Friday, July 30, 2021

Of Whiplash and Twisties

It has been another week of whiplash--not literal whiplash, but events that leave me feeling unsettled.  When gymnast Simone Biles explained her decision to withdraw from Olympic events by saying she got "the twisties," I thought that I knew exactly what she means, even though I have never been able to hurl myself through the air the way that she does.

I have been hurling myself through life in other ways, though.  We all have, in so many ways.

This week came the CDC reversal on mask guidance.  Is reversal the word?  Maybe I should say evolving guidance?  In some ways, that didn't feel like whiplash--I've been expecting it since the guidance in May that told us that vaccinated people could take their masks off.  I knew it wouldn't be for long. 

Another thing that has given me a bit of whiplash has been the sorting that I've been doing:  boxes of memorabilia, boxes of rough drafts, shelves of books, closets of clothes.  This sorting has been giving me a case of the twisties, where I go whirling into space and worry about a crash landing.

On the one hand, I'm amazed: look at all the stuff I've written through the years, and here's every card my parents ever sent me and letters from all sorts of friends through the years. On the other hand, it makes me sad. I look at a huge pile of short stories I wrote and old poems, and that mean voice inside says, "Why aren't you a more successful writer?" I look at cards I've kept from people I can no longer tell you who they are, and I feel sad for letting go of people. Then I wonder if they let go of me because I'm such a bad friend, even though I think I'm a good friend. That's a bad spiral.

It's so easy to remember all the times I let people down, but not think about all the times that I've been supportive. At times, as I've sorted through things, I've wondered if my spouse would have been happier with someone else, someone with more similar interests, someone who wasn't as self-contained as I can be. Maybe he would have been happier now, with healthier habits.

Or maybe he'd have felt smothered and left that person and now be living under a bridge. I do realize there are worse outcomes than what he has now and the ideal life that I imagine he could have had with someone else.

I also look at old pictures, and I feel like this woman that once had interests and read books, but now gets home from work and just watches mindless TV. I tell myself that once we get the move done and the house ready for market, I'm likely to have interests again. And getting all the seminary and candidacy stuff done has been a huge project. I do have interests, but they're not the usual ones that people talk about. But then there's that mean voice in my head again.

It's so strange to feel like this boring, washed up person--at the same time, I'm getting my books for seminary and getting really psyched.

It's no wonder I'm feeling a bit of whiplash.

1 comment:

WH said...

I can relate to the twisties and whiplash too. Nice analogies. I had packed up my masks and was out and about with vaccinated people. Now? Well, my mask is on again. And I too wonder where my creativity is sometimes and why I'm not a more successful writer. As a ghostwriter, my name rarely comes to light and the work is often changed. I sometimes feel a little anachronistic, totally out of step. And even boring. Thanks for sharing.