The Monkey Mind — Reminding Myself About Patience & Anxiety
Posted on September 17, 2012
Today was a strange day for freelancing. I don’t know how to exactly describe it, but I was actually busy, and I didn’t have time to work on my memoir. I hate when I can’t work on my book. It’s frustrating. It feels like I cheated myself. Well, in regards to the book, I was told to read “Monkey Mind” by Daniel Smith. It’s another memoir, and it is in the vein of Augusten Burroughs. The most obvious reason being that the memoirs are set in Massachusetts, and they both deal with issues of mental illness — specifically anxiety in Monkey Mind.
It’s funny, because Smith points out that anxiety is something that we all deal, but everyone deals with in one way or the other. Anxiety is almost as individual as our fingerprints. For example, Smith’s anxiety, so far, seems to be about his life slipping out of control, one event at a time. But it’s obviously much more deeply rooted. And I look forward to the rest of the book. He has a hard time walking down the freedom trail in Boston.
But anxiety, well, it’s something I deal with too. Right now the biggest anxiety I’m dealing with is my writing career. Will someone like my writing? Will an editor accept my pitch? Once they accept my pitch, will they hate my writing? Will I receive the check before rent is due? These questions can barrel out of control. I can fly down a cliff and find myself churning and churning in a widening gyre of self-deprecation and insecurity.
That’s the thing though. In order to really make freelancing work, a life as a writer, I have to continue to learn to manage this anxiety. Not having the security of a full-time job is sort of freaky. At any moment, you can be tossed aside like yesterday’s trash — or maybe a more relevant metaphor is recycling, except I wouldn’t be reused. So, yeah, trash is still the best. But part of it is learning, as always, to accept things are out of my control. So how in the world do I handle that?
Well, I just got back from a run. I’ve blogged about this before. But I also have Heron and my dog, Hendrix. They’re remarkable. Then there is Long Beach. Then there is Los Angeles County. Then there is the entire state of California and the Western United States and the entire country and the small little blue orb floating through an infinite and beautiful galaxy. And I can spend my nights standing on the cliffs in Belmont Shore, staring at the port, the Queen Mary, the tiny, sliver of a moon resting just about the ancient ship’s smoke stacks. The orange glow in the background. The silver metallic ocean. The sky. I am temporary, unfortunately, but so are my problems.
So back to Daniel Smith. The whole book is about dealing with anxiety, and one thing I’m sure of, it’s a life-long practice. Maybe this post is just about reminding myself about patience.
Should have some new pieces coming out this week. I’m looking forward to sharing them with you.