.journal 2001.01.31
Flu bugs and other head-spinners.

Now listening to: Björk, Homogenic
Now reading: Poppy Z. Brite, Exquisite Corpse
Now playing: Final Fantasy VIII (Playstation)

I really hate this flu bug that's going around. My sinuses seem to be engaged in an all-out rebellion against the confines of my head, and no matter how much Sudafed I take I can't get rid of this awful sinus headache, nor the sick sensation of mucus sliding down the back of my throat. I've got all kinds of body aches that fade in and out, and I've even got a bit of a queasy feeling in my stomach. As you can guess, this hasn't exactly been a fun couple of days for me, and from what I hear I can expect to stay feeling this way another few. Yippee skippee.

I'm just wondering when I'm ever going to feel okay again. First I had the big dental scare, then the fallout and makeup with my friend, but as soon as those things get resolved I have this flu floor me. Just for one day I'd really like to be able to feel okay, physically and emotionally. I haven't had a day like that for over a month, and I'm starting to crave one really bad.

Anyway, I've been pretty bedridden these past couple of days, which has given me a lot of time to think about where I want to go with my life. As frantic as all the changes in my life this past year have been, I've got more big changes coming on the horizon here very shortly. And maybe all this time to think about things is just what I need.

Despite feeling so bad, I went ahead and did my first yoga workout in nearly six years earlier today (my mat from Yoga Zone finally arrived), just because I thought it might help me to feel better. Jury's still out on whether it worked or not, but one of the things yoga does is it makes you more conscious of your space - both the space around you and the space your own body inhabits. I was reminded of that as I worked out today, as while I've always been incredibly flexible, a lot of yoga positions used to be hard for me because I was around seventy pounds heavier in college than I am now. But now those positions aren't so hard for me, and I'm able to get more out of them.

And I was thinking about that, and I realized just how applicable that is to my life right now. My life used to be very cramped up, my range of movement was very limited. Some of that was caused by the outside forces in my life, but a lot of it was really by my own choice. And I'm hoping that as I continue to grow as a person and continue my creative recovery, I can become more flexible, and allow myself more freedom.

L. and I talk about this a lot. Although we're kindred spirits in a lot of ways, we are still both dynamically different from each other. Security never meant as much to L. as it does for me. Maybe I don't have too much freedom with my current living and work situations, but at least I know that I'll have a roof over my head and food on my plate every day. That didn't mean much for L. when she left college, though, so she basically packed up her car, went out west and decided to pursue her dreams out there.

I don't think I could ever do something as drastic as that, but then again I don't think I need to. But the way my life is going right now isn't really acceptable to me either. That's why I've been pursuing these work and schooling opportunities as strongly as I have recently, because I crave more independence in my life right now, and I feel my lack of independence is really stymying my development, both personally and creatively. I'm just not going to go full-bore into any new situation without first knowing what I'm doing.

To go back to The Artists' Way, Julia Cameron has a favourite saying: "Leap, and the net will appear." And I've been following that philosophy in my creative work, trying all the new and weird forums that have opened up for my creativity recently. But when it comes to what pays my bills, what keeps me in a nice warm residence and not sleeping on a Toledo street in January, I can't quite be like that. I think I've built up the nerve to finally leap, but I wanna see that net first.

And just like my recent dental problems, there are fears I will have to face as these plans of mine come to fruition. Then again, anyone making this big a step has to have some fear, I'd think it would be unnatural and wrong to not have those fears. Even for people who are so disgusted with their present situation that they have no choice but to leave it for another, more independent one, that independence can be scary.

My father isn't really helping matters either way. I realize he's my father and all and he's supposed to be protective and want to make sure nothing bad happens to me, but it's hardly like I'm eighteen years old anymore. I'm my own person now, and I have to make these decisions for myself. He probably feels like he'll still be responsible should anything happen to me out in the big bad "real world," but that isn't his decision to make, it's mine. And I think my father's really getting in the way of things now.

Insomuch as the Shannon family is a family, we don't really operate like one in the traditional sense. My parents are children of the sixties and they both imparted (though my mother far more than my father) that mindset in both my sister and myself. While we do genuinely love each other, things both at home and at work operate a lot more like a hippie commune than anything else. My father does maintain a "professional image" for the sake of operating with clients, and I guess the stress of operating his own business for the past dozen years has eroded a lot of his sixties sensibilities and made him more pragmatic in those areas, but the rest of us are pretty much laid-back and liberal.

So I guess what has happened is that this scene has grown old on me. I still love my family just as much as I did before, but I need something more than this. I need to experience more of the world, and not be tied down like I am right now to my house and my current job.

The question then becomes how I go about all this. I could go back to college to get a degree, but I guess the reason I haven't been so eager to do that is because it'd take me an awful long time to complete, and I'm craving more independence as soon as I can get it. If I didn't have this big work opportunity opening up for me, I'd probably go back to college, but I think this work opportunity can get me the independence I need in a relatively short amount of time, plus I think I can derive the benefits I'd get from going to college in alternate ways.

Obviously things are still kind of nebulous for me; you'll notice how little detail I go into when it comes to detailing the "work opportunity." And ultimately I recognize that both the work opportunity and the chance to go back to college may not materialize. Or maybe I'll have another opportunity open up for me that I'll be much more eager to take. Or maybe I'll just decide I can tolerate the restrictions in my life right now if they mean I continue to have as much time as I do to pursue my artistic endeavours. I don't know.

I realize I'm probably overthinking these things, but then again this is a decision I can't afford to underthink. When my head hasn't been spinning from the flu these past couple of days, it's been spinning from thinking about all this and trying to determine how to go about achieving my goals. And I doubt there's a medicine I can take to clear up the latter mess in my head. (I realize some of my friends would probably tell me that's precisely the reason I should drink, but that's just one scene I'll never be into.)

Maybe I just need to go back to bed now. At least I can't think about this decision when I'm asleep. But maybe that's the real reason I've had trouble sleeping, and not the flu. Sigh, can't things ever get any easier for me?

- Sean