Combination Lock

Three turns to the right. Stop at “Guilt.”

Two turns to the left. Stop at “Self-loathing.”

One turn to the right. Stop at “Guilt for the narcissismĀ of self-loathing.”

Open the safe. Inside, you will find another, small safe.

Three turns to the right. Stop at “Anger.”

Two turns to the left. Stop at “Impatience.”

One turn to the right. Stop at “Self loathing for feeling angry and impatient.”

Open the safe. This time, you’ll find a drawstring bag inside. Open it, and out will flow dozens of small, egg-sizedĀ capsules. Each is clear, with a folded up piece of paper inside of it. You can open the capsules look at the writing on the papers if you like. One will say “Happiness.” Another will say “Misery.” Another will say “Oddball.” Another will say “Unique.”

There’s something else in the cloth bag. If you reach right to the bottom of it, you’ll find a needle. The moment you try to pull it out, you’ll find the cloth bagĀ unraveling. But if you leave the needle in place, you’ll be able to put all the capsules back inside. Then you can draw the strings shut tight, and even tie them. You can put the bag inside the first safe, and put that back inside the second. You know the combination now, so it’s no trouble going in and retrieving the bag whenever you like.

But what if you lock both those safes and throw them into an ecologically correct trash heap? Melt them down, use the metal to make… not bullets or guns, no… not spearheads either… and not jail-bars… how about wrought iron railings, delicate and beautiful, the kind you can train vines and flowers to grow around? Then you can still feel safe, but you don’t have to look at a cage or a weapon. You can’t use the railings against yourself, because you can step over them and make them beautiful. Forget the flowers – even without them, they’re beautiful. Just wait, see if other people admire them. I’ll bet you they will.

What about the bag, you ask? Well, that’s still with you, isn’t it? Tie it to your belt. Let people look into it sometimes. Let the people you love go in deeper, and sometimes maybe take a risk with a stranger. Don’t worry, they can’t steal anything. Even if they take one of those capsules in there, a new one will pop back instead of it. But more importantly, spend some time with that bag yourself. Look into it. Sort it out. See what belongs and what doesn’t. See, this is the magic about it – if anyone else tries to take something away, it’ll pop right back. But if you give it to them willingly or get rid of it yourself, it’s gone for good.

Careful, though. Don’t throw away “Compassion,” or “Love,” or even “Fear.” Don’t let yourself throw all of it away, both good and bad. Keep most of it. Just sort out things like “Pointless Guilt” and “Worthlessness” and you’ll have a good start going.

But remember the combination. If you don’t know how to open that first safe, you’ll never get anywhere. What if the combination changes, you ask? Ah, well, if it does, I trust you’ll be able to listen to that little click-click when the wheel hits the right place, so you’ll crack it in no time. Just make sure to try.

A Thought On Writing

Although I’m writing about essay-writing in this particular instance, I’m pretty sure that this happens in creative writing as well.

There is a point, while writing something, when your brain simply goes numb. You catch yourself staring at the computer screen or at the notebook in front of you, and for a moment you’re almost sure that no thoughts have gone through your head for the past two minutes. Of course, if you think about it, you realize that you’ve been thinking the whole time, but not about anything profound or interesting – definitely not about what you’ve been writing. Rather, you’ve been thinking about your next meal, or the dress your friend just bought, or the trees with their pretty autumn leaves outside.

It’s a strange sensation – almost like your mind is betraying you, for once it gets to this point, it’s often really hard to get your mind to function properly once more. You may need, at this point, to get up and stretch and do something completely different. If you try to stare at the page for much longer, you’ll fall into despair and won’t manage, under any circumstances, to write something you’re pleased with. It’s a tricky situation, and one which I’ve been reaching over and over again in the past couple weeks.

The real problem is when you don’t let yourself take that break from whatever you’re writing. It’s a problem I repeat too much. I need to learn to listen to my brain, and when it tells me to stop and get up and do something else, I should do it, instead of sit and force myself to write for another half hour or hour or two or three. Having said that, I am, of course, going back to my extremely poorly written essay, even though my brain is going fuzzy. Alas, I must ignore my own conclusions for tonight.

Sunday-Monday-Blah-Blah-Blah

Think of everything Monday represents for you: the beginning of the week, errands, traffic, going back to work, the end of the weekend, Garfield hates it too, MISERY. Yes, that’s what most people feel about Mondays. Now, picture that for a moment in your mind. And now, transfer it all to SUNDAY.

Yes, in Israel Sunday is the first day of the week. Mondays are just another day, just one step closer to Friday and Saturday. Sundays are our first days, and I can only imagine how weird that is to anyone who lives anywhere else. Sundays for most of you mean another day of rest, a day to sleep in, a day where everything is shut down, a day when there’s no mail! But here? Nope! Here, Sundays are the dreaded first day and Saturdays are the blissful weekend.

