I have a teeny texting problem.  Not all the time, just sometimes, with the rare person who captures my imagination and attention. With that person texting is either a bad idea or a good idea. The problem is that I don’t care which it is, cuz I do it anyway…24/7 like a stream of consciousness. And I’m powerless to stop. Kinda.

The foreshadowing of this came years ago, before texting was even a thing, when I opened a yahoo account and got my first magical instant-gratification electronic bit of mail….that little icon with the “1” on it made my body vibrate and squeal with excitement. This was before spam, when every missile received was from an actual person.

I live in my head quite a bit, (after all, it’s mine so might as well use it)  The written word is quite powerful, you know, in my head. I can read it (in my head), on my own time, sometimes quickly, sometimes over and over. When I see things written down, I own every word differently than if it’s spoken. I like my own words, and I love other people’s words even more.

If I have a thought or an idea or an impression, if I am enjoying a book or a person or a movie – in a forest – and no one is there to share it with me…..am I still enjoying myself? Judging from the number of facebook posts, texts and emails I send, the answer must be, no.

Remember when Warren Beatty says to Madonna as she is having her voice examined by an ENT and is filming the whole thing, remember when he says  -” Goodness woman, do you have to film everything? It’s like if you don’t film it, it isn’t real.” – I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the gist.  He meant it to be insulting but she just smiled.

When I feel too Madonna I tell myself that she never bothered to answer that question, she just did what she wanted. And also, she does have a sense of privacy, I do believe. She just felt like filming her life at the time.  Madonna is one of my imaginary best friends. It’s hard to explain, but we just get each other.

When I happen on some discovery, whether it’s a cool new word, a show that has me blown away, a photograph, a moment,… I, well, there is no good way to put this, I overshare. Once when I was on a facebook bender once I spoke of feeling a bit electrified and I believe someone gently suggested that maybe if I posted less, I’d calm down.

That’s funny, because since when is calming down the goal? I actually have discovered that too much calm for me leads to taking to my bed, a wish to shut out the world, and inevitably some kind of functional depression. I always do my job, but I have previously withdrawn from the world so completely that all I know is my office and my bed. And I have bounced back and forth between those two for months, usually in the winter, but still….months….

To stay connected I have to make a HUGE effort. I have to remind myself to reach out to the world. One reason is that my work is intense on an interpersonal level, daily. I need to jack up my own life to some pretty extravagant levels in order for it to even register. My work is my world much of the time, though creativity, feeling free, intimacy…these are things that I crave when I’m not in my office. I was going to say not on the clock, but I am always on the clock in some form or another.

To me life feels like a painting, and I am done with painting by numbers. Don’t get me wrong, painting by numbers got me started and served me well, but I am 53 now….I want to wake up and start putting things on canvas without a plan. If I don’t like it , I want to paint it over and start again, though the textures underneath really never go away..they come through a little bit. I want to be able to call someone over to say hey, what do you think? I want to feel free to ignore their summation of my work, but I want to know what they think, anyway, because it gives me clarity, encouragement and new vision – to see things through another’s eyes.

I want to know some people who don’t always want to be known by me the way I want to know them. Badly, thats how much I want to know them. These rare birds are the ones I over-text. I have my own relationship with them, wait for it…..in my head. If I were to steal a word from a friend and pair it with another word I would call these souls – binary muses. I know I’m just jerking off and I know I’m a bit off the chain…but it feels essential for me to take off and freely just do what I want with their inbox. These are compelling people who quietly stay put and manage to be amused to some degree, even though I suspect they “worry” about me on occasion. At least they tell me so, until they realize I am like the energizer bunny, or that clown that pops up every time life whacks him down. Worries are not called for, though support and concern,  always welcome.

I always do my job, I always keep going. By text, email, facebook or a howdy on the street, I am fed enough to stay upright and out from under the covers.

My texting problem is like a flu that hits hard, then passes. I have caught this flu three times, and am recovering now from a pretty strong bout of it. When I am sick, I am productive. I do new things, I am flooded with ideas, I make things with my hands and my brain.

My previous flues have become good friends. We are in touch rather normally now. They know my secrets, and in time have told me some of theirs. The balance is now balanced, for though fluey ranting isn’t sustainable, good hearts in the world, we stick together.

Thanks to the fevers and out of body, in body, out of context, in context periods, I’m moving forward, and that’s what really matters. Warren Beatty can eff off cuz there’s a lid for every pot. He got Annette Bening and Madonna is still Madonna and I have a flu2dog named Garth. And the beat goes on…