Taken By The Wind (A Personal History, Part 3): The Beard of Loneliness

When things never get better, when do you give up hope that they will?

I’m not there yet, but I’ve been on the edge of that chasm for a long time.

For most of my life, I’ve alternated between times when I have to struggle to get anything at all done, and times when I was on task, organized, and convinced I could make permanent change. Note that these have never been “manic” times, just times when I was operating closer to the norm, closer to what I should be, what I might have been had it not been ripped out of me as a child.

But those productive times are always followed by collapse. To-do lists curl and die like leaves in a fire. Lonely chapters gather virtual dust on the hard drive, awaiting fellows who’ll never show. The bed forgets what it’s like to be made. And my chin thickens with whiskers, a barometer of my efficacy in my own life because I do not want a beard.

I have one now.

I had planned to get rid of the damnable thing today, because the lovely and exuberant Laurel Snyder, another local author, had organized a social gathering of literary minds at a neighborhood bar. I’ve been excited about this for a couple of months, looking forward to getting the hell out of my hermit hole to meet a bunch of new people, unwind, maybe make some new friends.

Instead, I’m on the couch, bearded, in my Batman Begins pajama pants (black with rusty orange batarangs) with a hole in the seat, gnashing teeth over the gunning down of an Arizona congresswoman and nearly a score of others, and writing this.


Because taking positive action, like going to the gathering, requires an exertion of will. To exert will, you have to have motivation. And while I’m motivated to some degree (as I said, I’ve really been looking forward to this), it’s a motivation without core. The missing core is the answer to the question, “What’s the point?”

It’s not that I don’t think I’d have a great time. I’m pretty certain that, had I roused myself to go, I’d have had a splendid time. It’s that, after years of disappointment in so many things, splendid times and successes all seem so ephemeral as to be simply pointless.

Something inside me says, “You’d have a great time? So what?” And I find it harder and harder to debate the little bastard.

Anyway. Laurel posted today that she’s planning another of these things in March. Hopefully I’ll have my head out of my ass by then, because I’m pretty sure I need it.

Taken By The Wind Part 1

Taken By The Wind Part 2

4 comments on “Taken By The Wind (A Personal History, Part 3): The Beard of Loneliness

  1. When I read this, I felt very sad for you. When depressions recur, it can be very hard to believe you can continue to stand up under the next one, because you know another is coming.

    Ultimately, we keep going because God, not we ourselves, knows what the purpose for our time here is. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

    God bless you and stay strong.

  2. addictiondownfall says:

    Hi Tim

    I know exactly what you mean. I can start the day with good intentions and a list in my head of what I want to do and then end the day with none of it done. I find it frustrating. I read this the other day in the book The Spirit of Tao “When you are lazy and procrastinate, you expend more energy in emotional addiction than you would if you just went and did the physical thing that has to be done.
    When things are handled the emotions quiet down and the mind becomes calm. When things are handled moment by moment you find out that everything is fine, everything is smooth, everything is right where it would be.” Does it work? I don’t know yet. I am supposed to be cleaning out a kitchen cupboard not exploring blogs on spirituality- sometimes I just have to laugh at myself Cheers Robyn(South Australia)

    • Tim Byrd says:

      Robyn, I’m never happier than when the apartment is clean, the cupboard is full, my chin is smooth, and I’m at the cafe’ writing every day.

      I actually enjoy being productive, at least about things I care about. So yes, I believe the energy cost of not doing and thereby resisting my actual desires and inclinations (such as going to the gathering last night) is far higher than acting.

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