So often, I feel like I’m walking a psychological tightrope. My experiences teach me to be one way, but my heart tells me to be another way. My cold practicality wants to protect myself, insulate myself from pain; my longing to love and be loved forces me to make myself vulnerable. It’s infuriating! I feel torn and I’m the one tearing myself up! I want to be strong and independent and free from emotions…free from caring. The wounds in my heart (still unhealed…how long has it been now?) are like gaping mouths yelling at me, “Don’t let yourself be taken in again! You know what always happens!” But I cannot go along on my own. I can’t. The more walled-off I become, the safer I am, true. But the more desperate I become to feel cared for. The maddening need to be needed!
Foolish, stubborn girl. I want to walk away from her sometimes, this girl who stares back at me in the mirror. I see the look of mild disappointment around her eyes, tucked into the corners of her mouth. But there is no separating us. She knows it; I know it. This is a mutual disappointment. I’m none too pleased with her either.
Her breath formed a ragged circle of fog on the window. Her eyes darted back and forth in miniscule leaps as she watched the countryside streak past. The dark trees blurred in the speed and the moonlight. Why had she gotten on that train? Why was she so damn impulsive? There was no going back now, of that she was sure. She reached out and dragged her pointer finger across the glass, drawing the outline of a tree in the condensation. One tree that would not whip past. One tree to sit under in stillness and think.
No one else was in the train car with her. She could talk out loud if she wanted. She opened her mouth. Closed it. She didn’t want to talk. If she had wanted to talk, she would have stayed. And if she had stayed…well, who knows? She wouldn’t think about that.
The fog on the glass was shrinking, closing in on the transparent tree. Soon the ring would disappear completely, erasing her place of solitude and peace. Think fast. You only have a few more moments, and then you’re on your own. Then the world moves on without you.
She pressed her forehead against the cold glass and closed her eyes. She thought about what the next few hours would bring and where the train tracks ended. A new home. It was laughable, really. How much home could you buy with 37 dollars and a train ticket stub? But it would have to do. At least until she found someone else. Someone who would trust her…who didn’t know…
Her eyes flew open as she heard the door open at the front of the car. An older man walked in, leaning lightly on a cane. His steel grey mustache was impeccably kept, his dark suit pressed, his face stately and composed. And why shouldn’t it be? He had nothing to hide.
The man sat down a few rows away from her, sighed heavily, and looked out the window. She stared at him for a few more moments, then made her decision. So be it. And with that she rose carefully from her seat, forced a look of bewildered innocence to her face, and closed the distance between them.
I need to write. And I’m not talking thesis material here. I need to write some fiction or something. I am craving the satisfaction of a well-written short story. But I have “zero point zero zero” ideas for where to start. So, any suggestions? Be my muse. Please. I will publish whatever I write here, so you will have the joy of knowing you inspired me.
I apologize, my friends, for my absence on this blog the past month. I’ve been working on finishing up my Masters thesis, and though that’s no excuse to ignore you, it has decreased my desire to sit and write anything at all. My head is so full of thesis that I can’t seem to find the motivation to produce anything else. Honestly, I’m having a hard enough time producing good work on this paper. I’m pretty close to the end, and my initiative has dropped proportionately to the amount of paper I’ve finished. So that means that I’m not very good at focusing right now. My roommate knows this. She has witnessed me sit for half an hour staring at my computer screen, then typing a sentence, looking self-satisfied and rewarding myself with a cookie. “So industrious!” I think to myself, “You’ve really accomplished something here! Now it’s time to watch a movie or take a nap.” Needless to say, this style of work does not get me very far. It seems unavoidable though! At this point, every small sentence I wring out of my fatigued brain feels like a big achievement. So…if I keep going at this rate, I should be done some time in 2016, along with President Habecker’s overhaul of Taylor University.
But seriously, I know I will finish this. And I will finish this soon. As my deadline draws nearer, the motivation will come. And perhaps it will be a motivation of fear and desperation, but it will work. Here’s my timeline, by the way: March 30th, turn in complete rough draft to my advisor. April 21st, turn in edited, absolutely final draft to the Bible department. A couple of copies will be bound into books, and I will defend my thesis to the faculty sometime in May. At the end of all this, they will hopefully give me my hood and a diploma and I will find a corner to huddle in for a while.
Thanks for being patient with me, readers. As the Ministry of Information liked to say to the British public during WWII, “Keep calm and carry on.”*
*This has been my recent mantra. Feel free to repeat it to yourself in a British accent whenever you are overwhelmed. Perhaps pretend that you are the Queen Mum. Trust me…you will feel better.
**Update** Oh no! Now that I have written this blog post, I feel 0.00% motivation to work on my thesis! The feeling of writing something has dulled whatever small inducement I had to work on the paper! Curses! Well…I’m gonna go have a cookie or something.