I wonder if anyone else notices just how loud the forest is? A living organic city. One where God is still mayor.
Want To Write? Get Use To Friction
I am a writer. And I think a good one. In truth, I work hard on my craft. But there is a monolithic obstacle in the way. My obsessive self deprecating tendency to care what other’s think. And by others, I mean family. Both sides perceive a life dedicated to the arts, impractical. Their wisdom is one should make money first; follow dreams second. Over the years, how I responded to their apprehensions has influenced my craft. Mostly injuring my creativity. At thirty-one years old, time appears to be running out.
My record of trying to please everyone is no secret. I have never taken a job I wanted. But I have been successful. Whether I worked in finance, management, or retail, I did well. My biggest and therefore most hurtful failure is sales. In my early twenty’s, I was a dominant salesman. Everywhere I turned, money followed. Overtime I developed a disillusionment toward the industry. Sure, I struggled at times, sometimes teetering on poverty. But usually I outperformed everyone I knew financially. And to everyone’s surprise, I hated myself. Soon it proved impossible to be successful at selling anything.
“There can be no happiness in achieving someone else’s dream”
— W. Alexander
Ever since I was a child, I had a mind for the arts. In high school and college, I recall fond memories of performances in theatre. Not as some might expect, my successful boxing career; something I did to please my father and other toxic masculine traits. I always felt who I truly was must be second in order to be accepted. Therefore, I spent my entire twenty’s pursuing the life everyone else wanted. If I got the big house, nice car, hot wife, etcetera, I’ll be loved then, right? Turns out, the philosophers were right all along. There can be no happiness in achieving someone else’s dream.
Despite this revelation, being your true self is to be condemned a black sheep. A frustrating character in your greater family’s drama. They don’t get it and despite their honest efforts to understand, I realize they never will. How can they? They are predisposed to think a certain way, according to their own triumphs and failures throughout life. A person who sees life as black and white, will struggle to see life through more flexible patterns. For me, life is a twisted construct of contradictions, exceptions, and explanations. Think Van Gogh’s, Starry Night. My family is realism. Even this metaphor, which to the creative is like two+two=four would confuse them. For to them life is a linear set of actions and achievements. To me life is fleeting moments of arbitrary events. Focus on things that matter. Of course I want to make them happy, but I cannot on their terms and I need to be okay with that.
Often when I write prose or poetry, I write to them. As if my work is in constant need to defend itself. My characters are always in conflict with their influencers. They are always misunderstood and feeling rejected. Not because their influencers (often family) is openly hostile, but because of a myriad of micro-aggressions. I grew up in an abusive home, underneath an alcoholic patriarch. From grade school to college I was bullied at school and beaten at home. So I struggle with feelings of unworthiness and other’s disapproval has real consequences for me. When I was in school, if someone didn’t like me, they beat me up and often. This developed into a tendency to pacify and seek approval for my own survival. In adulthood this manifests itself in seeking approval through accomplishment and assimilation. But I have to find a way through life that puts me first for once. I am worthy of what I want. These pulling forces plunged me into a deep depression nearly a year ago. But not all is lost. I have begun to do me as I please. Displeasing my family still bothers, hurts, and stifles me. Yet, I manage to keep moving forward.
“I am worthy of what I want”
— W. Alexander
Only a creative can understand being born into a world that doesn’t appreciate their gifts. For ten years I submitted to everyone else’s expectations. I worked my ass off. But with every new trophy came a deeper emptiness. It wasn’t the goal I wanted. I envied those walking around with pink hair, paint under their fingernails, and gages in their ears. They are themselves and fuck everyone else. In secret, I thought they were the bravest of us all. I still do! Naturally, when I hit my depression, a true rock bottom, I coped and decided to say yes to myself. I wanted to be brave too. At thirty years old, the night before thanksgiving, I got my ears pierced. Over the next couple months I got several tattoos. My writing flourished and I am again a student, majoring in, you got it, creative writing.
Is everything better now? No, but life is on my terms and that is something. I have little desire to play life safe. Arriving into my old age, rich and comfortable scares the hell out of me. I would much rather die contributing to this world, than carving a quiet place in it. But that is the mark of an artist.
P.S. I don’t know if writing this blurb was for me or you reading it. But I hope it helps anyone who shares these frustrations to know they aren’t alone. It is never too late to shake off this world’s materialism and create. Friction makes perfection.
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