Writing a report that represents the work I’ve done for the past year. The people who invest funding in you don’t let you just bumble around and get lost and acquire fleas and scratch yourself. They make you formally show what you’re doing. This is cause for screaming terrors and thirty years’ worth of stockpiled dubious coping mechanisms, including this one right here: procrastination by blogging. (Sort of like death by auto, but less blood). It’s so boring how I keep falling for the same emotional patterns. i surrender.
It’s been an interesting 10.5 months. I’ve been focused. I’ve done what was asked of me, best I could. I’ve (mostly) behaved. Miraculously, the head-ghosts have actually let me do this without protest, until about a week ago when the report-writing started to get hard and the wheel of the year started turning towards winter and, apparently, they woke up and started rattling their chains.
It’s like, the minute I run up against any task that might lead to me achieving some status in this world, my ghosts rise up and call me back to the spirit realm. I was going to say ‘my art’ but that sounds super pretentious, and ghosts are a better description of creativity as I know it. Being haunted by weirdos. I’m a house full of poltergeists.
I thought I was done with it. At least for a while. And they were quiet for so long I thought maybe they’d gone on to haunt someone else and I could just be a person again, and be present in the world, concentrate on being the backbone of the family the way I need to be. Gotta say, a lot of this backbone work is invisible, but it’s still work. The spine doesn’t seem to be doing much most of the time that the hands are moving and the arms and even the feet if it’s, like, Irish dancing or something. But take the spine away and everything falls apart. That’s my role in this house right now.
I reckon I had about a year and a half where I got away without writing. Finishing masters, adjusting to the PhD, the commute, the change in dynamics. The ghosts were quiet. It was nice; I had been tired. So many years of doing their bidding. If I am honest, I didn’t miss them. (Sorry, ghosts, nothing personal). Instead of brooding over plot mechanics I watched every episode of ‘Insecure’, guiltlessly.
It was all an illusion. They’re back.
This ghost thing isn’t a problem I can solve. There isn’t enough of me to answer to them and also all the other demands. I know this, but I keep thinking, maybe it’s not so bad. Maybe if I had the right job, if I developed the right study patterns, if I could just get everything organised, maybe someday there will be a real chance for me to answer when they talk to me. And at the same time I think, haven’t I served enough time with the ghosts? Can’t I live an ordinary life now and be like the other people who know how to live in this world with their feet on the actual ground? I throw myself into physical things as though somehow that will save me. And I do it with an air of desperation. I know I’m not fooling anybody. Definitely can’t fool the spirits.
Or, you know, I could start to see it another way. Maybe.
Maybe, in order to be an entire human (ghosts included) it’s just a case of doing a botch job. Being a wobbly backbone. Writing a not-very-good report with iffy data. Doing what I can for the ghosts, but also telling them, hey, you want it done properly? Go find somebody who gives a damn, because you guys are not allowed to break me. Here’s my line, don’t cross it.
Like most women I know, I’m afraid to do things badly. Well hell. It’s got to be better to do things badly than not at all. I think, in some respects, the head-ghosts may be trying to tell me this. About the report, too. They interrupt my angsting and in untangling the nature of their interruption I realise, as my fingers type these words right now, that all you can ever do is take a shot. And if it’s not very good, so what?