I cringe calling you 'dear.'
That's because you have not been 'dear' to me, dear Pressure. Not at all:
You've brought with you feelings of inadequacy and perfectionism; taunted me with unhelpful comparison; reminded me that I am a mere mortal and my time on this planet is short so I better do something meaningful with it FAST.
You and I have had a toxic symbiotic relationship for many MANY years:
You showed up screaming and kicking when I aimed to prove myself as a teen, you kept me on point with my target in acting school, and you've messed with my head and heart for the years since. Years with ups and downs and challenges and accomplishments. Years of failures and successes. But if I'd let only YOU do the talking here: you'd say I've had 'failures and failures.' Oooh. Harsh. You are harsh, my toxic old nemesis / a limb I cannot get rid of.
I've done pretty well at keeping you at bay over the recent years. I started to see what a master of illusion you are. Always waving 'time' in front of me, like a ticking clock. I see your act now, I see it clearly. And sometimes - I laugh at it and let you simmer in the corner. Those are the good days.
We've had a lot of those good days throughout the pandemic. You were on 'stand-by', and now you're back with all your sinister toxic brutal force.
As things gradually opened up, life has regained much of its pre-pandemic normalcy. (Sure, with masks, vaccination cards and hand sanitizers.) With things returning, and industry re-emerging with its auditions and pitches, and red carpets and 'what are you working on? (puke) type questions - YOU, dear Pressure, returned as well.
How do I kick you back to simmer?! Expose what's behind the curtain? Let go of you so you cannot play on me again?!?
Or... maybe I should just embrace that you are a part of me, a HUMAN part of me.
The human who simply wants to leave her stamp on this world.
So from one human to another... get lost! Or at least... get SMALLER. Get LOWER. Get HUMBLER. Sit in the corner and let me get to where I'd like to get to, with my pals JOY and CREATIVITY.
~Your metaphoric punching bag.
I did NOT miss you at all!
Why couldn't you stay in your neck of the woods - deep in my heart - a tad longer??
Ah, right. You only come out when you are summoned. And I am the one that did the summoning. Right. ~Sigh~
I guess I must still have a craving for little ole' familiar YOU.
I mean, we go way back don't we?
Back in elementary school. FIRST day of first grade, to be specific.
Maybe even earlier but I was too young to recall our times together.
But boy do I remember you and I at that hallway, when I was taken from one classroom an hour into the first day of school and lead into another classroom. 'Did I do something wrong? Why ME?' I thought to myself as my hand was trembling holding on to whatever teacher it was that angrily pulled me out of the first class I ever set foot it. It was probably just another day for her, but for me? For me it was my unforgettable encounter with you. A deep encounter with you.
I stayed in that school for only a year, and that first day had a lot to do with it.
Today you showed up without any warning, but with that vommitty feeling in my stomach. A feeling that doesn't go away no matter how far I'll try to escape a situation. Feeling YOU at a hundred percent. And with you come thoughts: 'I'm no good. I don't want to waste anyone's time. Who am I kidding?! I am delusional! I am a delusional pile of mess! What do I know about art anyways?! How dare I?! I'm a joke!' Sometimes I go to sleep with those racing thoughts in my head. It's hardly enjoyable.
I realize in addition to crippling thoughts, you also have another bag of tricks in your collection: you make me incredibly self involved, dear Insecurity. When you are around - I cease to notice other people altogether! When you show up, I am immersed in you, so much so, that my sight is completely clouded by your presence.
And the worst thing? There is no room for Creativity to show up when you run the show. I mean, a little - sure, you let her twinkle her pretty face here and there, but you posses me so much, that even Creativity, my bestie, has to take a back seat until your terror train leaves the station.
If I sound drained, it's because, well, I AM. YOU are draining me with you insufferable 'poor me' attitude! I mean, toughen up already! Get a grip! Stop convincing me that you have value in my life, that you 'make me humble.' No - you don't. Humility doesn't truly exist in a self centered insecure sack of chaos.
