20 March 2017
Here I am, week ten! I was relatively happy to be void of distractions so that I could focus on my two largest final projects for classes in week nine. One was my thesis, and I spent 22 hours (throughout the week) working on revisions. By the time I was done, it looked like a bloody war had occurred on paper. Almost like the war in my head.
I have spent the last eight days on a roller coaster. It feels like a replication of the Space Mountain ride at Walt Disney World; just when you think your eyes have focused on the dark, the shooting stars, and other matter “floating” around, you are jettisoned around some more, attempting to refocus, but never really reaching a point where you are content to simply be in the moment and become a part of the bigger story.
Thoughts of unhealthy relationships filled my mind several mornings ago. I could not shake any of them. The thoughts continued, expanding and consuming beyond the gray matter; they took over my whole being. State of mind: unstable. State of being: unknown. Overall state: Welcome to the crazy mind. Be careful of the jungle. My jungle is a shock to the system.
Natalie Goldberg speaks about monkey mind in her book, Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life. The monkey mind she speaks of relates to an inner voice that convinces us we aren’t good enough to become who we really want to be. It’s “about a loss of control…and allowing the wild mind take over and as we learn how to be comfortable” (33).
I admit I’ve had monkey mind. However, this crazy mind is worse. It’s adrenaline at the speed of a bullet train. It’s the storms in the mind and the thoughts swirling; too many thoughts are moving around and all over the place. It’s not fear or panic, and makes thinking clearly more difficult. Unlike reports that indicate the surge impairs a person, my adrenaline forces me to move. To grab those sneakers, sport the headphones and crank the music from my aftermath playlist, as my feet pound the pavement. Or my now loosely fitting workout clothes are thrown on at 5:30am while I drink 4 ounces of coffee, eat three pieces of pineapple, six cashews, down my allergy medicine with 12 ounces of water; throw the earbuds back in, crank the music from my workout playlist, and get in 45 minutes of solid weight training at the gym…long before employees even think of waking, and before students take over the weight room. My crazy mind becomes energized into getting “beyond” and finding a focus to face the remainder of the day. This focus is something I relish when I cannot harness my emotions to throw into my writing.
And into the thesis I delve…Natalie is slowly learning about her powers and begins to experiment a little on how well she can control them. She destroys something her fiancé loves, and it’s a satisfying destruction. She is, however, not left without a major trauma at the end of Chapter 5, and the end of my thesis for this term. There is conflict, there is tension, there is her own storm brewing, and it’s starting to heat up in her mind. What happens next? I’ll continue writing more of the novel during a short break, and jump right back in to complete 35,000 words before my final term ends. Things are going to become extremely interesting very fast! Natalie is going to have her own crazy mind to embrace, harness, and control.
My crazy mind is not a disorder: no ADHD, no OCD, no anxiety issues, nothing like that. It is a massive distraction when you have been blindsided and experiencing trauma. The coping mechanisms are something I have put in place to quiet everything, and to release the adrenaline. Like Natalie, we are both out of our comfort zones completely right now and are learning, together, how to harness that energy to our benefit. We recognize we are being treated unkindly, and are fully aware of people who are disrespecting us. We both have, readily available, two names we can utter off the tip of our tongues at any given moment, and without shame because we have done nothing wrong. Natalie has a super power…and so do I (next post!). Now it’s time to return to week ten, harness this ridiculous storm in my mind, and continue to focus on what’s important: me and my education.
Goldberg, Natalie. Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life. Bantam Books. 1990.