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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6 thoughts on “I Almost Gave up”
Very introspective, and this sounds like you’ve made it through quite a stressful time. Trying to write effectively while watching the years tick by has certainly been an eye-opening experience for me, as well. Good that you’re attempting to focus on just what it is you wish to get out of this life experience.
Thank you, Becky – you hit it on the head – attempting to focus on what it is I wish to get out of it. I’m not sure sure it’s about me getting anything out of it as much as it’s me having to do it because I can’t deny myself anymore.
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You shared some wise words about the desire to create something good, something that you can be proud of. Keeping up the creative spirit during tough times is really hard, and I thank you for showing honestly how hard it can be.
Thank you, Rae. I used to think I needed drama to stimulate the creative juices. That’s just not the case anymore, nor was I all that creative when I thought that way. It’s difficult to keep the creativity going on good days!
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Hang in there Iain, get your mutual muses to help you with this one. You are creative, you write well. You have followers who read and react to your work. It makes you feel better to do it, so do it. It’s not the end result, it is the journey. Keep doing it because it does make you happier. Lighten up for a minute and enjoy your early morning writing sessions. Recovering from even minor surgery is a real bitch, it hurts so bad; no one can engage and feel brilliant after going through that. It will get better, your wife will get better, your writing has already got better. Keep it up, keep thinking of those guardian muses, especially sexy Monique, standing by with a private pool party of writing where you venture into the unknown. I need to do so many chores around my home, but have spent my Saturday morning birdwatching, gardening, planting, taking photos, watering plants, cooking a terrific cheese omelette and now writing to tell you…do what makes you happy. If happy equals morning writing, keep going with it. (A not so subtle hint: the amount of bloody words you write doesn’t matter.) I like your stuff, don’t give up.
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Thank you, Therese. This was a few months ago – she has gotten better, but it had nothing to do with her. And you’re right – the number of words doesn’t matter, it’s a means to an end for me. I’m not giving up, but I know I’ll have days like that – we all do!