From one post to the next, it’s somewhat plain to see that my moods are very much situationally dependent — what seems upbeat one day can easily sour the next. It’s something I’m painfully aware of, but it’s not easily fixed. I’m starting to see some of the old patterns I fell into before fleeing the country for Spain starting to reemerge and they have self-destruction written all over them. Drinking too much, pursuing relationships with emotionally ambiguous or unavailable men, putting off the important things on a growing to-do list. While I derive some short-lived happiness from these activities, overall the path I’m on always leads to a mental dead end.
I was in a good place when I moved back to Baltimore this past October but for reasons not totally clear to me, I’ve started slipping again. I pride myself on my self-awareness and can often understand why things are going the way they are, but in certain instances, I feel as if I’m lost in a thick fog within my head, hands outstretched for balance while my feet take plodding and cautious steps. This feels like one of those times.
It seems as if the simplest cure would be a period of isolation during which I can refocus my priorities and get a grip on the good sense that is slowly slipping through my fingers. I should be spending more time on writing and photography; tangible things that bring me a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. I need to work on getting back to that place where I don’t care so much.
I’ve developed a bit of an obsession lately with Sylvia Plath and it’s not because of her poetry. To be honest, I don’t really enjoy poetry at all. I listen to music on an almost constant basis, using lyrics that resonate with my own life to help me think through challenging situations or as a source of comfort. A lot of my favorite artists are very poetic and so I wonder why I can’t appreciate written poetry like the songs I cherish so much. So no, while Sylvia is an acclaimed poet and in my mind, a literary genius, it’s her life and personal struggles that I most identify with. I understand the dark cloud looming over an otherwise charmed and successful life; the recognized loss of control that tightens its grip around your throat while others around you can’t see that you’re unable to breathe. I find reading biographical accounts of her life, along with her personal diary, lend me some personal insight and also help me to feel that someone so similar and outwardly normal also had a raging storm within. The end of her story, however, is a tragic one.
I always feel the need to end these posts with a modified pep talk about how I need to do this or that to get back on track, but I’m not going to do that this time. Instead I’ll just leave a photo that for me embodies one of those moments of happiness, a simple walk through the city, finding little instances of beauty to photograph in this rocky city.