to despair. I will close some of these tabs and will finish and publish those pieces. I will send those Mother's Day cards and I may clear a path of floor in my office. I might listen to a few songs from the Hamilton soundtrack. While I hope this strike doesn't last long, I hope the writers hold the line because talented people deserve to earn a decent living in their chosen profession (and that concept should apply universally). If it works for me to cross a few items off my to-do list, so be it, or I might just settle for leaving this house to sit in my car by the water somewhere for a change of scenery. Either way, I will write about it and let you know.

No comments:

Post a Comment