Sara and I were lost. Again. Well, sort of lost. We knew where we were and we could even see where we were going, but we just couldn’t get there. Has that happened to you? Can I get an amen?
This was last week, on our way to meet for happy hour with a bunch of other YA writers to commiserate, comingle, and imbibe some deliciousness. For some unknown reason, Sara and I usually miss a turn and have to backtrack or re-track. This time, the reason was clear, up on a big sign that made us both laugh and pull over the car for a photo op.
Of course I demanded a picture with it, in which I offered my best moody face. What’s funny and probably not an accident is that while inserting the picture into this blog entry, I couldn’t get it right side up. Oh, Moody Detour. Why do you hurt so good?
Seeing the sign that day, I felt a little like Steve Martin in L.A. Story. Because I am actually on a moody detour, one that’s lasted most of the summer.
Por kwa, you ask?
Well, it is a blessing and a curse for myself and those close to me that I happen to have a strong will to make stuff. I can’t help but look towards how things could or might be. A few weeks back, I had an astrology reading with my brilliant friend Marna, in which she referenced how my chart points to an almost manic drive to create. Boy did that resonate. If I’m not making something–making a collage, making a break for it, making out–I’m not happy. And if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
I recognize that this drive needs to be balanced with and is in fact fed by rest and refuel, and although I need the latter as much as the former, I don’t have that same manic drive to relax.
That’s something I have to push myself to do and which I haven’t quite done enough of this summer. I’ve had fits and spurts of down time, but only the kind where I just barely unwind and then spring right back into action.
Not to mention that when I put off rest time, I find that all kinds of things have been lining up for me in the refuel zone. Things I haven’t wanted to think about or address. So the refuel zone turns into a sorry-we-have-to-take-apart-the-whole-engine zone.
For instance, inside my engine are thoughts like this: as much as our world is collectively willing to change externally, many people seem hard pressed to make internal changes. So multitudes of people are fighting to be up to date with the newest app, but are still stuck inside. People love getting new drapes or new cabinet knobs, but refuse to try on a new way of thinking, even if it would really help. Which makes me feel all countercultural alienated, and which also makes me want to throw cabinet knobs.
As I get all judgy about other people’s stuckness, I can’t help but notice my own and put myself on trial, too. I can become so fixated on change and creation that I become an oxymoron: a liberal fundamentalist. The worst kind.
Oy. No wonder I’m on this Moody Detour.
So where does it go? What do I do? What do any of us do when we’re grumpy and stuck and sad?
As my therapist Brooke said last week, “You’re not going to like my answer.”
“Hit me,” I said.
“I think you just sit with it.”
“You’re right,” I said. “What else you got?”
So there’s no secret door out of the MD, no way to teleport, no way around the way around??
Nope, none of the above.
Basically, I have to go on my Moody Detour, just go with it–which is the more aerobic style of sitting with it for you exercise nuts–and even if it’s like Groundhog Day or that part in European Vacation in which they do the same London loop a kazillion times (Look, kids! Big Ben, Parliament!), I just need to see what’s there and possibly what treasure I might pick up for when I get back to the main road: a shot glass or a T-shirt or better yet, a lesson that I absorb into my bloodstream so that it begins to heal me and then by proxy is a gift to those around me. I’m hoping it’ll be a good one.
And you? How do you handle–or not handle–your moody detours? Alternately, if you never have them, do tell! I’d love to know how the other half lives.
Wishing you lots of good road snacks and tunes to ease the journey.