Comfortable Discomfort

It’s been difficult to find inspiration lately. I started writing in 2013 because I was inspired. Life was so full and beautiful and because of what it was full of, I didn’t have may places to share. Many novelists write best when they’re depressed, drawing inspiration from pain. I don’t do that well. I draw inspiration from beauty and luscious life.

Life hasn’t been terribly luscious lately.

Through the window seeps a sepia light, the modern world driven by smoke back into the forties. My throat stings. I’m hungry but dislike the thought of venturing out to solve the problem. (I ordered a pizza. Gift cards to Tutabella are going over well right now.) Thank modern technology for climate control.

People are my coping mechanism. The pressure to show up somewhere and focus 100% of my attention on the interaction. It’s a hurdle to vault but rarely a difficult one and it has always helped me keep moving forward. Appointments, friend trips, family gatherings… these things both large and small break my inertia. Without them, I can become so settled into place that the effort to move is close to overwhelming.

Fortunately, because I’m an energetic extrovert, that’s never been a problem before. Unfortunately, because it’s never been a problem before, when it did become a problem, when my most effective coping mechanism to battle my procrastination tendencies evaporated into thick and literally choking air, I didn’t really know what to do.

At first I enjoyed the slow down. I had been burned out for a while and an outside reason to slack was welcome.

Then I reacted with my characteristic need to do something to prove that my self identity as a productive person was still true. I made a beautiful artistic offering to offset my guilt at accepting aid.

Then I reacted with anger that life wasn’t moving forward and that there was very little I could do about it.

Once, a few years ago, I was at the Frye with some friends and one room was set aside for the works of Tschabalala Self ( They were exaggerated black figures, some grotesque in proportion, others in their media. Designed to force the viewer to confront feelings around and stereotypes in black sexuality, they made me uncomfortable. Fortunately, there was a docent available to talk about the artist and her works. We spent a half hour or so discussing and sitting with the art, letting the discomfort do its job. By the time we left, I hadn’t necessarily become comfortable with the images, but I had become comfortable with my discomfort.

That’s how I feel about the current state of the world. The air is poison, our government has lost all credibility in the world, my clients are afraid to see me… I’m not ok with those things. They suck and there’s very little I can do about that.

This morning, a pinched fingertip turned into a primal scream therapy session and it felt so, so, incredibly normal. Like… yes. This is the correct way to handle the shit that surrounds us and the ensuing frustration at one’s complete and utter inability to get things done.

I’m comfortable with my discomfort. I do not feel shame for my fear. I do not worry about whether I’m ‘a productive person’. My anger is perfectly reasonable. This shit sucks, guys.

Not to turn every blog post I write ever into an advertisement, but the only times anything has felt normal this summer are times when we’re here, in my air conditioned apartment, with the curtains drawn to block out the world, music playing, hearts beating, orgasms and laughter echoing off the chandelier. For a moment, the world feels normal. For a bit, things feel clean and safe and mutually supportive. 2020 has robbed me of my illusions of control. When you’re here, for a moment, I have it back.

Thanks to those who have shared these moments with me, and for those who are coming soon. I fucking miss you.