Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What's Words?

For months now I've been living in a world of constant and interminable sleep deprivation. It has changed every aspect of my life. I've gained a lot of benefits from what I'm doing, which is teaching early morning seminary to 5 teenagers at church and a new experience for myself.  But the sleep thing has been Item #1 for 8 months.  I never even experienced anything like it with a newborn.  I don't need to go on a big whine fest but perhaps just a tiny one?

One of the tragedies of this lifestyle change is it's completely 100% zapped my ability to be creative.  I laughed when I wrote that because at times I hardly have any cognitive ability whatsoever, about anything. I can move my body. The motor skills are there (for the most part. I've found a lot of new bruises on my body lately). But cognitive? Thinking? processing thoughts? Forget that.  I've never been in such a state.  I'm thinking it's not just getting up early that takes the toll (and which, by the way, never got easier) but the burden and worries and and constant thoughts on this thing called seminary. Seminary is life. 

I have a good friend here who serendipetously is in the same position so we just talk and talk and talk and talk and talk to each other about it. We're like a married couple who has to force themselves to NOT talk about the kids.  But then we do it anyway.  At the end of the week when it's accumulated to epic proportions, we call each other and laugh/cry/freak out at our inability to function or even speak a sentence. Not to mention deal with the pressures of the job outside the physical aspects. We've come up with the phrase we say that explains our stupor of everything, our garbled language after we just give up trying, resigned to the fact that we don't actually know talking afterall. It's so good I've made it the title of this post:

"What's words?"

We just don't understand them anymore.  Talking? Words? What?  What's words?  It's pretty perfect and one of my favorite seminary jokes that have risen from the year (there are a lot). You can use it too when you're tired and slurring your speech and feeling like a dummy.

But the zero creativity has made me extremely sad. It's a big part of me and i feel like it's dead dead gone, DEAD.  Thus the lack of blog posts (I'm sure everyone has noticed/cares).  But I hate it. I don't like it. Even if I really can't do it. Even if i can't think of anything new or interesting or coherent and it's not my fault,  I hate it.  It's really important to me to have all my faculties, you know? I like having my wits about me. I never get the laughing gas at the dentist and dislike cold medicine because i hate feeling outside of my body. I hate not feeling in control. So every once in a while I give myself writing exercises. As we all know, the brain is a muscle and I have to exercise to get better.   i feel like I've been stripped of everything i've ever had and had to begin again. Sigh.

Every attempt to write or be creative is kind of excruciating.  But i have to keep going because i have to believe that one day I'll get it back.  So here I am, blogging, but it's work.  It's exercise. And the things i produce won't necessarily be great. I'm not even shooting for that. I just need to grit my teeth and do something.  And I'm going to do all that i can to lay out some thoughts in hopes that I can make something of them. Because even if they're nothing at first, perhaps they can be transformed?  It's not even that i just have to practice writing again, I have to practice thinking. I've just never had to do this before. I've always been quite good at it, the thinking. So frustrating. I hate feeling dumb all the time, in such a dense stupid fog all the time.  Sometimes it takes me a good 7 seconds to come up with a word. A stupid word that everyone should know.

So let's have some thoughts! Jen's thoughts.  On Jen's log. Thoughts I'm thinking because I have thoughts. Deep thoughts. Interesting thoughts. (-- pep talk) Ok, lemme see what I can dig up here.

1. A few weeks ago we visited the NY Botanic Gardens. We have some stellar Gardens here in Bklyn but these other ones are in the Bronx, near the zoo, and supposed to be bigger and better.  While lovely, i'm happy to say i don't necessarily prefer them to ours, and I love that ours are special to me on a personal level. I feel sentimental about it, which was sort of surprising.  While there I went into the gift shop and finally, at long last, purchased myself something I've always wanted: A butterfly habitat wherein to raise and grow butterflies.  yay!

Everyone does this, but not me, until now. So i ordered my caterpillars and they arrived and let me tell you, if you haven't done it, it's...amazing.  They eat and grow and eat and grow at such an astounding rate. And then they climb to the top of the cup lid, hook into a J, and make their chrysalis! And you don't have to do anything but watch and marvel at the wonder and miracle of science!  It's everything I hoped it would be. Right now they're metamorphosing and I'm just loving it. I can't believe this process is real. As I type their cells are rearranging--whaa? It feels like science fiction. Go nature!  We moved them over to the habitat and i talk to them like little wrapped up alien babies. I sat at the piano just now, something i haven't done in a cougar's age, and began to play a soft gentle tune, asking Sean if he thought my playing would affect them. He replied he didn't think it would bother them. No, i said. I mean, did he think they'd turn into even better, more beautiful butterflies, like plants that are richer and healthier because they're exposed to music.  He had no reply, but I wonder...

2. Remember how I have brain mix-ups? Where I instruct my brain to fetch me a word and it comes back running, pleased and proud of itself with not quite what I asked for, but I love it anyway? Also this and this.

Well, long ago, before blogs were even invented-- it could have been collegetime or high school, I really cannot say-- my sister and I were cruising in the car and I can't recall the exact details but I meant to say "waffle" and out came "taco."  Or vice versa.  Close. Real close. But not quite the same word, is it.  And you wouldn't think those two would really go together, would you. Or WOULDN'T YOU. Because this morning I heard an ad, and feast your eyes, Ash! It's real, and I'm pretty sure my mix-up we heartily laughed at and made fun of was actually a premonition for THIS:

The waffle taco. Oh my lands, that looks so disgusting! Ha ha ha.  But reminds me of this, so i love it.

