Just the other day, a faithful reader of mine asked me this question.
I didn’t answer him right away. But I wanted to say no.
Are you okay? Well, yes, absolutely. I have all the trappings of happiness: Good health. A great husband, three healthy kids, a nice house. I have wonderful friends in real life. I have hobbies that I love. I get to take vacations to break up the winter. I have fulfilled my childhood dreams of marrying my best friend and owning an RV.
What more could you possibly ask for, you ask.
Well, I’m greedy. I’m not proud of that fact, but I do accept it about myself. I want it all. I only get to live once. I’m lucky, I’ll be the first to admit it. My life is good. I’ll spare you the details of how hard I’ve worked to get it that way. But now I want the bad with the good. I need to feel sadness, anger, and fear just as much as I need to feel joy, compassion, and calmness.
Why, you ask. Here’s the thing: Disequilibrium makes me creative. When I’m not okay, I write. When I’m not okay, I write like this, and this, and this. All of my best writing comes to me when I’m not okay, or when there is some disparity between where I am and where I want to be. Bridging the gulf makes me work harder, it makes me resourceful, and it makes me creative.
So what, you ask. Why seek difficulty? Why not just count your blessings? Why not go shut up and be a good little married mom? Why not be okay? Because I can’t. Because a year ago I came a little too close to losing my mind, and I glimpsed something while I was there on the edge. Because when you get a peek of something more than you expected in life, and when you’re me, you can’t just let that go. Because I want to feed myself to that transcendent gristmill and then write myself back together again. Because I want to live before I die. And if I chase death a little along the way? Even better.
Are you okay? Totally fucking not.