While I’m not prone to complaining, I know there is market for it, but I’m not really here to market myself, so I guess I’m here to complain. Measured against much of the world, I really don’t have much to complain about, but lately, as friend Bob says, I got a “restless hungry feeling that don’t mean no one no good."
There is a reason Steinbeck, and Shakespeare before him, called it The Winter of Our Discontent, and not the summer.
Dealing with this rise of unspecified discontent and restlessness is something the pharmaceutical industry would probably have a prescription for. I’m not buying it. Instead I’m going to hold a recent event accountable: New Year’s.
Since we swirl in one big space-time continuum, not much changes with the flip of the calendar. Seems to me a sense of ‘renewal’ should be celebrated in Spring when the earth awakens, buds pop on trees, and other pretty things come alive. This relentless commercial diet of ‘New and Improved’, whether laundry soap or otherwise, leaves me underwhelmed.
While I had no grand expectations, the blush of the ‘New’ has faded.
I remain unsettled in these first days of Twenty-Twelve, and I recognize this impatient creature within myself. She has kept me company most of my life. In younger years, I found myself giving into her impulsive nature. Now that I’m older, she creeps up in the same fashion; a buzz in the center of my brain that radiates outward. (And no, it’s not a hot flash!) Only two weeks into the New Year and I’m wrestling with this sister who, in yesteryear, served my daring enterprises well. I used to follow her down that brick road but that just doesn’t make much sense anymore. She is quite a temptress though.
Women’s magazines would tell me this "hungry feeling" is PMS. I don’t buy that either. I’ve never let my biology determine my behaviour month to month. Basically, if I’m a bitch it’s because I mean to be; not some ovarian occurrence I have no control over.
Dabblers in astrology would tell me, having been being born in the summer, the sun is now furthest from my natal point, hence this restlessness paired with lulls and lows. Come to think of it, fortune-tellers and seers have held onto my steady palms and unanimously told me, “You have an impulsive nature and tendency for escapism.”
I wanted to say, “Have you met my family?" That would explain everything.
From a very young age, I’ve had a personal herstory of escape, either in the upstairs attic, curled up behind long curtains, or in the backyard far from the madding crowd. The interior landscape I ran to always included words, then songs. I’d squirrel myself away exploring the terroir of consonants, vowels, sentences, syntax, rhythm and verse.
Then for a time, I escaped into water colours and then oil painting; the wafting of turpentine providing heady inspiration mixed with images of dutch irises and sun flowers in our back forty - a little piece of paradise à la Niagara. I poured myself into creative pursuits one drop of colour at a time.
But those gypsies … they were right about my tendency which could fill a psychology textbook. Art was the great escape. Then music.
Somewhere along the line, someone - my brother, if I recall correctly - passed me some marijuana. Aware of my propensity, all the more diligence and discipline was required to keep myself on track.
As I got a little older, more manufactured escapism was oh-so easy to come by. I have of course, kept all things in check, because as Moe Berg (from the Pursuit of Happiness) sings,
“ I can’t take any more illicit drugs
I can’t afford any artificial joy
I’d sure look like a fool dead in a ditch somewhere
with a head full of chemicals
Like some cheese-eating high school boy”
“Yes, I’m an adult now" and have been for about 30-ish years.
Presuming I live to one hundred (God forbid), I am now firmly ensconced in middle-age. Truth is, I’m fifty going on fifteen. Okay, I’m exaggerating …
Yes, lately there is something stirring in me that makes me want to throw down the gauntlet of my responsibilities, day job and revert to a Bohemia I once knew and loved.
After all, a girl/woman can dream.
Still, I’m trying to find the creative impetus behind this recent restlessness. Maybe I just have to write it out, and exorcise these feelings, to free it up.
Although I’m a tad reluctant in the company of peers to bring my immaturity up over a nice glass of Cabernet Franc with canapés, next time I’m dressed in finery, I'm thinking of blurting out,
“Have you seen your mother, baby, standing in the shadows?
I know I'm a little 'out of time' and don't expect to be understood. So, I'll let you know what happens.
© Scarlett Sumac 2012