If you step out of the way a little... maybe you'll give room for Humality to show up, but your constant presence definitely doesn't invite any other characteristics to show up.
You are greedy, dear Insecurity, you like to consume ALL OF ME.
But if I can help it - I am not gonna let you. You take away too much. You waste MY time. Enough is enough, dear Insecurity.
It's time you step out of the way.
Hello hands of mine,
It's been a while, hasn't it?
I mean, I wake up with you every morning, and go to bed with you every night... but something in our relationship has been... strained, unacknowledged, missing.
I neglected you, dear hands of mine... I was tempted by my feet to walk around in new surroundings! In cobblestone streets, in ancient ruins, in hotel lobbies. I was lured by my lips to talk to strangers, to taste new foods, to laugh in delight. I was fueled in my travels to explore, to enrich, to immerse myself... Words were owned by my lips, and my ears. Jewels were enjoyed through glass boxes in museums. Art was something to LOOK at, not something to MAKE. I neglected you along the way, dear hands.
Alas, you never left me. You are as loyal as it comes, you hold my head up right this moment, you type in the keyboard right this second, you breathe new life in me with your delicate ideas. You draw me in to my inner life to write, to write, to write... and to my sculptural life to sculpt, and shape, and tangle... You hold no resentment, no bitterness for our time spent apart... no, you are simply there. Always grateful, always open, always inviting.
Shall we go make pretty art together, dear little hands of mine?
I think, yes, we shall.
You've waited long enough.
Yours body, your heart, your vessel.
Oh, hello there you elusive thing.
What are you?!?
You come and go. You show up unexpectedly, in times I LEAST expect you, and you NEVER show up other times. I reach for you but you turn your back at me, refusing to show.
We have an inconsistent relationship, you and I. Sigh...
I sometimes dig you, and wear you comfortably and gracefully, and sometimes when others beg for me to wear you - I toss you out with the dirty clothes, the ones I leave behind for months. I guess at times I am just not ready for you.
See, you are like stiletto heels: I know I'll look good with them - everybody looks great with them - but the pain and blisters on my feet make them such a bummer! You are like stilletos, my dear Forgiveness. Easy on the eyes, desired to the soul, but boy are you painful to actually walk in.
Dear Forgiveness, don't be discouraged by my words...
Everybody adores you, heck - many PRAY for you, but for me... I don't know... sometimes I prefer my flat dirty ole' sneakers, you know? They may not look so good but they FEEL good. Grudges feel good. Resentment feels good. Lingering Anger feels good. But you, Forgiveness? You are tough to chew on, hard to slip on and oh so darn elusive.
I hope you aren't hurt by my words.
But if you are...well, um, may I ask for your forgiveness....?
Hello? You there?
~Your on & off BFF
Whew. You BURN deep. You feel like a sharp edge dagger slowly chirping at my heart.
Not a full, deep dig but rather a slow, bothersome one.
One that lingers longer than the bruise.
One that scars for months. Sometimes years.
Today, you and I met after a short period of sweet absence.
You and I met because a friend of mine, or well - soon to be an ex-friend of mine - has brought you along with him. It was an unexpected visit. A surprising one. An out of the blue encounter.
I should have expected your visit, especially with this soon-to-be-ex-friend.
But one thing I know about expectations: I only become aware of them when they are NOT fulfilled.
If anyone knows anything about expectations - it's you:
You float in between failed expectations... You turn the lights off on Christmas wishes....
You are like the evil bomber that steals dreams with a drop of a hat.
But enough with dressing you up in nice and cozy metaphors!
Truth is - YOU SUCK.
You may not have expected my harsh words, but why mince words!? Why shield you away from feeling your own skin!? Why be the 'bigger person' when you show up unannounced and attack any unassuming victims in your path!?
Perhaps it's time for YOU to feel what it's like to be... DISAPPOINTED.
Well, so what is it like? To feel in your own skin? Hello...?
