Fear and Forgetfulness

I just realized at 10:20am that I’d been meaning to have something up at 10:00am. Oops!

I’ve been, for the last little while, in a state of slightly frantic energy with no particular direction to vent it in. My brain keeps on glancing off of the specter of the work I need to do, the design and programming and understanding and tricky decisions that might or might not matter in the future, and though it knows it needs to pit its strength against them it keeps sliding off and, as we do when we lose our footing, it keeps sliding. I giggle at nonsensical jokes and I wade stridently into arguments armed with feverish reason and articulation and it’s partially because I always laugh at dumb jokes and partially because I care about what I’m arguing but not entirely, it’s mostly because I’m scared and can’t look directly at the work-beast that breathes heavy in the corner of my mind.

I’m not sure that fear is my enemy here. It keeps me from working, but it leaves my subconscious free to tiptoe the parameter, to try to thought experiment its way through. I can’t ever tell if I’m being lazy or being patient. I can’t ever tell if I’m impassioned or histrionic.

The conception of my work as something that can be completed, rather than simply lived through, is starting to fade again. This happens sometimes. I feel so distant, still, from actually making anything, and I feel like I’ve caught myself in a maze of tasks that ultimately leads nowhere. I’m increasingly unsure if the beast in the corner is even the right one – maybe I’m in the wrong cave.

It’s not a matter of faith. I can’t just pick a direction and set out it in indefinitely, because at the point where all I see is sand and water is running low I really have to reevaluate my decisions.

So there are two fears that live in parallel in my mind. First, the fear that the work I am doing is complex and difficult and hard to understand, and second, the fear that that work might be empty, wasted, pointless. There’s no way to assuage these fears. The first I know to be true, and the second I cannot prove to be false. The only reason I persevere in the face of these fears is that I haven’t thought of a better plan, and because I know that standing still and becoming a statue is far worse than striving forwards and becoming lost – for me it is, anyway. Sometime soon, I’ll start putting the pieces together. I’ll start to understand the scope of what it is I fear, and in that understanding slowly circumscribe it, slowly incorporate it, slowly overcome it and embrace it.

Both of these fears are real, but neither of them is forever. I will outlast them.

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