The bathroom door no longer squeaks.
We are away at a cottage in Maine and so I don't have any of my tools. The squeak bothered me though, so last night, after making mussels in marinara sauce, I used paper towel and olive oil on the hinges. I swung the door back and forth a few times. Still squeaked. Oh well, I thought, it was worth a try. But I wondered why it hadn't worked. It had seemed like a good idea, sensible, thoughtful, creative. Had my brother or father been around, I would have asked where I had gone wrong and felt lousy at having failed. As it was, I just kept it to myself.
I get up early here to write. I boil a saucepan of water and pour it over grounds in a French press. While the coffee steeps, I use the bathroom. This morning the door didn't squeak. What do you know?
Over the past couple days I've realized how much I enjoy building things. I'm no carpenter, but I can put things together well enough. However, I haven't built anything lately. It has been years. The last thing was my basement office and I love the way that it came out. So why am I not doing that any more? There are at least two reasons.
One, my brother and father live nearby. I've always felt less able when they are around. This isn't their fault. It's mine. I worry how they will judge me though they don't judge me at all. My father builds around his house all the time and his first thought is to show what he has done because he realizes that creation is to be shared. I enjoy it when he does show and tell even when I'm thinking that I would have done this little detail differently. It's the same with my brother, yet I choose to feel incapable around them as if their proximity reduces my ability.
All that feeds on the other reason I haven't built anything: anxiety. Planning projects used to be fun. I got out paper and pencil, ruler and tape measure, and played. I originally designed a very different basement office but in playing with the planning I found an alternative. Rather than build a new room, I transformed the 1950's bar into the perfect space. I enjoyed the planning even when it was uncomfortable in the ways that planning should be, but now I get stuck on anxiety. I hear myself say, I'm going to make a mess of this.. That thought pushes out the thrill of creation and then there's no way I'll pick up hammer, nails, saw, and drill. No way.
I could be talking about writing. The anxiety that my words will be a mess stops writing. I get that feeling when I'm writing for publication. I put so much anxiety into it that sometimes I don't write. Then there are morning's like this when, though I'm worried how people will read this, I go on because I have something to create.
The bathroom door no longer squeaks. Even though I was working with paper towel and extra virgin olive oil, the hinges no longer squeak. I created that solution, learned a bit of patience for it to work, and feel good about it now. It's time to build some things in my life and to see what happens when I live through anxiety and move to the other side. In other words, it's time to write on.