Raise your hand if you’re still trying to figure things out. (Extra points if you are over 35).
Yeah, me too. I’ve kind of amassed a reputation for being unreliable and making poor choices. If you ask anyone about me, they will probably tell you they like me, and that I am nice and helpful, but I’d bet none of them would choose me for their emergency contact.
My parents have both named a sibling as executor of their wills, despite the fact I’m the oldest.
Honestly, it doesn’t really bother me most of the time, the lack of expectations keep me from disappointing everyone when I freeze up. And freezing up is what I do best.
You’ll often hear me say I write from a place of chaos. A good friend once told me that the worst thing to ever happen to his writing was his success. I believe his exact quote was:
“Since I started working at google, the only thing I worry about is the age of my scotch.”
That comment has stuck with me. I began wondering if artists have evolved into the messes most of us are in order to stay inspired. How depressingly ironic.
Personally, I began writing when my therapist suggested I’d benefit from keeping a diary. I tried for about three days to chronicle my life and feelings into some kind of decipherable literature, but it’s hard to write inside the lines when you’re busy rolling your eyes.
I apparently can’t take myself seriously and need drama to stay interested.
So I created some. It’s easier to live in a fantasy world when your own is in shambles. I wrote about my life as if I were writing about someone else’s. It was exciting to look in from the outside, and it made being honest about my exploits easier because I wasn’t judging myself anymore.
This is where the unreliable part comes in. See, the book took only a year to reach novel proportions, but it’s been sitting for two while it waits for an ending. And so have I.
I poured everything I had into writing through a broken heart.
I was barely functional in my day to day life for most of that first year, and it took me another two to recover from the shock and disappointment of losing my husband. Had it not been for the writing, I’m not convinced I ever would have. It gave me the confidence to get up and start living again. I did it for the book. I even called it research. Something happened during that healing process. Something epic. I met a few people who literally changed me, and the way I live my life. Some for the better, some definitely not. but it made for a ton of growth, and a few good stories!
You see, I’ve always worked hard to impress people. Specifically people I admire.
Stay with me, I use the word admire with a grain of salt. I am easily influenced. What I mean by this is that I want to be involved in whatever it is that everyone is doing. I hate being left out of the “fun”. Sometimes the fun is a good thing, like reading, or dancing, or playing guitar; sometimes it’s drinking and doing stupid things. I’ve gone out with good intentions and woken up with a hangover too many times to count. All in pursuit of not missing out on any of the fun.
Friendly advice: think of yourself before your first drink as the girl sitting in the front row at church, and yourself before the fifth or sixth drink as the drugged up stripper with her thong on inside out, that just fell off the pole and chipped a tooth. Her sense of judgement is not exactly spotless. A fifth drink only sounds like a good idea because you had a second one. It’s a good way to wake up somewhere you didn’t want to end up. Trust me.
The phone rang just as I was finishing the last paragraph. It was one of the people who changed my life for the better. I’d even go so far as to say the one who’s changed it for the best. Support can be a miraculous thing. Someone who’s willing to listen to you can do more good than a million push-ups. Actually, in this case, he’s probably made me do a million push-ups, so, there’s that. I asked him if he’s ever felt restless? Like there are so many different paths in front of you how could you know which one to take? To my surprise he said yes, all of the time. When you’re prone to distraction and disappointment, you often feel like everyone else has it figured out but you. It’s nice to know some of the people who seem to have it figured out also struggle with feeling this way. Ultimately, I’m not sure how much it helps, but it’s definitely nice to know.
We spoke for about thirty minutes, which is long for a guy who’s not laying next to you naked. I did most of the talking. (Yeah, yeah, feminism took a hit with that one. Deal with it.) I walked away feeling like while I still don’t know where to focus my energies, at least I know I need to focus on spending time figuring it out.
What do I want, and why?
He also gave me some great advice:
“Picking a path and sticking with it doesn’t mean it has to ultimately be the right path. Just jump in and you’ll figure it out as you go.”
I sat down and wrote the rest of this article, so there you have it. Progress. Now I just need to convince myself that I am worth the effort and pick a damn path already. What’s the worst that could happen? I write another book? Lol. Stay tuned.