There’s a chill in the air. It snowed recently a lovely blanket of white across the landscape outside my window, the garages and sparse trees dotting the area in front of the wall that protects us from the sounds of the highway just behind the complex. My husband and I live in a condo in a very quiet location removed from the hustle and bustle of the nearby shopping district and office buildings. Sometimes it becomes eerily quiet here, thanks to the newly constructed sound barrier that has all but eliminated the road noise coming through our poorly insulated windows. We are fairly quiet people to live next to. We don’t scream too much, play the music too loud, stomp too much on the floor, or run the various appliances in our house past 9 pm. I started to think today about how quiet my life has become. There’s the lack of voices for the most part, but that’s not even what I’m talking about here. It’s the calm of it all, the routine way my days pass by. I’ve tried to embolden the brushstrokes on the canvas of my days, but I’m the first to admit my life is rather dull for the most part. And it has been slowly sculpted to be just that.
I’ve been on medication for over eight years now to combat the symptoms of schizoaffective disorder. Before that I was flighty and rash. I was quick to anger and to fight, but I was also passionately artistic. I wrote brilliantly, or so I was told at the time, and my drawings and paintings always were the most celebrated in my art classes. I was an artist through and through. I even considered going to school for fine arts, an indulgence my parents were quick to dismiss. I have mellowed over the years, my muse stifled by the overwhelming quantity of psychotropic agents coursing through my veins. There are occasional moments of brilliance, where I produce some creation worthy of merit, but they are few and far between.
I wonder on days like these, when the hours go by ever so slowly and torment me with their leisurely pace, “What if I could draw again?” “What if I could really write like I used to?” I ask myself what I would do it for, because practicality has begun to take hold at my roots. I don’t act on a whim, because the consequences could be dire if I do – an impulse to yell at my husband because he’s displeased me for some reason, an urge to stomp around the house and smash things, the temptation to hurt someone or myself. I can’t be responsive to primal urges, for although they are the impetus for many joyful pursuits, they are also potentially dangerous. I know deep down I would never hurt a fly, but I always wonder what would happen if I truly let go and responded to my thoughts as they came to me. The flood of thoughts running swiftly through my conscious mind, and those which hide their faces in my sub-conscious mind as well, have the power to control me should I allow them to. So instead of letting go and truly feeling life as it comes, I must board up the shop in preparation for the perpetually-predicted storm yet to arrive. The storm never comes, but my doors and windows are sealed shut nonetheless. I yearn to break free of my bonds and let the my dreams and desires play catalyst to my actions. The medication, however, makes my life manageable. It makes me into someone who is capable of making something for themself. It makes life simpler and more predictable. It makes everything quiet.
It’s at these times that I wonder where all of the wonder in life went. Am I missing the divine inspiration that would drive me to create? Am I limiting the possibilities of my life by sedating away the not-so-comfortable parts of me? I can’t be sure. I can only hope that there will be glimmers from time to time. In writing this blog, I have found that the act of writing sometimes can expose the artistic soul within me and the joy and genuine gratitude I have for each day that I live to enjoy. I can feel that spirit stirring within my bones, eager to burst forth and be known to me. I have felt the softness of warm summer winds on my face and smiled. I have held a purring cat and found contentment in its comfort. I have inhaled cold dry air and felt the moisture drawn from my throat by winter’s icy grasp. I have felt the pounding of my heart in trepidation from an unexpected night noise. These things I have seen and known, these small snippets provide the color on my canvas. I simply must learn to derive inspiration in new ways. I can no longer depend solely on the impulses that drove me to create in the past; I must now find inspiration on the outside. There is much to be had, I am sure, and I will have to start looking externally for that inspiration. Let nature be my muse and the world guide my fingers on this keyboard and my hands and heart when I touch pencil to paper with the intent to create. Hopefully, those creations will be worthy of some appreciation. If I deem them so, I will, by all means share them with you here.
Thanks for listening.