Today was a good day.
I’ve been listening to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn at work, and it has made the day job situation even more tolerable than before. I’m still perpetually afraid of letting ‘tolerable’ graduate into anything more than that. On the way out to my car, I griped about the workplace with the process engineer who sits down the row from me. I chided myself for that as I got into my car to go home. I never wanted to be that guy who cares enough to complain. As if doing so meant that complacency and comfort and contentment was sneaking up on me – and succeeding in its predator-on-prey stalk.
That aside, though, the work itself has been great. I’ve been doing a whole lot of nothing. Nothing to the point where I can feel the paranoia that often intertwines the spiny tendril of guilt penetrate my mind. Like, someone has to know, right? Someone has to know that I sit and just listen to my book. I zone out for quarters of hours at a time, just listening to the rhythmic cadence of the narrator’s voice intoning the twisted fantasy that Flynn cooked up. I think you can tell that I’ve been reading (audioreading) more. I like that. I’ve been entertaining notions like ‘being cocooned with this novel,’ and I really like that. I told Sofia today that I’m excited to ‘emerge’ from my cocoon and put into practice what I’ve learned from Flynn.
One major takeaway – one that has been easy to take, given Flynn’s writing style and nimble prose – is that my whole “honest writing” schpeal has merit. It needed a key focusing lens, though: nobody cares about my honesty. Not unless it’s there to impart some worldly wisdom. Or give confirmation bias. Or change perspectives. My job, then, becomes to create characters that a reader is actually interested in hearing the honesty from. Half of Flynn’s novel is devoted to the cerebrally, heady honesty of the male protagonist, Nick Dunn (I’m assuming that’s how his name is spelt. Squat. Unassuming. The opposite of high-falooting). She gives the reader a cross-section of his subconscious in a way that lays his character so bare that it’s uncomfortable at times. But it makes you root for the guy. It makes it feel like it’s happening to me. Hell, the early book had me feeling down about my relationship, even. As it advanced, I felt better and better. Then it crossed the starting threshold and actually started making me feel great about my relationship. To see where this toxic couple went wrong. To see the blight that mental illness and dissatisfaction with life can be on a relationship. It soured for them – through fault of both of the – and Flynn spares no detail telling us how it did. However, in doing so, it gave me the lens through which to see how my relationship is different. How my mental health issues made me look and act and sound. How and why cheating can look like an option – for me being a scary risk that I felt powerless in front of. That was a big one. Nick fell into the arms of the idea of a woman who found him sexy. He did that because he didn’t get that feeling from his wife anymore. He didn’t get that feeling from his wife anymore because he felt like a fuck up in front of her all the time. But Fia doesn’t make me feel like a fuck up. She cares about me. She shows it, too.
And I checked everything off my to-do list today, too. And my camera equipment came in. And I ordered more. I need to be cautious with this head of steam. Wrestle with it. Not let it get out of the reigns. Letting go and allowing it to soar me into the atmospheres of happinesses above would feel good, but the crash back to the Earth would hurt worse for it. Instead, I want to keep in mind where this updraft came from, spread it out, nurture it, and hold onto it for as long as I can.
I love you, Sofia. I hope you can see me trying. I’m trying for both of us.
I just wish that the happiness didn’t feel so scary. Ominous. As if I should know better than to relish it. As if relishing it meant that I was being naive. I don’t want to put Sofia through more of my own, personal emotional valleys. Letting her experience the real, happy me instead of the cold, anxious, frantic me is more important than experiencing it myself. I’m just trying to hold on to this. I’m scared of myself in times like this. Time and time again do I prove that it’s only temporary. I don’t want it to be temporary this time. I want it to last. I want to work with it. Negotiate terms. Settle up. I need it. I need it for us, and for her. She matters so much to me. So damn much.
Sweet dreams, traveling buddy. I’ll be right there.