And suddenly, just like that - poof! You are gone.
Guess you don't like threats. Or maybe that's exactly how it is best to wash your presence away:
'You name it, you tame it.'
Good riddance, Disappointment. Good riddance.
P.S. Take Expectation with you, will you?
Take a breather, a chill pill, something, anything...
You attacked me like a rocket and I'm suddenly completely at your mercy, with all the STRESS associated with you: the impatience, irritation, heart pumping fast, pure overwhelm, feeling like I have to chase chase chase and never get anywhere.
You're a tough pill to swallow, dear Stress.
I'd like to treat you with respect, empathy and patience, like the 'bigger person' that I am, but to be honest - I have no idea how to do that. Because when you run through my veins I am filled with, well, STRESS, and while I seem productive to the naked eye.... in a closer look - you weigh on me like a bulldozer and drain every ounce of emotional capability to handle you. You're a catch 22, dear Stress, because when I feel you. -I am then not capable to deal with you whatsoever. And then we find ourselves in some toxic loop, until I crack and break down and finally allow myself to give me some ME TIME, some self care, some relaxation. All the tools that scare you away. Until the next time you show up, of course.
Dear Stress, I want to learn to live with you. PEACEFULLY. To accept that you will likely overwhelm me every so often, but that your intention is to 'think of the worst case scenario', to protect me, to keep me in deadlines. It starts here, it starts now, it starts with me making an effort to really look at you. To look at you deeply and say: I don't need you.
I don't need you.
I don't need you.
And to be ready and willing to ask the question: 'who am I without my stress?'
Who am I without you, dear Stress?
Where did you go, old friend?
We used to spend nights together, writing poetry in a wrinkled old notebook, drinking vanilla tea, chasing sunsets on the beach of Tel-Aviv. We used to listen to Leonard Cohen, and Joni Mitchell, and Fiona Apple. But only the sad songs, yes? Yes. Only the sad songs.
We watched clouds pass and imagined them to be sirens passing by our planet, waving hello or saying goodbye. We used to dwell on our existence, or non- existence, and how we matter and how we don't and how the only thing we really are - IS matter. We used to confuse others with our thought process. We used to inspire some... but mostly together we confused others.
And now? Without your everlasting constant presence, happiness runs through me like a skin fungus that takes months to heal. It's exhausting! The laughter, the smiling, the joy... We are not primed for it, you and I. No. Dear Melancholia, you are a piece of my puzzle, an essential piece of my puzzle. Without you I am a bubbly ball of jello, of flat shallow waters, of no substance.
I yearn for you, Melancholia, and I find you in the pages (well, digital pages) of this blog, in Fado music I adore so much, and in the underlining yearning for meaning. Simply, for meaning. You are my quest for meaning. For others, and some mental health professionals - you are a form of depression. A deep sadness. But to me you are none of those things, you are the brutal honest look into beauty and the different feelings it stores. And yes, some pain, and sadness. Because one cannot have everything without nothing, and one cannot have substance without knowing true absence.
Where did you go, my old friend?
Did you spot another teenager's heart that needed tending? A heart that was torn apart, confused and wounded, and it needs to learn the language to heal itself. The language that you so gently offer, Melancholia. The language of the soul.
I'm grateful for your spirit.
I, Me, and Nobody.
Oof. You feel good floating down my veins, lighting me on fire, getting me primed and ready. You fit to me like a pea in a pod. You stick to me like superglue. SuperSUPERglue. You spoon me like the best of lovers. You comfort me like the best of friends.
I have always enjoyed your presence.
In fact, it was in your presence that I made some of my most important life decisions; when I left my hometown in search of a bigger pool to swim in, when I knocked on opportunities' door, believing the world is my oyster, when I hustled, and worked hard, and SURVIVED month to month because I believed in the future I set up to have.
It was YOU that knocked on an agent's door as a tween, announcing 'I'm here!'
