Promise?: A Creative Aftershock

Reading Octavia Butler again reminds me of all the stories I said I wanted to write and the sort of person, creator, I’d hoped to be. I can’t figure out if I lost it or what? I mean, it feels like I’ve redirected some things and been too busy to even do that with others, but essentially? It feels like I genuinely forgot it, or maybe put it on pause, but for what? I know I’m investing in my future with this degree and I’m just stubborn enough to finish it, but then what?

I feel like I’m just waking up from a long sleep, with droopy eyelids and yawns filling my mouth. Part of me is comfortable and just wants to snuggle into the familiar – it would be easy, wouldn’t it? Yet another part of me is fighting the drowsiness, forcing me upright, dragging me into alertness, like a child on the morning of some promised day of fun: “You said! You promised! You promised!” I don’t know, don’t remember, what I said or promised to my 9 or 12, 16 or 19 year-old self. I barely remember what I promised myself last year, but there’s something startling in that little voice, something shrill and pleading and on the verge of tears, of utter broken disappointment. So all I can think now is, “Don’t cry. I’ll be right there. Just give me a minute, just a minute to wake up. I’m coming. I’m coming! I promise!”

The truth is, though, I’m scared. Even half-awake as I am, I don’t know if I remember how to peel away the covers, how to stand, to walk, to run, to keep up with that overeager, utterly optimistic part of me that’s just so sure that now is the time I promised to get up and go, that I’m ready and able to do everything I said I would. It would be easier to go back to sleep, wouldn’t it? Easier than collapsing after my first step and disappointing the voice that had been waiting for me? I don’t know if I can now, though, if I can fall back asleep and not just lay here awake but unmoving. Don’t I owe it to myself to try?

I promised, didn’t I?