day 71: stopped

“Why are you agitated?” the red marker etched into my notebook. I was already near the bottom of the page, below lists of reasons I should travel,  and of reasons I should stay.

Pouring out of the pen came reason after reason, each starting with the words “You stopped…”

I have stopped. The Discipline dissolved away as I drove back into LA. Walking into that apartment I unpacked my clothes, shoes and every practice that had gotten me there sober and would ensure I’d stay dry during my stay.

The lack of control of my emotions and my energy and my sleep are driving me mad. There’s a distinct possibility I’m wavering from day to day between depression and happiness. Yesterday I was laughing to myself, asking out loud in an empty room why I was so happy. The day before and today were fields of hopelessness and forced … everything.

“Am I Bipolar?” I asked myself in the shower as I tried to wash off the hours of sleeplessness from last night. This wavering between clouded and awake has me questioning whether there’s a fight going on inside me I’m not even control of.

Then comes rushing in that self doubt. “It’s because you’ve given up,” it screams. And you have. You’ve given up working hard at what you know works because it got boring, repetitive, easy. There’s a new level you can take it to but instead you put your little badge on your little sash and called it a victory.

You can do more than just your book. You can be so much better than just your social media profiles. And it doesn’t need to involve visiting romantic countries or completing marathons. It can start where you are and with what you’re passionate about right now.

My writing tonight started out as a pros/cons list of whether to stay or whether to leave. Whether I should root or fly. As if my physical circumstances dictated my progress in life.

There’s an excuse that keeps begging to be heard and it deserves its space: It’s true I was sick the entire time I was in LA. It’s true I got a cold that lasted until yesterday. But what did I do yesterday and today – I buried myself for hours in front of my phone. This time could’ve easily been spent in a book at the least.

Your goals were easy for LA. Cook Thanksgiving dinner. You cooked each day or spent it on the couch exhausted from being so sick. Your goals here were terribly simple. Get an editor. You didn’t even write while you were here, dribbling over your half assed journal entries that you were just too agitated or sick to write. You could’ve been so much more, done so much more, seen so much more. But you stopped.

Look at what you’re leaving this place with. Nothing. You fuck up.

The goal tonight was to find a plan. I almost wrote purpose, but that’s trite. The goal right now is to follow these things in front of me until the end of the day, and to start again tomorrow. But maybe that’s all I needed to get out of this activity. The reminder that tomorrow I need to wake up, do the things I have to do to keep chasing these opportunities. Putting myself in situations where more will arise. No hunting, no pros and cons lists, just movement through each day with instinct and not intuition, since that has served you so poorly in the past and into the present.

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