A Nice Little Brown Paper Bag of Groceries

April 2nd, 2014

I’m starting to hate my life, not because I’m a terrible person – I’m not suicidal, and I don’t hate life itself. I’m starting to hate my life, because I have ideas that are in my head, burning and fighting, like small little Olympic gods, cramped inside my skull, and they just won’t stop. They wrestle every night and I can feel them punching each other – It’s not the best feeling, but without them, I don’t feel very much at all.

“Oh, that’s schizophrenia,” I’ve heard before, but no, it’s not. This is different, I’m sure of it. These small little deities aren’t personalities, and if they were, they wouldn’t be my personalities. They have voices, of course (who doesn’t?), but they aren’t my voices. These demi-gods are just ideas, though; they fight each other in a way that would make Charles Darwin proud that he named his theory ‘survival of the fittest’. It’s a beautiful battle, but a bloody one and a horrific one that has no escape, and rarely a resolution.

On the outside, my eyelids twitch because I only got about three hours of sleep last night, but inside my skull, the twitching eyelids are the least of my worries – they’re just the side effects of an all-out, good-and-hardy, down-and-out fist fight. And every so often, they miss each other and hit the back of my eyeballs, causing my eyelids to twitch.

“You should see a doctor.” I’ve heard that before, too. I thought that would solve this little headache issue of mine, so I gave it a try. But I didn’t get a solution, I just got drugs and pills, and ideas don’t like drugs and pills, they like pen and paper. No, I didn’t need a doctor, I needed a new notebook, or better yet, a giant whiteboard where my ideas could splay themselves out across the wall and move the battle onward.

Onward, and upward, more violent and more creative. The battle raged in ways and shapes I never expected. The ideas started to learn karate and tai-kwon-do and archery and fencing and finally I just had to stop them and ask them:

“Where do you guys learn all of this anyway? I don’t know any of this!”

But of course they didn’t answer, they just kept on fighting until it wasn’t just the twitchy eyelids, but muscle spasms and jittery fingers and achy backs and stiff knees.

Finally, I met a man who shared the same problem – enduring the endless fighting inside the war torn no-man’s land inside his brain. I happened to take a seat next to him on the trolley, and he took one look at me and said: “It’s the ideas, isn’t it?”

“Yes, of course, you have them, too?” I said, probably sounding like an excited schoolboy going through puberty. “How do you survive them?”

He looked at me and smiled.

“Oh, I put them all down. They’re under control. The only thing they do now is knock on my door when they’re hungry and I bring them a nice little brown paper bag of groceries, and that keeps them quiet for a while.”

“Oh,” I said, startled quite a bit. And before I had a chance to ask whether or not it was worth it, the trolley stopped and the man got off. Just then, I heard a knocking on the door to my brain, followed by a terrible bang of a grenade going off inside my head.

A nice little brown paper bag of groceries? I thought. You traded your raging ideas for nice little brown paper bag full of groceries?

You traded your sleepless nights, your wild rabbit-hole conversations, your crazed poetry filled stampedes, your ballistic word canons and your semi-automatic illustration sprees and your violent brainstorming escapades and your spontaneous, directionless wandering for peace of mind and a bag of groceries?

I shrugged, and stayed on that damn trolley, wherever it was going to take me, my eyes twitching with every stop.
 
 

Sign up to receive A Story Each Day via email:

* indicates required