After an unpleasant two weeks with poison ivy I took my first enjoyable shower Saturday. Each time prior the water brought an inevitable hour of itchiness so intense it seemed to hurt mentally.

That and being in an on and off Benedryl haze, I felt human again soaking in the warm water. It occurred to me how humanizing it is to do these things, and how opposite it begins to feel not doing so for long enough. I’ve felt uncomfortable in my own skin before, but not often so literally. It’s a very foreign and slippery thing that leaves a subconscious mark on me every time.

Then I shut my eyes, in a sense, and cacooned myself for a day or two. In retrospect it seemed a nonsensical teetering between introspection and closing a door on myself.

A murmur inside from a resolute song, telling me to brace. Telling me to take the high road, to take it like a man. It’s not a mantra I carry with me because I claim to have mastered it or that I think myself the embodiment of its success. To the contrary, I fail to varying degrees at it every day, but it’s an aspect of a man I want to be. I keep it with me like a man keeps a picture of a tropical vacation on his desk at work; something to aspire to, to find serenity in, and to seek guidance from. Besides, to fail to varying degrees also means to succeed inversely.

When the toil of any given day is over, when the cool winds of the solitude of mind pluck at the jacket, I unfasten the last button to let it in. I stand split-faced, one weary of a long journey, one smirking a twisted grin against the insignificance of doubt. Throw my hands open for a moment, but then shudder before the freeze.

Figure skating in the dust of what’s come before and grinning to myself, eventually.

My week began sourly, the essence of a creative churning turned toxic in me by not being resolute enough to share it. I began a dozen times throughout Saturday and seemingly found every reason not to finish. As the hours passed I found myself less able to articulate it, and the frustration of let down became poison inside. I let myself emotionally falter until I was suddenly nakedly aware of the look of it.

Suddenly I was strangely aware that a muse could cripple easy quickly as she enlightened if ignored. I felt fatigued again, but struggled into the flow.