I mention this because I know I’m going to find it extremely odd to move and live somewhere where Sundays are another day off. Which makes me wonder about our definitions for things- just because Sundays are defined here as the first day of the week, that’s what’s going to be embedded in my brain forever. The rest of the world sees Sunday as the weekend but I’ll forever have this small part of my mind thinking that Sunday is the dreaded beginning of another work week.

Forgive my rambling and pointless post, but excitement for the coming-leave-taking on April ninth is addling my brain – especially now that I got accepted to Sarah Lawrence. I’m not gloating, really I’m not!

Cathartic Description

A white blaze of fire seems to travel from the nape of my neck and all the way up to the crown of my skull. It spreads as it goes, reaching places in my face and bone structure that I’m normally not even aware of. There are so many parts of the ear that I never notice, but when the pain creeps up the side of my face I realize just how complex the cartilage of the ear is and how soft and susceptible to pain the skin right behind it is.

My jaw is even more attuned than I am. I can almost hear it protesting and groaning as the painful fire shoots flame after licking flame into it. I can feel the long bone, stretching from right next to my ear and down almost to my chin, and I can feel the creaks in it as I try to open my mouth wide enough to yawn the inevitable nauseous yawn that is caused by the painful flames.

My eyebrow and eye seem to be warring for my ultimate attention, each begging to be soothed by the firm press of a finger or palm. The eyebrow and the bone behind it win out, because the poor eye gets even more painful when given over to the practice of being rubbed firmly by the knuckles of my fingers.

Writing about it doesn’t really help, but it seems like a better way of dealing with the pain than banging my head against a wall.

Distraction

A buzzing drone in my ear, I struggled to open my mouth in anything other than a pointless flapping and ranting of facts and figures. As my mind struggled to stay with the task of solving problems, complaints and mistakes, my fingers itched to be of use, and dragged my mind elsewhere, time after time.
It was hard to believe that the despair that had overtaken my mind and emotion just hours earlier seemed to have dissipated and dissolved under those same itching fingers, those same thoughts that were causing my mind to wander and my mouth to smile more often than not. The feeling of my fingers flying across the small pages in those precious few minutes between the chattering of voices in my ear – ah! The best feeling in the world, to be for once creating instead of venting, making up instead of putting down facts.
The ink flowing from the pen seemed to give birth to new ideas and characters with every twitch of my fingers, clutching the pen so tightly that my arm began to ache before long. My mind flowed with names, situations, ideas, friendships, worlds – all so far and free from my own that they made me dizzy just to think about them and the control and power my make-believing mind would have on them.
The hours passed quicker than they ever had before – even when I could not write for an hour or two at a time, my brain never ceased to create and invent and add flourishes to the characters and their unique traits and situations. It was the best distraction, and I’m not minded to forget it any time soon.

Fatigue and Mental Health Days

Even people who love their jobs totally and unreservedly must have days where they’re weary to the bone and need to rest. It might come on by a soar throat and an aching head, it might come on by a long period of time without a proper vacation, or it may come out of nowhere or out of some irrational, emotional state.

Whatever it may be, sometimes you just need to take a day off. A day during which you let yourself sleep late, let yourself forget about the cares and worries of responsibility, let yourself be completely idle and enjoy every minute of it.

Well, you SHOULD be able to let yourself do all that. I, for some odd reason, have a fixation over this issue. I feel like if I’m not actually sick, fever and all, then it’s wrong for me to take a day off. I did take a day off today, and I did come home early from work yesterday, and I did have a soar throat and a tiny bit of a fever last night – and yet, I wasn’t truly ill, and I spent half the day feeling guilty about not having gone to work.

Uh-oh. I feel a workaholic in the making. Better nip this urge in the bud before it’s too late!

Vibes

One of the most magnificent and incredible things to me are how days can change from being unbearable to face to being calm, peaceful, enjoyable and rewarding. There are those mornings where you may wake up and just feel so tired, so sad, so completely unprepared to face a day of work and socializing and exercise and travel. And yet, when the day goes by, step by step, you realize that you’re going through the motions without a negative thought in your head.

What is it about human nature that makes us so utterly easy and open to change of moods? Not always, of course not – sometimes we’ll retain a bad mood for hours and refuse to let ourselves budge from it. And yet, sometimes the simple act of human kindness, of a smile or a voice, can help raise our spirits. Sometimes even nice weather and a light breeze can be enough to raise a smile on our lips.

It also always seems to happen most that when we don’t expect it, we suddenly experience the change. In the midst of a raging temper, one might be startled into a laugh. In between sobs, someone might be kind enough to make us smile. We are fickle creatures indeed, but one cannot help but be thankful for it if it helps us get rid of bad vibes.