3. A friend and I saw Godzilla over the weekend.  One of my favorite things is a Saturday morning movie.  That should be all capitalized.  Saturday Morning Movies are special. Sacred, you might say.  And the fluffier the movie, the better. One we saw was the 2nd Thor which I thought was better than the first. And i could even see it again if for nothing else but to get my Loki fix.  Loki and Natalie Portman kind of cancel each other out in that one.   Another time we saw Nonstop, or as we like to call it Taken Part III.   It's not part of the Taken franchise(?) but i'll be darned if I don't love Liam Neeson action flicks!  I saw Taken one night when Sean was off somewhere, a random itunes purchase and what a startlingly pleasant surprise! Anyway, this one was great. I spent the entire movie making predictions which I'm not terrible at but was completely off by a mile in this one.  It's a really fun ride.  

Thoughts on Godzilla (sort of spoiler alert, not really):

  • What an adorable tubby monster! He's so plump!  Love the ridgy spikes on his back.  We decided that watching the movie would be completely cathartic if you were over-stressed and needed a release, because we both agreed that the monster scream was one of the best parts. No music or background noise. Just monster scream.  And then we analyzed other monster screams with the same effect, like the T-Rex in J-Park (gotta abbreviate ev-thing).
  •  The mothra's pretty great. We analyzed it and decided that spindly= scary and tubby = heroic.  You root for Godzilla.  Except there were moments when  i was confused as to how I was supposed to feel. Am I cheering him on? Or being scared of him? As the News caption read: Savior of mankind? question mark? That part gave me a good laugh. Picturing someone writing that in the newsroom. "Only time will tell, when we're all dead. Stay tuned!"  
  • I definitely appreciated some connections to other favorite films, such as Jurassic Park, as mentioned.  There are some scary impact tremors to make you fairly alarmed.  Also, i thought that the mothras were a good cross between the scary giant rabbit-things the gelflings ride in Dark Crystal:

and Predator:

Since I can't find a picture of a Mothra, you'll just have to go watch the movie and see that I'm right. (Also, why do I keep coming back to Dark Crystal in my life? Anyone else experience that?)  At one point Suzie wondered if our human hero had covered his face in mud, and I eagerly exclaimed "... like Predator!" But I may have gone too far with my nerd.

**More of a spoiler:**

As Suzie astutely pointed out, the relationship between the two monsters is almost more touching, more convincing than the human married couple.  The movie on a whole? Not so great.  I was underwhelmed on the whole. The monsters looked great and had some great sounds. I could have had more of that.  And more interactions, dare I say. Usually i tire quickly of all the fight-fight-fight, kill-kill-kill.  But the battle scenes could have used a titch more epicness.  I mean it's Godzilla. But we had some good jokes and it was decently entertaining. Go see it today. 

4. Well, some time/days (weeks) have passed since I began this post and therefore I can provide you with a butterfly update.  First, science is a MIRACLE.  I couldn't get over how amazing it was. They really do eat and eat and get so big so fast and make their own cocoons! I mean, we read about it in the children's books. We learned about it in school. I haven't witnessed it for so long, all I could do was just marvel.  The butterflies emerged when we were out of town for an overnighter.  Well, 3 of them. I almost cried, I was so happy for them and their miraculous transformation. "Look what you did, you guys! Look what you did!"  I felt a quiet awe come over me, a reverence for them, for accomplishing something greater than I ever could. These tiny creatures with a mere glimmer of a lifespan.

One emerged over night and then the other during the quiet morning when my back was turned.  I heard a tiny crackle and then there he was.  Two chrysalides had been overlapping and I wondered if they would be pals or conjoined or something.  Not conjoined, but when we finally went outside to release them, two flew out, high in the sky and never looked back. One needed some coaxing but eventually found his way, but the last two stood huddling side-by-side on a daisy (because when they emerge, you do magical things like put in freshly cut flowers, fruit, and nectar for them. I was this close to googling when the fairies would appear).  The last two never flew away.  We blew on them, we tried to get them to fly and fulfill their destiny but they never did, as far as I know. We set the flower on the ground and they stayed there, bosom buddies.  I think it was those two that had metamorphosed so closely to one another.  I miss them all dearly.  So magical. So, so magical.

And there are a few thoughts of me.  Seminary ends this week. I am equally ecstatic and brokenhearted.  I told Sean it feels like the birth of a child. So uncomfortable you just want it to be over but also fearful for what life will be like when the baby comes.  Except kind of the opposite, or not at all what it's like? I'm trying, you guys.  Stay with me.



Joel said...

I'm already trying to figure out where I can get a butterfly habitat. My kids love animals, and it would be a great summer activity.

Ashley said...

The waffle taco lives! That's hilarious. You should do another post on all the other mixups: mento/tempo... other ones...

Valerie said...

That waffle taco is the stuff of nightmares. Is it real?

I don't want to be a bummer, but, I know what you mean about being creatively void. While I don't have to get up at whatever un-godly hour you do, the winter stripped me of whatever capacity I have to do anything more than simply function.

Like you, I can move, and feed myself, and take care of Edie, but beyond that, I can't even imagine what person would want to take her camera with her outside. Or turn an interesting story into an essay. I still think things, and sometimes talk about them, but the actual act of DOING anything about them? Not happening.

I keep wondering when it will come back. Because it will. For both of us. For us all.

)en said...

Whew. It feels good knowing others are in the same boat. Let's stick together. It WILL come back. It has to. You're right. Thanks for the support.

Ash, the other day i had to explain to some friends what a spoonerism is. I actually stopped one who was talking to point out the funny one she was about to say. Normally i let them go because i don't want to be THAT annoying but it was too good to pass up. And they didn't even know what it was. WHAT? Now I know i have failed them indeed.

Joel-get it!! you won't regret it.