I haven’t much to say, but I’ll be saying what I have.
I appear to be very, very afraid.
My home life is good. My kids are fine; going through some interesting times, but they can handle what they have. My writing is going well; I appear to understand that, even when I don’t feel that I can write, if I just WILL, then I can. And, largely, I am very pleased with the results. I am getting ample support from Bridgette to continue; she even points out times I could sit and write.
Everything, in short, is going pretty well, or even fabulously well.
I am having problems sleeping.
I go to bed tired, eyes dragging, lay me down, and slowly wake. One point is always with me: if I don’t get enough sleep, I will not be able to get up and write, I will not finish my book, I will not grasp the opportunity that I want so badly.
I believe that I am self-sabotaging.
All right, maybe I do have quite a bit to say.
Everyone talks about what they would do, “if only.” If only they had the money, had the job, had the school, had the chance. The bald, unlovely truth of that chance is that it comes with an entourage of fears; being insufficient, not having the support to make use of the opportunity, having it jerked away at the last minute, discovery that the opportunity was not the only thing necessary … that talent was needed, as well.
For two decades, I had a life partner who, for whatever reasons, was my mentor to building a life that systematically walls up opportunities behind debt, stress, overschedule, mutually reinforcing low self esteem, and an emotionally volitile home life. You can’t live the Jerry Springer lifestyle and have a successful life.
Those things are fading into my past. The last of them is dribbling away as our son grows to adulthood and the last court battle is fought; after this, she has nothing left of me, and all of the things I connected with her are gone.
The only things holding me back now are poverty (in control), work demands (in control), home demands (prioritized and in control), emotional needs of our relationship (so in control that it is rewarding), the opportunity to work at something I care about (I have that opportunity) and … me. When nothing is holding one back, the only thing responsible for one’s failure is oneself.
After all this time, I am afraid that all the other things have been merely excuses, that they weren’t overwhelming, that my emotional landscape was not covered in metaphorical toxic waste, that I could have lived in a battle zone and still lived the life I wanted.
What if it was always me?
Then this opportunity will show that, and I will fall, screaming my shame and pain and loss of something I never had, describing my despairing cometary into the depths of hell, to writhe with loathing self awareness forever. Those who have hated me can gather at the rim of my pit and point, laughing gaily, as all their sins are placed on my head for shirking their misery and going in search of my own happiness.
No one will ever love me again.
And I will not be allowed to have candy at Christmas.
[more face rubbing]
So. I get a grip, and realize that I have been writing while tired, and I can write in the evening, as well, and that, even tired, I have been writing each day and pick up speed as I go, and turn out words I am happy with in a story I think is good. And, eventually, I sleep.
When I write, I sometimes find I am practicing avoidance. I stop and write me notes: “It’s okay to write shit.” This morning I wanted to sit and stare out the window; I’d write two or three words, then sit and drift. I gave myself five minute assignments, and wrote without pause for five minutes straight. And it works.
But I keep doing this. I hope I don’t have to do this all the way through this book. Maybe I should write more each day, to minimize the time I have to be like this. Yeah, great, I’ll add some stress. Good idea.
No, the answer is to do what I’m doing. Get up each day, write, no matter what I think or how I feel, and make it as good as I know to make it.
And, most of the time, I don’t have to think too much about being scared. I feel great when I write, I feel great when I have written. I’ll get through this.