Am I Allowed to Write About That?
“I’ve been having some unsettling thoughts lately,” I told him.
“In what way?” he asked without missing a beat. That’s why I liked our sessions so much: he never missed a beat. There were no long, awkward pauses of me fidgeting, wondering if he was waiting for me to talk first or wondering what he was thinking in his head.
“Mostly about myself,” I said with a shrug, scooting further backwards onto the couch only to remember that, if I do that, my feet won’t reach the floor. I readjusted so my toes were grazing the carpet. This is important to me.
“About my writing,” I clarified after I was comfortable. “I’ve been trying to find the separation between myself and my writer self, but I don’t know if that’s possible anymore. I worry that I get myself into situations on purpose just to cause conflict because, well, a writer can’t write if there isn’t any conflict.
I know that my ordinary self doesn’t exactly want to feel the lowest of lows, but my writer self thrives on that and I’ve been wondering if it’s not entirely accidental. I feel so intensely about everything and it can be overwhelming for me.”
We discussed this for a few minutes but, like every conversation, we soon got sidetracked.
“How’s your internship going?” he asked, remembering that I had a meeting with my boss recently.
“Amazing!” I said, my whole body suddenly electric from head to toe. I leaned forward in my seat, planting both feet firmly on the ground. “We’re going to start edits soon.”
“Good! I can see that you love it,” he said with a smile. “Your whole face lit up! Even your body language changed.”
“I do love it. My boss keeps telling me that the job isn’t all fun and games, but everything she gives me to do is a thrill for me. She worries that I’m a bit naive, mostly due to my overeagerness, but she also says that’s what sets me apart from other interns. I just have to rein it back a bit, I think.”
“Because I fangirl,” I laughed. “I can’t help it! I meet someone whose work inspires me and I swoon. I almost fainted a few summers ago when I met an author whose work I’ve been reading since I was 13. She complimented my hair and I swear I almost hit the ground.” We both laugh.
“So maybe you need to figure out a way to take it all in slowly, rather than let it overwhelm you.”
I sat back in my seat, folding my hands in my lap, waiting for him to put the pieces together.
“That’s exactly it,” I said after half a second of waiting. “That’s exactly why I’m here. You just saw it firsthand, the range of energy my emotions can draw out of me. The passion is great. Interning, writing… it’s a high for me. And that’s great. But I also get the lows, and they’re equally as overwhelming, if not more.
That excitement you just saw from just talking about something that excites me… imagine that same energy except in the lowest form. That’s how I get. I’m passionate about everything, even my depression.”
I could see the lightbulb going off in his head, and I released a metaphorical breath I hadn’t realized I had been holding. Finally, finally, finally, finally, finally. Finally. I finally got someone to understand what it is I’ve been struggling with saying.
“What helps you in those times?” he asked, jotting a note or two down on his paper. He takes a lot of notes, which, unlike most people, doesn’t bother me at all. I’d rather not repeat myself in therapy sessions.
“Writing,” I answered, “it helps, but then it’s right back to square one. Am I feeling these things because I’m feeling them? Or is it because I’m searching for conflict?”
He didn’t have any answers for me, because how could he? Being a writer has become my identity. I’ve become bilingual over the course of my life. Even as I’m speaking to my therapist about how unsettled I feel about my need to write, I was writing this out in my head. My thoughts are an endless stream of unedited narration. My fingers itch to write all the time. I think that’s why I fidget as much as I do.
Written words seem to be the only thing I can hold on to these days.
So who am I? Who am I if you stripped me of ink and paper and left me with blood and bones?
I have no fucking clue.
I’m trying not to care.
Amy Rose Lipsky is tiny, and fairly optimistic for someone who calls herself ‘The Saddest Girl in the World’. She believes in both fairy tales and aliens, and isn’t sure which one she’d be more excited to experience. She hopes to be your best friend.