I’ve been feeling slightly off lately and blamed it all on starting my senior year of college in the middle of a Mercury Retrograde. I haven’t told anyone about it, not even my closest friends because 1. Part of my September Slump/Mercury retrograde mindset was the concept that ~nothing matters~. Not me, not you, not the entire human existence. And so neither did any of my problems (which is slightly comforting but mostly untrue) and 2. The slightly off-ness wasn’t even that bad. I haven’t been an over emotional wreck, outwardly stressed and frantic, going through a break-up or mental break down or quarter life crisis etc. I just felt weird. I felt like I was a lesser version of myself, just going through the motions of everything I should be doing and living in my own head. I essentially came back to school and to everything I have been wanting all summer and was flung into an immediate culture shock/identity crisis/dissociation from reality. You know when you walk into a place, say a birthday party or something, and you are with all of these people you know and expect it to be a fun time but then all of a sudden you’re standing there sipping water to avoid conversation and have absolutely no idea what to do with your hands. What do you usually do with those things? What do other people do with them? Why can’t I figure this out? Why does it matter at all? And then you get home from the party and can’t even remember who you saw or if it was any fun at all because you were too busy fidgeting with your hands in your pockets. Imagine feeling like that for 7 days straight and you pretty much have my senior year of college summed up thus far.
So now comes that part where you get home from the party and you’re kicking yourself for not letting loose and having a good time, and self diagnosing yourself with social anxiety and/or being a generally psychotic human (probably). But what you really should be doing is thinking about why you were so focussed on your hands while surrounded by people you liked in a place you wanted to be. Because maybe, most likely, you don’t really like them and didn’t want to be there in the first place and maybe, most likely, you weren’t the only one losing your mind next to the dessert table. Maybe you should have made plans with different people, or stayed home for the night, or had your own damn party. Maybe you were hyper aware of your hands and overall human existence because you’re awkward and shy and socially awkward, but more likely you just needed to take a step back and reassess the situation and everything that led up to that point, and why you went, and who the hell you even are. Basically what it comes down to, I think, is that if you’re nervous and uncomfortable about your hands that nobody is looking at, whether in the corner of a birthday party or a crowded bar…that’s sort of the same as being nervous and uncomfortable and immensely unsure of who your are and what you are doing and why any of this matters at all.
Today I had some time to kill and forgot my headphones and was sitting around in Rhody Market trying to figure out what to do with my free two hours and the rest of my life. I sat there staring at my computer without knowing what to do with it for almost 30 minutes before I remembered I could write. I remembered how I use to come sit and write every chance I got and how relieving it feels, and how freeing, to dump everything out of your heart and head into an empty word document. It’s like I couldn’t see straight past the overwhelming fog of anxious thoughts to what was happening in front of me. It’s like reverse writers block.Sometimes you have too many thoughts to write about and so much shit racing through your mind and fogging up your vision of reality and yourself that you’re wandering around in a blurry daze, confused about what to do with your hands, until it clears up. You could call it thought fog or something, and until it’s cleared up you can’t even see straight; But the second it clears you can see everything. The world makes some sort of sense and you are ready to be a part of it again. You figure out what to do with your hands (or figure out that you don’t need to do anything and that it’s a completely irrational thing to worry about)
I’m sure everyone has this mysterious thought fog or fidgets with their hands at one point or another, at the end of beginnings, or the beginnings of ends, or some places in between it all, and I’m sure everyone has a different way of clearing it up. You might need to go for a run to clear yours, to go for a long drive with the windows down and your favorite songs blasting, or maybe just to sit on the beach. What I had to do, once I finally stopped trying to do anything, was write everything down. But whatever you do the second you stop outwardly trying to do anything about, is what saves you. The second I started writing I snapped out of this weird foggy culture shock/identity crisis and it felt like returning from a long trip and finally being ready to return to reality. I felt sure of myself and of all of the other things (everything) I was unsure of and came to about 15 conclusions that fixed me.
I don’t really know if this all happened because of the end of summer my last real summer the beginning of my last year of school, or because of the end of the beginning of my life or the beginning of the end. It probably happened because I was so convinced there were beginnings or endings for anything at all, when really everything is this massive cyclical thing, always changing and growing and coming full circle. It’s almost like it all started spinning too fast and I got dizzy and sick and wanted a break to pause it for a sec on, except you can’t stop life from happening or time going on or becoming a real person or pretend adult or whatever. It’s like I froze and put my hands out to brace myself, when I should have been trusting my own balance, and tripped into a clumsy uncoordinated heap of a human on the ground and was too rattled over the whole ordeal that I didn’t even attempt at standing back up. Basically, you’re better off not bracing yourself at all (for a fall or for the rest of your life). You need to go all in and go with the flow and get a little bit dizzy and trust that your balance will keep you on top of it all or else your instincts will undoubtedly catch you. Basically what we all should be doing with our hands when we are falling, or nervous about life, or standing awkwardly in the middle of a party, is absolutely nothing at all.