It was YOU that flew across the world to NYC without a shred of worry about not having enough money, and not knowing anyone, and having a foreigner's accent and mentality.
It was YOU that showed up to auditions, day after day, facing the inevitable NO with open arms. It was YOU that saw opportunities and possibilities in the seemingly smallest avenues - an unpaid student film, a music video, a passion project.
But it was also YOU that was hurting when things didn't go your way.
It was also YOU that grew bitter, and irritated, and angry.
It was also YOU that reached milestones just to see they didn't feel all that great.
Ambition, dear, you exist in the gathering of something. In the chase. In the quest. In the hunger. Intertwined with Desire and sometimes touching on greed - you don't exist without wanting something so much that you spring into action. And sometimes - that action causes you to fall flat on your face.
In the buddhist belief, desire is the root of human suffering.
I get that, really do, but I also think that suffering is an integral part of the human experience. And so is desire. And YOU, Ambition, are an integral part of MY human experience. For better or worse.
Ah, we meet again.
The red face, the frown on my forehead, the invisible fumes coming out of my ears and nose... yup - that's YOU, all right, gracing me in your presence. Again.
I was expecting you, actually.
Not just because I'm on my period this week and my hormonal changes often bring you along, but also because some events this week have taken me straight to times in my life when I felt your presence, Anger, but wouldn't express you.
The child I was did not know how to hold space for you, Anger. The child I was used to slam doors, or walk away with a frown, or lash out and then run to hide in my shell. All normal practices, sure, but I'd say not the healthiest ways to experience and/or express Anger.
The woman I am now is much more ready to take you on.
I do that by:
A. Acknowledge your presence.
B. Dissect why is it that you arrived.
C. Call you out. 'You name it - you tame it.'
D. Observe my body when you hop over for a visit - Breathing deeply and shaking help navigating around your intense energy.
E. Unravel what is under the hood of your car, if anything at all. Is it pain you are protecting? Hurt? Sadness?
F. Not shame you for coming up. You are a human trait, a needed trait to move through something. And if you are not expressed - that something will grow bigger and bigger... until your next level Rage comes by and tosses you aside.
I am not angry of you for coming by again, Anger. Being angry at YOU would be counter productive... a vicious cycle, right? No, on the contrary - I am happy you show up to remind me where I stand on things, where my boundaries are at, when my ego is wounded, when I am triggered by something or someone, or when I am on that time of the month.
I am human, and you are an essential part of the human experience.
I don't know why it is like that, but I know IT IS.
You are seen, Anger. You are heard.
You are SEEN and HEARD, Anger.
No need to slam any more doors to get my attention.
Thanks to your visit today, I lowered my storage on my gmail account from 78% to 74% (this took HOURS), I did two loads of laundry (hurray), did some tidying up the place and ALL the dishes in the sink, binged on some mindless youtube rabbit hole, cleaned my desktop, posted a photo on Instagram (a tedious task, for sure), ran long-awaited errands, scheduled dentist appointment, vet appointment, physical therapy appointment because - well - I have health insurance so why not? Did Day 9 of a 30 day yoga challenge online with my beau and yoga partner, spent some useless time jumping between Clubhouse and Greenroom social media audio apps, listened to an entire podcast series about 'Mommy Doomsday', listened to some of my crush 'Conspirituality podcast', looked up mid-century homes on Zillow that I cannot afford because a girl can dream, read synopsis of Operas because it's awesome, brushed my teeth TWICE and it's not even dinner time, and even played a fun association game.
Thanks to your unabashed presence today - I did all that.
A day of rest from something, is a full day of - well, something else. Somethings. And I gotta say - I had FUN going with your flow today, I indulged in you, I soaked you in. With no shame, and no guilt. And for that - I am thankful.
But with all that you gave me, dear Procrastination, you also took something away:
I didn't write.
'Thou give it, and thou take it away...'
The gift is the punishment, isn't that so, Procrastination?
Until the next time you'll be on my path...
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman