I’m about three weeks out from doing a writing and yoga retreat with a woman who I’ve admired for the last year or so. Her writing is open, raw and brave. I read it and am constantly amazed by both her and the writers she choses to publish on her site. They are always at a high caliber of writing, and the capacity they all have to bare their soul is a thing I am in awe of.
(Jennifer Pastiloff at the Manifest-Station. Go check it out!)
So here’s the thing, I’ve been published on it. I’m on her site with those writers, and am in awe of that. But for a completely different reason, I feel like I’m a little kid who got invited to sit at the grown ups table because there was an empty chair. I can look at my photo on her site and still feel like it was some kind of a fluke that she read what I had wrote and was actually impressed enough to put it up.
Why do I never think it’s good enough?
I could get into a whole long rant about my childhood, and how X and Y happened so now I have it in my head that I’m not good enough. I could reference the things I’ve spend half my life talking about in therapy. I can rave about those stupid thought that have kept me both alive and half insane for most of my existence. Does it matter to why I am the way I am? YES! Does it require being brought up every time I talk about it? Not really. Sometimes it is a necessary thing, but sometimes it just feels like opening up old wounds to pour salt in it. That’s what it feels like today. I can’t live in that place all the time. I can’t live in the past and those nights. The ones where I can sit in the dark, and feel so utterly alone, that I wonder if I made a noise if the Universe would even hear it. The ones where I feel so small and insignificant that what I write will have no bearing on anything, will carry no weight.
That’s where I screw myself over. I am so focused on the outcome of the writing. On the weight it could possibly carry with someone else. On the ability to have people connect with it. Mainly, I want people to read what I write and have them think I am good. I want people to say I am good. I want the reassurance of it. Which feedback is always important, but you need to look at the reasons behind why you want it. To you want it to help you become better at your craft? Or do you want it because you want someone to acknowledge that you exist and that you matter? I always end up with the second one. I would rather take a “It’s good!” over a proper critique. Because I know that I’m still so open to rejection and know how deep that cuts me, and I can’t handle it the way I maybe should. (Should is a tricky word) I always told myself it was because I was worried about content more than craftsmanship. Which isn’t entirely a falsehood. I do prefer to read something that’s at least well written, but has honest and heartfelt content. I want stuff I can connect with. That I have a strong drive to do. To connect.
I think that’s what most humans genuinely want. We want some kind of connection. Some of us don’t care what shape it comes in, a spouse, a friend, a child. We want to feel genuinely connected to another human being. Some connect to art, and some connect to words. Some connect with nature and some connect with science. We want something to help validate why we are here. Why we are here on Earth, breathing the air and sharing the land. We crave connection. It’s part of the human existence.
I know I have connections. I can feel some of them starting to slip though. I don’t think anything happened, it’s just the natural progression of life. People change and so do you. Sometimes you dance around each other for years before you realize that maybe your connection isn’t as strong as it once was. You go that way, and I go this way. It doesn’t mean that you still don’t care about each other, but you’re locked out of that connection for whatever reason. I have a lot of friends settling down and beginning to carve out lives for themselves. They have connections or are creating them to the lives they want. I will never stand in the way of that. But I can’t help but feel a little (okay a lot) jealous that they are capable of it. I feel like I’m not most of the time. I feel like I’m capable of dreaming about it, but making it happen? PFFT! I don’t have that talent. But that’s the problem of living in your head more so that living in the flesh and blood world. You drive yourself up the wall over things that maybe aren’t that big of a deal anywhere but in your head. Or you spend your life looking for a specific connection that might never come, so you ignore those that could be amazing if you tried.
I like to pretend that I run off my instinct and go with my gut feeling, and most of the time I do. I will go on an impulse and buy a book or go out with friends. Sometimes it pays off, but sometimes not. Some times the night out is good, other times not so much. Sometimes that book changes my life, sometimes not. I think what drives that is the urge to connect. That I think maybe this time it will what I’m looking for. The problem is probably that I’m actively looking for it. You know how when you want to wear a pair of pants or a sweater and it magically disappears? Then when you stop looking for it, then you find it? That’s what it’s like. You look for it, and it hides from you. Because it’s not time yet.
That does little more that make me frustrated. Patience is not something I have in spades. I can exercise it when I absolutely have to, but I can’t really sit still and wait for something. It just drives me up the wall. So I’m sitting and waiting for a connection? Typing that makes it sound …. I don’t know .. silly? I certainly do feel silly saying that. I feel like sometimes that I have two brains in my skull.
The Rational One – that’s calm and collected and completely understanding. The one that seems so Zen.
The Irrational One – The one that’s akin to a toddler having a temper tantrum and sugar rush. The one that’s screaming things that aren’t true and is on the verge of having a breakdown.
I think I live in the ether between the two at the moment. I’m somewhere between the two at any given moment, but then something will be said or read and I will launch into the Irrational. “Why can’t I be good like them? Why can’t I WRITE LIKE THAT?! Why can’t I be loved like that? Why am I alone?” All of this is only exacerbated by the years of trickery and deception at the hands of depression. Made worse by fanning the flames of self hatred and feeling ‘unworthy.’
That shit is getting reaaaaaaaal old.
How do I find a comfortable spot between the two? How am I able to morph them into one brain again, and make the irrational more balanced out by the rational? At this moment, hell if I know. This is how I know I need to start getting out of my self and have a good look around. I need to start actively seeking out good connections.