it has been a week of recuperating, of kind of shutting down and just going to work and doing little else in the spaces in-between. last saturday, i finished my book — or, maybe more accurately, i finished this current iteration of my book — and i sent it off to an agent for consideration.
it's been a week (minus twenty-four hours), and i'm still kind of stunned that this happened, that there is a complete manuscript in my hands, that it was the culmination of 2-3 weeks of frenetic work, edits and rewrites and rereads done in the spaces between work and sleep, work and sleep, work and sleep. a year ago, i didn't think i'd be here — hell, a month ago, i didn't think i'd be here. i didn't think i'd ever be able to sit down and tackle all the issues in my book, take it apart, and put it back together again.
if there's a lesson to be learned there, maybe it's that things get done a little bit at a time. things get done by doing the work. things get done by taking care of yourself, listening to your body and your brain, learning to work and live and create within your limitations.
it's not that there wasn't a cost, though.
my insomnia is at an all-time worst, and my inability to sleep and to sleep well is taking its toll. when i say "insomnia," i don't mean that i have difficulties falling asleep — i have difficulties staying asleep, achieving deep sleep, waking up rested. my psychiatrist has tried a slew of medications from lorazepam to trazodone to gabapentin, none of which is prescribed primarily for insomnia but is used off-script to treat it, and, unsurprisingly, none of them has worked. lorazepam does help lessen my anxiety. sometimes. trazodone did nothing. gabapentin worked the first time then proceeded to give me the worst nightmares, nightmares of violence and terror and brutality, my subconscious taking the medication and wreaking havoc.
before we proceeded further, my psych referred me to a sleep clinic, told me to test for apnea just in case, though i didn't think apnea was my problem. the test came back as very, very mild, that, if a normal human has 5 apneas per hour of sleep, i have 6.5, and the sleep clinic nurse told me i could fix that likely by learning to sleep more on my side. (i spent 80% of the night on my back.)
the thing, maybe, though, is that my psych and i both know that my insomnia is directly related to my anxiety, that i wake up having panic attacks and can't sleep because my brain is racing, churning over all the various crap that i chew over, fret over, obsess over. it's not that i do any of this intentionally; i don't spend much of my waking hours very cognizant of these things that apparently haunt me; but i wonder if maybe that statement, too, isn't contradicted by the fact that i pick incessantly at my nails, at my cuticles, at the skin around my nails, picking and picking and picking to the point that i've drawn blood and the ends of my fingers are tingling from pain.
my mother asks why i can't just stop, that it looks so disturbing, but, as with other things in my life, i don't know how to tell her i can't.
it's impossible, in many ways, to convey the impossible.
last weekend, i went to san francisco, and here are a few images from the weekend. my best friend moved to san francisco when i came back to LA, so i've been going up often to visit her, to see my brother and now sister-in-law, to meet new friends — and my weekends in SF tend to be gloriously chill weekends in which we do nothing but eat, hang out, and, apparently, walk up and down the same few streets in the mission over and over again.
i love these weekends. i love the ease and comfort of them.
anyway, so, it's been a week of recuperating because i'd no idea how much i'd driven myself past the point of exhaustion to finish this manuscript. it means it's been hard to find words for much of anything, to put my thoughts down cohesively, to mull over things. in san francisco, i went to see ingrid goes west, which i liked, and it made me think about social media and instagram and what is real and what is authentic and what is a personal brand and at what point does the brand subsume authenticity and turn it into a gimmick? it made me think about celebrity and how much i hate celebrity and how much i dislike it when someone's persona, her personal brand, takes the spotlight over her work and her work becomes secondary. it made me think about how much i dislike it when a woman will skill and infinite potential chooses that for herself, and it made me think about that part of myself that reacts so instinctively negatively to that because maybe there’s something odd about that, about how, for someone who writes so much about her own self, the self as brand makes me so uncomfortable.
i’m aware of all the contradictions in my sentiments.
like i said, though, i’m still recuperating, still letting my brain take things easy this week, so we’ll have to revisit all of that later. have a good weekend, all! there’s a massive cookbook post coming soon!