Part two of struggling to write. This will probably come across as whiny and egotistical but it’s likely something all people trying to create something new experience: feeling completely overlooked for an idea only to see peers posting articles that back up your thesis from sources like the NY Times or other scholarly journals. There is a moment of vindication in being on the right path but also frustration that your work has been at best tolerated until outside sources have taken the lead. You now run the risk of becoming instantly irrelevant, now following the trend rather than setting it. I find this to be exceptionally true in smaller communities of well educated people competing for resources. The competition blinds us to innovation locally while we seek guidance and validation from sources we look up to nationally and internationally. The idea of community bias is an exploration for another day though.
It’s this kind of frustration that has a habit of reeling through my body. Rather than a tightening of the chest, it’s a tension that runs through my ribcage and down my arms. Every intercostal muscle feels spring loaded. My arms could lift fifty pounds but snap in an instant. My adrenal glands start pumping just enough to flood my body with frustration but not enough to produce a flight response. It takes a conscious decision to start moving, to push for an endorphin release, a neuro-chemical override of a system temporarily stuck in the mud.
I do my best to avoid hiccups like this. I have come to realize that my emotions live so deeply within my cells that any negative reaction can take hours to weed out. A childhood of being told to repress anything negative, to always disarm with a smile, to turn the other cheek did nothing to teach what to do with those other emotions. So I learned to bury them rather than work them out. Now they flare up like oil left on the stove too long. There’s no fire, but it’s gonna take some time for the smoke to dissipate and the pan to be usable again.
Finally coming to this understanding of how emotions affect my physical body has had profound effects in my day to day life. It’s not just deep stretching and a hot shower that can adjust my mood. Pilates based movements can tighten the viscera, pulling all the organs in around the spine, into the chest cavity, a way of using my own musculature to give myself an engulfing long hug. Rhythmic breathing during the process can stimulate my vagus nerve and send calming sensations throughout my body. Talking to myself during the process creates a conversation between mind and body where the physical can remind the brain to plan the next steps rather than wallow in cortisol. It’s an intimately interior exploration.
I guess with all things lately, it comes back to the body to find my words, my launch pad for connection. This interiority can leave me feeling totally isolated but it’s the words and methods of creation that help me navigate connection. That is, until the next emotional landmine is triggered and the whole process starts again....