A lack of sleep, brilliant skies, my desk so clean and minimalist it has an almost Scandinavian feel to it. I have not been losing sleep over work except if you count the times I worked until midnight because I did not work the day. My eyes are puffy and red today, like I have been crying. But I cannot remember the last time I cried. Oh actually I do. The last time was when I lay in bed thinking about mother, at a different home on the other side of town, and how she must be very very lonely. The guilt was horrible and sad. I cried silently, wishing that I was less loved and less pain-inflicting.
Today my puffy red eyes are without explanation. Probably an allergy, or lack of calcium, or something. Probably the new expensive mascara I wore on the weekend. Lazy morning weekends consisting of closed blinds with no errant sunlight to break my sleep, no other voice to pierce the dark. Flapping about luxuriously in between four squishy pillows and his warm heat. Hugging him, getting uncomfortably warm, turning away and hugging bolster, getting boringly cold, back to hugging him, repeat ad infinitum until I become thirsty or hungry for substantial actual food and not just soul food. My new expensive mascara stares back at me from the morning mirror with a beautifully tragic hangover look that is the result of no hangover whatsoever, just the unfortunate trap of being hugged before I had time to wash my face. Endless sleepless nights just talking and not walking. This tiny paradise where dreams and ideas are made but the effort to materialize them can wait another day.
I get to it eventually, the work that must be done. I am an apparently smart and responsible sort of thing. I can apparently count on my inner panic to settle in at some point to clear the mess that I have made. The contracts, the emails, the press interviews, the magazine shoots of late, the presentation slides for my lecture, the "reach-outs" and "shout-outs". Fine, snap, done, next. I can decide my fate for the day, my clothes to wear, my causes to act upon, without a single intervention and I am liberated to a fault. The only thing standing between me and the thing that I want most is that shadow, that shadow of doubt, that pulsating gloomy mess that shrouds my vision from what I could possibly really want to do.
My sleepless nights are filled with enjoying the moment and dreading the morning. Because the morning is when I have to make decisions. The morning is when I have to tell myself: Go to work. Face the traffic. Stop browsing "beautifully written" articles. Stop procrastinating on color combinations for the kitchen. Stop staring out your window imagining half-baked story plots.
"You know what you really are?" he said.
"What am I?"
"You're an artist."
If I were an artist I would have at least gotten some of the ideas done. Instead I am traipsing about town in my mascara and dresses, acting like the brainy professional with a passion for activism. But I am happy tonight and yesternight and I will be happy tomorrow night, voluntarily sleep-deprived and puffy-eyed.