Saturday, August 1, 2009
The Terror Surrounding the First Entry
This is the first time in more than three years that I've experienced any serious anxiety about a writing topic. I've always believed that I could get a blog started, if I could only come up with the first piece, a reason to write.
Other blogs have a specific focus or thread that carries, at least loosely, through all of of the entries posted, whether it be sports, theatre, movies, self evaluation, or observations from their writer's daily lives.
As my friends can verify, I am not a focus aficionado. Conversations jump from poor pitching performances of the Orioles bullpen all the way to the thin line of legality that divides pornography from prostitution - sometimes without a breath.
While a single happy-medium will not exist in this blog, I hope that readers will at least be able to dial down the center of each post with ease. I also hope to work on tightening my work. Constructive or even demolition-style criticism from my readers, all two of you, is greatly appreciated.
Don't be afraid. This is Carrot Top's last appearance.
In college I dealt with my anxiety creatively, but still counterproductively to the project at hand. This is a coping mechanism I learned erroneously from my father.
Growing up, I was never a very clean kid, nor did I have a whole lot of work ethic. In my first summer home from college, my pops enlisted me in a construction job. It would give me character. It would make me appreciate why I was going to college. With a degree, I'd never have to work with my hands again.
Somewhere along the line I entered a misguidance chip to the plan. Instead of learning the value of a good education, I decided that the only time I would ever perform manual labor was when I was putting off something mentally agonizing.
The theory spread through my entourage in college. Soon, the only time anyone cleaned our apartment was on nights where one of us was supposed to be studying or finalizing a paper.
As you can see, this led to some pretty ridiculous predicaments.
My roommate Joellson chose to battle this particular mess on Thursday of finals week. My other roommates had finished our tests earlier in the week and were on autopilot for the rest of the winter. If it weren't for Joellson's chemistry test, this mess probably would have grown festive-colored mold during the 12 days of Christmas.
It wasn't until I began writing for my college paper, The Daily Collegian, that I began to enjoy writing.
Anxiety was still an issue, but rookies on staff were expected to suck. Most wrote their first three stories with a lead about the weather. If you managed to cover something other than the color of the sky by the third story, you were considered to have potential.
Though I worked quickly ahead of the curve, leading with a description of a boat crossing the finish line in story No. 3 (my first beat was crew), I still toiled for hours before finally laying down 12 inches of poo-etry about how one boat went a little faster than the other.
In my second year on staff, my girlfriend at the time found the perfect solution to my anxiety issue - she dumped me.
For six weeks I was a wreck. I couldn't eat. I didn't want to get out of bed. I could only drink a six pack before I caught a serious buzz.
Things were bad.
That's when my doctor prescribed me with Effexor, a drug used to ease depression and anxiety.
The first few weeks were pretty interesting. Every time I felt a severe pang of guilt or sadness, it was followed immediately by a feeling I can only describe as a tiny worm crawling from the the back of my brain, down my spine, and finally settling comfortably between my shoulder blades where the feeling subsided. To this day, no other patient has described the same feeling.
Around the same time that I got used to the props from Tremors nestling between my vertebrae, other writers on staff began to notice confidence in my voice. Not in my actual speaking voice; I was a somewhat pudgy, wide-eyed amateur covering Penn State field hockey, admittedly more because the players were hot than because I had any interest in the sport. Lord, I was a pussy.
Instead, I was loosening up and getting comfortable with the words that were flying from my fingertips. When my future best friend at the Collegian commended a lead I'd written involving Miss Cleo hiring the field hockey team for her second go-around with future prediction, I felt like I belonged. From that point, my anxiety crawled away. Doctors located the worms six months later.
I didn't forgive my ex-girlfriend for months. Even though she cursed me with residual trust issues that still last in a smaller form today, I have to thank her for helping me hit my breaking point. My parents had worried I was suffering from depression prior to the breakup, but I wouldn't face my issues until I hit rock bottom.
Now I'm a sports writer at a local paper, covering mostly high schools. Any full grown adult that has anxiety issues stemming from talking to 16-year-old girls should probably be checked into a sexual abuse clinic. A preemptive strike would have saved Michael Jackson from a life of misery.
In my job, I'm given writing assignments. If I can't find a beginning, I work from the middle and find my lead later. It's not nearly as nerve-wracking as figuring out what to write about in a first blog entry. Though this probably wasn't the best way to introduce the malady, it feels like it fits.
Hi. My name is Adam. I suffer from LCM Syndrome.