Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cheap Therapy

So in early March I bought a book called Wreck This Journal. It's supposed to inspire your creative muse, and my muse was in need of a good kick in the arse, so I picked it up. On each page there are directions of things you are supposed to do... to be taken however you choose. On one page, it simply said, "Crack The Spine." So after cracking the spine of my journal, I drew a spine and wrote all about how I used to see a chiropractor and her nickname (by me) was Crunch because of the sound it made when she did her adjustments. It's a fun book, but it had one page that I felt I couldn't do. One page who's directions challenged the very core of my being. It had a photo of a matchbook, and said, "Burn This Page." If you know me, or you've read my blog since the start, you'll know that in 1999 we had a fire in our apartment. As you can imagine, fire isn't something I take lightly and I wasn't too amused by this page. I went online to Flickr, where they have a gallery of pages other people have done, to see if anyone else "skipped" any. No luck.

Instead of burning the page.. I drew a photo of my apartment building on the left side of the page. I wrote our address, and put smoke plumes coming out of the first floor window. On the page with the matchbook, I drew a fire. I also wrote about how I wasn't sure if I could burn the page, and why. I wrote about how fire and the smell of burning things causes me to have anxiety attacks and so on and so forth. That was March 9th. After I was finished, I decided that I wanted to do it. I was going to be brave, and burn the page. The next day. Fast Forward to today. April 19th. One month and 10 days later, and I finally felt brave enough to do it.

I had just come back from a 2.5 mile run, and I think I was hopped up on adrenaline. I gave The Boy the camera, got my journal, and went outside to get the lighter out of the grill drawer before I could change my mind. It's a lovely spring day, and I tried not to be deterred by the fact that there is a bit of a breeze and I couldn't get the lighter to work. Ms. Thang came out to watch, she thought it was great and was tickled to death that I was going to burn something. I didn't feel so delighted. I got the edge of the page to catch on fire, and then quickly blew it out. But that wasn't the part of the page I wanted to burn.

I wanted to burn the part of the page where our apartment was. I wanted the building photo I had drawn to be burnt, the way our apartment was. Some crazy part of my brain needed to this, and so I I burnt it again. In the above photo you can see the black spot that quickly turned from a black spot into a small fire. I quickly put it down and stomped my book with my old running shoes (worn just in case it got out of control and the whole book went up). This photo shows the other side of the page with the apartment on it, as i was picking the book back up to make sure nothing was still smoldering. I didn't want a repeat performance at our house.

Ms. Thang was disappointed that I didn't burn the page that said, "Burn This Page." I felt like I needed to keep that page in tact. I needed my story to be there. I wanted the burn to be on the building.. some kind of therapeutic measure that doesn't really make sense to me either. I didn't do a grand job on that picture of the apartment when I drew it, because I fully intended to burn the entire page. Turns out I'm not quite as brave as I thought when I started, but really I'm quite proud of myself for even going out there and trying. Baby steps... after almost 10 years.

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