Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Writer and Pain

I'm writing this when I'm tired, despite the numerous people telling that the best thing I can do is go to bed for eight to ten hours. I am writing this because today I hurt, and I hurt in a way that goes deeper than bone or marrow, and it wasn't until about twenty-six minutes ago that I even thought today was a good day.

See, on Friday, I had a big dream of mine crushed. And I don't mean crushed like the way you lose a video game by an embarrassing score, I mean crushed the way an addict grinds up a good pill, or the way the weight of the world hangs like an anchor down between your shoulder blades when you're just worn down to the last nerve. I will spare you the specifics, but just know this - I had hope, I had a plan to do a very awesome thing, and it would have in turn lead to some very awesome praise, which would have led to even more awesome things.

And this isn't just about me being told "No." I hear "No" a lot. This didn't feel like a "No, we're not interested in what you're offering to do", which I hear all the time, so much so that it's just a part of doing business. This felt like "No, you loser, no, you sad fat sick piece of shit, you don't get to sit at the big-kid-table of success, because you spent every single one of your formative years out of your mind, and all your best experiences happened outside the normal boundaries, and this thing you want to do, this idea, it's not inside the box we expect ideas to come in, so take it and roll your ass out the door."

That hurts. It hurts because I had to have conversations with people I respect, people I admire, my friends, people who look at me as a mentor and as a friend and I had to tell them, "Yeah, this didn't work out." I had to be more than mature, I had to be brave and strong and big and ready, and I wanted so badly to tell them I'm none of those things right now, because I hurt, just like you. Maybe not the same way, but I hurt too.

I had a good day Saturday. I laughed and smiled and was with the person I love and despite freezing temperatures, for the first time in my adult life, enjoyed a baseball game simply for being in the seat, not because I was obligated to attend it - I got to be me. Side note - I love all times when I get to be me.

But I thought that "being me" meant that I could only be the positive me, the me with good news, the me who was excited to share this whizz-bang set of mechanics that makes something fun, the me who laughs an obnoxious laugh that makes prudish people stare at restaurants.

This weekend taught me that being me means I get to be me with the bruises showing. That it's okay to sit in a car in a Starbucks parking lot, biting back tears because you're just so tired and just so hurt, and you're past anger over the not-getting-a-thing, you're fighting and clawing your way out of a hole lined with oil and glass, sliding and getting cut. Bleeding and falling.

Because, I don't know if you know this, but sometimes, it's hard not to feel like a failure. It's hard, even in the face of people who can point to your successes and you say to them, "Yeah, but that's the past." and you look at the present and you see things you're *not* doing, and you look at the future and all you see is, even if for a moment, how hard it might be to do the things you want.

Now I don't know if I'm going to feel this way come Monday morning. I hope I don't, this sucks. This sucks because it hurts, and it sucks because it's draining. It's a leech, and it makes every breath feel like I'm taking it through concrete cheesecloth and that every limb is weighed down in lead blankets like at the dentist's office.

I'm tired, this hurts. This is my illness talking. This isn't me. I don't know if it is me or not, but at this moment, this is my experience, and these are my feelings. I don't want any of you to feel the ache that comes with wanting something and not getting it, I don't want any of you to have to push off your plans and dreams because there's any measure of other-people-telling-you-no.

I make a living somewhat invisibly, which is why I started doing development and why I reignited the fire under me to do more interviews and speaking. This is not a post where I want your praise. This is not a pity party. This is a tired man's ramble. These are the disjointed thoughts of someone in pain. These are the thoughts of someone who is taking his one talent, wordcraft, and making something of it.

Big sigh. Pause here a minute. Exhale. Wish you were getting a hug right now. These are the things I say to myself when only the dog is listening.

When you get a chance to go after a big dream, go for it. Let nothing stop you. Not even the fear of getting hurt, which might happen. If it happens, it happens, you manage it the best you can. And if you get hurt, be hurt, not immobilized. Not paralyzed. Just hurt, for a little while. Wounds mend. Moods pass. I learned that tonight in a Starbucks parking lot.

I'm tired. I got denied one dream and yeah, it feels like right now there's this dryspell, that I'm not in the center of a great productive hurricane like I was a few months ago. But that's nobody's fault - it's not always going to be the busiest you've ever been. It is what it is. I wish it didn't hurt sometimes to say that, or type (each finger striking a key feels like falling down a flight of stairs) it.

Here's to hoping things improve. Here's to tomorrow, which is a better day because it starts new and hasn't been written yet.