The Notched Wing

Helen Tara Hughes – Poetry, Fiction, Film, Phantasms

I am the Emotional Storm

On Friday, I realized that I am in my last days at my current job.

Once it was good for me, a means to keep my producing chops and paperwork skills sharp, a source of money to make this film happen (accountants, graphic designers and lawyers all cost money). In the past year at this company I’ve done my most accomplished work in an office environment. Some of it creative, too. I was asked on the spot to describe my background in the admin world on an Executive conference call in September, and I didn’t think – I responded like a good actor, leaped in and reeled it off. And, in the speaking, I became aware of everything I have done and can do.

Then I was hit with more responsibility. Technical writing, project management – it has been more than I’d ever expected or dreamed could exist in my role at this company.

It can be a vicious environment, swimming with sharks each day. Constant practice in “Perception is Reality”. At first, satisfying to know that the blows can roll off you, that you have learned not to take anything personally and simply move on to the next need without judgment. But now it is wearing on me, eroding my ability to experience joy.

For some weeks now, around 2 pm on Sunday, I descend into a black mood. Unless I distract myself by going to some event or play or social function which feeds the artist me, that blackness clouds everything.

I never thought this about myself (only about other people!), but just realized I have a tendency not to finish my artistic projects. I get them to a certain point and then I have a crisis of confidence. Drop them and move onto something else. I am only comfortable when I am absorbed in something – then my fears are obliterated and I can revel in my imagination, the safest place I know.

I’m staring that in the face today too, a lack of confidence which is unfounded but which cripples me completely.

When I become seized with anxiety, rarely but it happens, I feel like I’m going crazy.

I’m not. I’m not.

One of my best friends just told me that my fiery spirit is what he loves about me.
“I know it sometimes overwhelms you,” he wrote, “but it is a driving force and one I admire.”

So. Driving force, eh?

A to B.
In between fits of tears, I will plow through my list.
I will stare this in the face and conquer it.


“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

-Frank Herbert, Dune, “Litany Against Fear”, 1965

Author: smallboy

Helen Tara Hughes is a writer, producer and actor. An award-winning theatre performer, she cut her teeth in classical and new work at major theatres across Canada, including the Stratford Festival. Her first taste of documentary work – a POV radio documentary for CBC’s ‘Outfront’ – gave her the documentary bug, and in 2009 she transitioned into Producing with the feature documentary, Goodness in Rwanda. As a writer, she has been published by Backofthebook.ca, Eros Digest, and TWISI, and has a book of short stories that will be published in the fall of 2012. As a filmmaker, she creates short films based on poetic writing. She moonlights as an Asst Producer and Coordinator for documentary, factual, and independent films, and is developing a slate of her own media projects for 2013.

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