Thursday, May 1, 2008

Be Careful What You Wish For

I come from a family with a scientific background. My father was a research chemist for a Fortune 100 company, and my mother was working on a degree in biology when she quit to start a family.

There was never any question about whether I would go to college...I don't recall it even being a choice. And I would, of course, go into the sciences.

So I did the College Thing...and then the Graduate School Thing...mostly to prove to various and sundry parties that I could. And all the while, the urge to write never let up. A craving, a need, an itch that I did not have the time or energy to scratch.

I wanted to change my major to English, but my father--who was footing the bill--wouldn't hear of it. So I spent ten years clawing for a few stolen hours. Feeling like there was all this stuff that needed to come out building up within me to the point that it hurt. All the time.

I became aware that I was split by a serious conflict. I had trained for a career in engineering, a rigid, logical world...but my heart yearned for a life of writing. I felt trapped; I had sacrificed my very soul for a place in Corporate America. Sacrificed it for a life I didn't want.

I could see myself hurtling towards this Career/Mommy kind of life that would deny me the one thing I truly wanted--time to write. And more importantly, energy, for what good is time if you're too tired to take advantage of it? An engineer with the soul of a poet, I joked, but I cried and bled inside.

That was when I knew that I was really a writer. Trapped in a box I had helped build, with the knowledge that I couldn't not write burning me alive from the inside.

When the Chief fell into a job that would earn us enough to manage on one income, I gave up my career aspirations in a heartbeat. Stay home and raise kids...and write? No problem!

So here I am. Happy Ending. Except for the damn Bipolar Disorder. Which led to the damn Medications. Which led to Me Not Being Able to Write.

Now I have the time. I have the energy. But I don't have the desire. Or the drive. Or the ability, anymore, I think.

Damn.

8 comments:

Gianna said...

Keep writing...the blog will keep you practiced.

You know you could see the life you led, the lie as being a contributing factor to your "bipolar." It's a sort of trauma, you know, being untrue to ourselves...and so often trauma is a major contributing cause to "mental illness."

I want to write too some day...I hope I'll get there too...but what we do now is not useless. I know it feels that way sometime but it's not...

Perhaps I've not told you...you inspire and delight me.

Jazz said...

Thank you, Gianna.
Your posts are pretty inspiring too, and you know, you are already writing. Your writing on your blog is awesome.

I have wondered about the whole repressed writer idea being a contributing factor, because it certainly did cause me a lot of stress, especially when I was in graduate school.

It's only recently that I've been able to break away from what modern psychiatry would have me believe, and have been trying to come up with some alternate explanations that make sense to me, given what my life has looked like.

Do you know that none of the doctors I've seen--psychiatrists and therapists alike--have ever really asked about life stresses? It's odd, but you would think those things would have a huge impact on one's mental health...and yet most professionals seem to ignore them completely. I've often wondered if being uprooted when I was just a wee lass and brought to a strange, foreign country might have had something to do with it. Talk about trauma!

Gianna said...

Trauma is a major factor in mental health problems. I'd say upwards of 85% of the people I worked with as a social worker were traumatized.

I was emotionally/physically and sexually abused (a combination of family and a early "boyfriend.")

Not a single doctor ever asked me about that until I met my first orthomolecular doctor. I had never told anyone I had been raped as a teenager and no one asked!! And no one seemed to care about my sick family dynamics.

They used to think about these things...humanistic psychology...like in the 70's. Then it became un-PC to blame parents...

I don't think you have to blame anyone necessarily (though sometimes, yes abuse is blatant and parents should be blamed) often it's just deep seated dysfunction parents pick up from their parents..blame is not helpful...help the whole family heal...look at the sick unit...

also sometimes families have nothing to do with a trauma a child endures that leads to mental anguish so it is wrong to jump on parents for a variety of reasons...

but tossing out trauma as causative factor in mental anguish for the sake of not hurting parents feelings is criminal and that is what has happened.

Jazz said...

Agreed.

I was an extremely anxious child, to the point of making myself sick with worry over having to go to school. I don't blame my parents--they came to the US because they felt my brother and I would have more opportunities here--they were just doing what I do--making the best decision they could with the information they had.

But I also feel that those kinds of things are often overlooked. I've done a lot of journal work over the years, and figured out a lot of things about myself...and none of them are things that were ever addressed in therapy.

I think this whole PC thing has gone way too far, and although it confers protection upon some groups, it is hurting others.

Stephany said...

I think you are a great writer, though I know we have expectations of ourselves, what you write here is good.
My daughters all play musical instruments. Violin,cello,piano,guitar, etc. and when they were nervous for a concert, because of "what if I mess up"; I reminded them that their music was perfect for me and anyone else who wouldn't know a mistake if we heard one.

Keep on writing.
and thanks for supporting me on my blog--it helps me at this time of my life.

Jazz said...

Thanks, Stephany.
That "what if I mess up" fear can be very limiting, if we let it.

Erin Lohden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jazz said...

You're not the only one, Erin. Far from it.

I like to torture myself by thinking about all the stuff I could have written in the last five years if only I'd been able to.