Thursday, August 17, 2006

It Sure is Dark in Here

I got up this morning at my usual time - about 5:20 am - and pulled out my mat and my weights and gazed out the big bay windows and realized... it was dark outside.

I'd been noticing the shortening of the days, of course, but for some reason it just really struck me last night, and again this morning. We're losing the light. The summer's almost gone. My god, what happened to my summer?

Well, three months ago, I woke up in a hospital. For three months, my whole summer, I've been doing... this.

The last couple of weeks, I've been pretty deeply depressed, suffereing from those weird moodswings that you're well aware are crazy. The recognition is good, because it keeps you from acting on them. But they're there, and in order to not act on them, you have to acknowledge them. One morning, you feel like you're a loser and not accomplishing anything and you should just overdose on insulin and die, and by that afternoon things aren't so bad, and you're not bad at this writing thing, and then that evening life is shit again and you have no talent and you're going to die alone and be eaten by dogs.

It's a totally irrational way to live.

There's been a lot of turmoil here, trying to restore my friendship with Jenn post-breakup, dealing with sugar levels and weight gain and the huge gaping hole in my life where my writing used to be. I keep opening up files and staring at sentences and moving things around. This morning, I wanted to burn The Dragon's Wall and bathe in the ashes. And watching my summer tick by... going... going.. gone.

Jenn and I had a long talk last night, and she's made some decisions to better take care of herself, and I've been working very hard at being more emotionally demonstrative (in addition to repairing our friendship, she has her own huge issues as well - she's going out on the job market this year, and the world is full of fuckers), and some of my extreme terror died down. I had this huge fear that we wouldn't be able to repair anything, that we wouldn't be friends anymore, that I'd have to move out - somehow (god knows I can't afford it) - and we'd never speak again, and I'd have to tack up my friendship with Jenn as one more thing I'd lost to diabetes.

Because, really, what a lot of this crushing weight has been these last three months is trying to figure out how I'm going to live my life; how I'm going to fit in the rest of my life around this huge chronic illness. And yes, it's manageable, but I haven't been totally sure *how* manageable. That's something that takes a lot of time and experience and experimentation. Things are getting easier - I'm figuring out the diet/insulin dosage equations; I have a cooling travel pack for insulin that makes it easy for me to go wherever I want with my insulin; I have very few low sugar episodes that wipe me out for forty five minutes at a stretch; I know it's possible to go to the gym and not wake up in a hospital.

And some of what I've realized, coming again and again back to the page, to the pages I wrote before I got sick, or pages I was writing while I was progressively getting sicker, is that some of the things I was interested in, the approach I took, the worldview I had, the way I felt, has changed. It's changed a lot.

I don't know that I can express exactly *how* it's changed, but there's something very different in me when I look at what I've written now, and more often than not, I wonder what the hell I was thinking, or I think of totally different roads for stories to go in than I'd thought I was going in before.

I've been listening a lot to the soundtrack to Solaris, because it's haunting and creepy and it brings me into this silent, still place where I look out at the world and I can see that everything's different. Not darker. Not lighter. Just... different.

People, you know, we don't really change. We're always going to be, at core, who we are. It takes a profound emotional experience to alter you significantly, dramatically, in a short amount of time. Other changes happen more slowly, they creep up on you, until one day you wake up and you don't recognize the person you used to be.

It's not so dramatic as that for me, but there's some kind of difference. And it's strange and it's scary and I'm not sure what's going to happen on the other side of it, but it is what it is.

I lost a summer, but I think I'm getting a whole other life.

Or at least, quite literally - another shot at it.

6 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Eric Joel Bresin said...

You wake up at 5:20 in the morning everyday? That must take major discipline.

When do you go to bed?

Kameron Hurley said...

I go to bed by 10PM, latest. I'm usually in bed reading or doing some email around 9pm.

I lift weights every morning, cook breakfast, and have a bit of a commute, so the earlier I'm up, the better.

I think it's discipline so much at this point as pure routine. I'm pretty much on automatic.

Eric Joel Bresin said...

I was about to say you responded to my emails the other night pretty late, but then realized we are in different time zones.

Heh. I remember when I was working at summer camp with the little kiddies last year and all the years before that I never did get used to waking up at 7AM. Even by week 8 I still wanted to go back to sleep.

It's probably better to work out in the morning than later. Because I couldn't imagine you'd want to work out after long commutes back-and-forth. How long do you work out for usually?

Kameron Hurley said...

Yea, in my ideal world, I'd go to bed at 2am (I write better at night) and get up around 9-10am, but sadly, that's not how it's ended up here in Chicagoland. Blast this dayjob!

I actually work out in the morning and at night.

I've habituated the morning weights routine (changed the routine, of course, but do it every morning) for the last 7 years or so. It's only 15-20 minutes. I lift heavy and do few reps, so it gets me a short, sweet little workout.

In general, I also try to get in 3-4 days a week of 20-30 minutes on the elliptical machine when I get home (the last couple weeks, I've been lazy about this for various reasons, but that's where I prefer to be), and I do about an hour of walking, five days a week, at work (half of my lunch hour, both of my 15 min breaks).

Next month, I'll be taking boxing classes again, twice a week, so I figure I'll do two 45 min classes a week, then come home 2 days a week on the off days and do my cardio at home, which gives me some variety.

I prefer splitting the weights and cardio because it parses out my time into manageable chunks.

Eric Joel Bresin said...

Heh. When do you find time to write and read between all of that?

Good luck with the boxing. I took boxing/self-defense lessons two summers ago for a couple of weeks. I don't think I've ever done any excercise harder in my life. Couldn't lift my arms towards the end of a session.

How long have you been boxing? You just take classes or have you actually sparred with opponents?

Kameron Hurley said...

Ha. I have a long commute time and a job that's 6 months on/6 months off. So I read for nearly three hours a day on the bus or the train and get my writing done at work during the downtimes and on weekends.

When the "schedule" works, it's a beautiful thing. I can clip through a couple books a week and get a couple chapters done.

I haven't been doing that lately, of course, with all the upset, but it's a place I'd like to get back to.