On Chasing Reflections from the Eclipse // A.C.

On Chasing Reflections from the Eclipse // A.C.

I might have missed last month’s solar eclipse if it weren’t for my cat. At around 11 in the morning, right around the time I normally write my morning pages, she started chittering, then leaping at the walls, newly spotted with tiny cyan, blue and purple crescents. I was glad to see the little moons. Being well out of the path of totality and working from home indoors, they were just about the only sign of the eclipse I’d see. Their light came from a teardrop-shaped crystal I keep on my desk—not that Paella knew that. I twirled the crystal between my fingers, throwing eclipse light around the room for her to scrabble after, like so many laser pointers aimed at a disco ball. (This is still a novel game for us because she is only eight months old.)

Afterwards, I returned to my journal, glancing up every now and then as Paella slowly snaked her way up carts and shelves, intent on stalking her unattainable moon prey. I thought about how I, too, sometimes pursue various goals without noticing that they are actually flashes and glimmers of something else. Conscious wants are so often reflections of deeper, obscured ones. It’s easy enough to understand that what we show of ourselves to others—friends, family, colleagues, teachers, social media, strangers—is usually only a piece of who we really are, what we’re really about or after. But it’s also interesting how we sometimes try to hide these things from ourselves. I say “try”, because despite my subconscious’s best efforts to conceal any nuggets of realness, writing usually tends to ferret them out in the end.

I’ll give a paraphrased example from my own stream-of-consciousness MD Codex. Over and over again, recent entries mention feeling badly rested. I write that I want a break from back-to-back events, from responsibilities and stressors. A few pages later: it’s my day off, the events are done, the deadlines have been met, the anxieties have more or less passed—but the weight hasn’t lifted. Conventional wisdom and my therapist suggest it’s overextension, that I need to schedule time off. I try it; it doesn’t help in a lasting way. I write to myself, like an adult just beginning to get frustrated with a petulant kid, “Is there anything I want? Anything that would make me feel better?” A few halfhearted sentences follow about chores being out of the way, an iced coffee maybe, small joys that would bring fleeting relief. And then, quite suddenly: “nah, what I really want most of all is to feel fully immersed in [writing] a book again”. I stare at the page for a moment after writing this. It’s no surprise; of course I want to make another book, and have been working towards doing so. But now I realize that that part’s the moon on the wall. It’s reflecting the light of something beyond itself, which is the desire to re-establish the discipline and flow, the structure and control over my time, both resting AND working, that I had while in a long-term creative state. How obvious, how clear it seems in ink on paper. It’s not that I want to escape my responsibilities. I want to be so fulfilled by what I’m tending to that it constitutes its own escape. And prioritizing what is truly fulfilling would allow me to truly rest, because it would feel earned.

This is investigation, not solution. There’s a mix of things I can and can’t control in the sentences I wrote, and finding workable strategies will take more time and work (and journaling). But for now, it’s enough to have this raw material. I have to know the most honest form of what I want before I can figure out how to give it to myself. In the meantime, I’ll keep chasing various interests and desires while keeping in mind the guiding lights at their source—that’s the lesson of my notebooks. And I’ll try to have fun doing it—that’s the advice of my cat.

Text and photos by:
 A.C. Esguerra

Where to find A.C. : instagram @blueludebar

Read other stories by A.C. : Here

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