Maintaining motivation is hard. I was recently diagnosed with ADHD, and it sort of put my whole life into perspective. The diagnosis doesn't really change how I feel about myself, but is more of a "huh, I learned how to cope really well" sorta thing. Pandemic time threw all of my skills right out the window because there was no structure to my day other than wake up, walk dog, turn on computer. I've always been the sort of person who has needed a jam-packed schedule to keep all systems functioning at average speed. Now that this new normal (hate that term) is on the horizon, it looks like life will shift again. And I'm wondering, how will it go?
The first time I meet my psychiatrist, / he asks if we’ve met before. / This does not bode well.
Writing every day used to come easily. Once, a professor asked my class who there wrote every day. No one raised their hand but me, and he told me I was full of shit. Back in those days, I was full of shit for a bunch of different reasons but lying about writing every day wasn’t one of them. Despite my daily practice, it took me seven years to complete a book about the French Revolution that I’m still not happy with. It took years to realize that writing every day is a practice dedicated to its own perpetuation, like jogging. After moving to Boston, without the external expectation of school or a big project, the daily practice was pushed to the wayside in favor of work and friends. My writing muscles got flabby. Very flabby.
I mark my life with music. If there's a song in my playlist, there's probably a strong memory associated with it. With the rise of streaming services such as Spotify, I have enough data to serve soundtrack to my years going back to 2016. There's always a theme (and that theme is usually "Power ballad me to work, Glass Animals"), but this year was different. 2019 was hard as I came to terms with parts of myself I didn't even know were there. It was hard as my family struggled to keep itself together. It was hard as I said goodbye to things that I loved. It was hard as I realized that this was a year of healing stasis, not action.
Another year has come and gone, and I have to admit that 2018 was amazing. With 2017 being such a roller coaster, the consistent joy of this past year was a relief. I found myself in this position of, for the first time in years, feeling utterly safe and comfortable--which led to this bizarre experience of being able to flourish (sort of like a house plant that's been replanted in more enriching soil).
After ten minutes out in the fresh air this morning, my fingers are numb. It's that time of year in Boston where it can be perfectly pleasant one day, but bone-chilling the next. Luckily, with the holidays coming to an end, the House is warmed by the return of housemates from far and wide. We end the year as we began it: together.
It's been a while. Life has this strange habit of going fast and slow all at once, a sort of wormhole effect that you don't realize you're in the middle of until you're halfway through your third ill-advised Wednesday cider and find yourself wondering how the hell it's nearly December. The last few months in the Bond House haven't been uneventful, but between travel, events, and the sweet beginnings of seasonal depression, I've been apathetic towards writing. In fact, it took me over a week to write this. But that's my problem, not yours. Just like my daily decision of whether or not to wear my heavy winter coat or to punish my body for a few more weeks so the cold doesn't destroy my soul--my problem, not yours.
I start the day later than expected, but this is understandable when one considers the night full of fun and pho (another shout out to Victoria and her patience with me and my glorious introduction to picone beer). My hair is at peak fluffiness, I'm feeling strangely energized, I'm optimistic about what the day will bring. Then again, I feel this way a lot and sometimes wind up being nearly arrested, or lost on a train, or drop my food on the floor, or I'm accused of being a "snitch" by some rando on the street (I'm still highly offended by this bold claim. Mama didn't raise no snitch). Perhaps today really will be a good day. Or better yet: Today will be as good as I make it. Optimism is the secret to all good things in this life. Where better to be optimistic than in the City of Lights?
The journey to the airport isn't as dramatic as I expect it to be, which is disconcerting. My big ass backpack and I catch all of the trains and buses right on time. Even after waiting for an hour in the bunched mass that is the Primera Air check-in line, getting through an extra handsy security checkpoint, and eating an overpriced chicken sandwich, everything was fine. In less than 12 hours, I'll be back in Paris. I can do whatever I want to do. Anything. Nothing. I'm my own master.
We will begin by saying that I don't want to go to Paris. It's for a lot of reasons, both practical and anxiety-related. Why am I afraid? Ultimately, I don't want to go alone. I don't want to be without distraction from my thoughts. I don't want to be my only source of satisfaction. But, in order for me to grow both as a person and as an independent woman in this day and age, I can't be afraid to leave my comfort zone. The last time I was in Paris, I really bossed up, and I fully intend on doing it again. Buckle up, kids.