The Edge of Ebb
This is what I've got today. No matter the innumerable times this has happened, I cannot wrap my head around how quickly my state of mind can shift from found to lost.
How can the color drain so quickly? The flush of alert freshness and good order. A call-and-response way of doing the day. This state is limitless. When you are in it. Then some kind of a switch goes off and the cables fizz and sputter as they flail and cross each other into a tangle. Analogies come to mind, other instances of the swift switch. Like the glory of selecting Young M.C.'s Bust a Move on the Karaoke jukebox (only minutes after slugging a glass of whisky you don't normally drink with a type of man you don't normally date) then the delirium that drains out of your brain the instant the floor drops out and you haven't even hit the first chorus. Joy / Humiliation.
You hum like a well-oiled machine. Then it's spanners galore. You can call these moments of realization. But until they are fully realized, you can't get out of them.
That's the thing with flow, it's intoxicating, so when the tide goes back out you can either focus on the potential of the new wave building up or get stuck in the muck. I'm usually pretty good about trusting this process but there are times, not measured in hours but in days on end when it's as though I have never been here before and marvel at the shearing of my mind. Or, perhaps, the marvel is that I cannot will the mind back to the cosy autopilot I thought I had programmed to be fool-proof. I guess that makes me a fool.
I am writing to you today from the edge of the ebb.
It's the packed brain feeling. A rabid rage stews in the knowledge Flow has ended and you are mired in the waning, drained of power. Even more so when the tried and true rescue tactics don't seem to take hold. The transformation back to peace is not felt here. This brain feeling begs release - I want a crank installed in the base of my skull so that, like the Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop toy, the contents can ooze out of eyeholes, earholes, and mouth in twisted multi-color twirls. A gruesome cotton-candy colored release. How to describe overwhelm infused with fear? OK, here is something: Big Boggle. Have you ever played that game? That's what trying to write this blurb is like. Something tossed me in the air and all the cubes of expression are shaken so abruptly there's no way they will find their places again in the neat grid below.
If I bring this new episode of burning confusion to therapy she might say "why all the game references?" Surely this is an old familiar feeling toying with me.
Maybe my mind is just grabbing what it can for lack of a better plan. That's why it's good to have so many idioms tucked away in the cerebral crevasses. When you can't express something, you can always use someone else's words. Metaphors can stand in for me. To try to go deep now, to understand it is not an option - not from the edge. It's safer to still oneself on the mid-line, on the edge of the ebb.
From here I can say that it's not so much the quickness of the shift from one mind-state to another, but the stark contrast of the two territories. Watching it is the only way to survive it. To recognize a pattern at the very least lets you know each part will eventually end, giving way to the next. To repeat 'This too shall pass' refers to good things as much as the bad. So, I walk and look up and take in the starlings at play and the mist up ahead dispersing on the mountain. I greet my sheep friends and try not to get hit by a car. I am alert, yet not convinced I will regain confidence. Nonetheless, I repeat the prompts, just as my teacher told me to.
Breathe in/Breathe out
I wrote this yesterday but hesitated to post it. I entrusted myself not to censor this free-association rant, although it may reach the reader as cryptic, but it's all I've got and it is honest. This morning I remembered another mad game of my own design. Something created to express the need to relieve the mental pressure. The image of a sketch from 1989 joins this post. Something I felt but never actually created in tangible form. It is a proposal I handed in for an installation sculpture.
Yes, this is an old familiar feeling. Do you know it too?