I haven’t written in a while. I’ve been struggling to find time, and when I do find time, inspiration. Not that there’s a lack of things for me to write about; I have no shortage of feelings I need to work through, believe me. But lately, I’ve found it difficult to put into words exactly what I’m thinking. I know this feeling well. It’s like writer’s block, except it extends past my writing and into my every day life: in simple conversations and common interactions. I know what I should be saying and how I should be acting, so I say those things and attempt to act normal. But it all feels forced. I feel as if I’m faking it.

The other day, someone said I was acting distant. And they were right. I feel distant and disconnected and a lot of other things that I don’t know how to explain or tell anybody that.

Yesterday, I was home alone for a few hours. I felt as if I spent another second watching TV or reading or mindlessly scrolling on my phone I would scream. But I had nothing else to do, nowhere to go, no one that I wanted to see or talk to. I impulsively got in the car and started driving, with no destination in mind. I didn’t pay attention to where I was going, except to intentionally turn down roads I didn’t recognize. Driving down the winding country roads under a grey sky, I began to talk. I talked like someone else was listening and I didn’t stop until I was at a stoplight and I realized I wasn’t in the middle of nowhere anymore. I was back in Gastonia, on a road I have driven down countless times. Despite my best attempts, I had not gotten lost, nor had I gotten very far away from where I started.

I kept driving through my hometown in silence, but the anxiety in my chest continued to grow. Finally, I stopped at a gas station and bought a pack of gum to have something to do and I sat in the parking lot and chewed through half of the pack before I started the car and headed home. As I was turning onto 85 to head back to Kings Mountain, my phone buzzed. I had a text asking about cat food and litter and suddenly the weird floaty feeling I’d had all night left and I was firmly back in the “real world”.

So I went to the store to buy cat food and cat litter and I picked up some movies I’ve been wanting to see from Redbox. Then I picked up Justin from work and we went out for a late dinner. And everything was normal. My anxiety abated, but I know it’s not gone, just pushed to the back of my mind. And I’ve decided it’s time to start writing again, finally, after weeks of ignoring my laptop and journals. I don’t know why I feel so out of place and helpless lately. But writing has always had a way of pulling me out of my own head and making me see things a little clearer. Just after writing this, I already feel a bit lighter. So, writing is good. I already knew that. Sometimes you just gotta drive aimlessly for a couple hours to remind yourself how to feel things. Or maybe that’s just me.

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