I had a strange day a few months ago, while my wife was still recovering from her surgery. Something upset me during my morning routine, something that should have been a minor occurrence ended up with me over-reacting, shutting my laptop and storming out of the room. I had a wave of “I’ll never be a writer!” come over me. As if being published, famous or successful makes you any more or less of a thing.
“I’ll just sit and watch TV all day,” I told myself, and my wife. I didn’t. I couldn’t. I did all the chores I could think of. I stubbornly refused to read because why should I bother? “If I’m not going to be a writer anymore, there’s no reason to read,” is what went through my mind. As I wallowed in self-pity most of the day, not doing anything that I was looking forward to, I realized how much happier writing every day makes me.
So my day was spent in some sort of insane doubt about myself, even with waves of suicide creeping in here and there. I could never leave my family in the lurch, however upset I am at my condition. I’ve never had those thoughts before, so this was uncharted territory.
Reason sets in
By nightfall, I seemed to have settled down a little. But I’d been progressively more and more irritated at my wife during her healing from her hernia surgery. She would help sometimes, and others, with no warning or communication, just ignore whatever was going on, leaving it for me to take care of. It was unlike her.
I have a tendency to overreact when I get interrupted and unable to focus on my work. That happened more and more during her recovery.
I had been jokingly calling my wife “invalid” as in in-valid, non-valid, but it seemed to be true. She wouldn’t engage. It had nothing to do with her healing. I think she enjoyed finally getting some help around the house, and I just wanted a few minutes here or there where I can work on something. I can’t really blame her.
The truth hurts – and heals
But as I struggled to not allow ideas to come to me during my “episode,” one thought did break through. “No one cares.” It rang loud and true as I went through my chores, normally a time when I try to harness the ideas that spring forth from mundane work. I couldn’t keep that thought out of my head. No one cares. As much as my wife tries to be supportive of whatever I’m doing, at the end of the day, she really doesn’t care if I write or not. She cares if I’m happy to the extent that if I’m not happy, it affects her life. That’s all. But she couldn’t care less if I ever write again. And if she doesn’t care, I’m damn certain no one else does, either.
Freedom in reality
It was an enlightening thought. Not a single person in this world cares whether I continue to do this or not. No one is missing something I don’t write. There is no reason for me to continue. There is no way I can fail because there is no one waiting for me to succeed. I have to build everything from scratch, and even 10 years from now, if I have droves of fans willing to pay me for my work, they won’t really care if I continue or not, because they’ll find someone else to read, someone else to entertain them. It just doesn’t matter to anyone but me.
I think I had to work through that realization for several hours for it to become what it is now in my mind. It’s not a negative thought, it’s just a statement of fact. It’s a declaration of something I’ll have to deal with for years, possibly forever. There’s a great chance that no one will ever care about what I do because I’m not all that bright, and I’m definitely not all that educated. I’m just me. I’m a watered-down version of Holden Caulfield, pissed off at the world without really having anyone to blame but myself.
I piddled away my youth on fun and frivolity. I’ve spent all my money on things. I now face financially difficult times for the next several months and more stress at work because I chose to change jobs. I have self-inflicted stress because I feel like I need to create every day for some reason I can’t entirely explain.
It’s not the right path
Only for me. Which, I imagine, is why I’m doomed to failure. I’m not out there trying to give to the community, I’m trying to take for myself. From everything I’ve read so far, that’s not the common belief of how one gets successful, but it is the common myth. Do I care? Yes, I do. No matter how much I tell myself that there’s no one to answer to except me, I want others to like my work. I want to create something that is good. I don’t care to change the world. This day and age, no one is going to listen to reason and an alternate point of view, anyway. But at least I want my work to be something I can be proud of.
Most days, I don’t even get that.
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