Yesterday I said that I would have a big thing to post today. I lied.
Well, not entirely. I wanted to post the big thing, and I was working very hard on the big thing, but now I don’t feel like finishing the big thing. Or, I want to finish it, but I don’t think it’s as important as I did yesterday. I think it will bore the pants off anyone who is not me. Because I understand that I’m a nerd and enjoy things like critical thinking exercises, but you might not be a nerd and therefore might not appreciate things like critical thinking. Or, horror of horrors, you might consider yourself a nerd but not enjoy thinking critically, which is just weird as I think those things are pretty inclusive.
Long run-on sentence is long.
Here’s the deal, guys. I’m having a bit of an existential crisis. Actually, I’ve been having an existential crisis for several months now. I suppose that is why I have changed directions so many times with this blog and my training and my career. Outwardly it looks like I have nothing going on when I have a million things going through my mind. I’m questioning everything, and all my questions end with me being a massive failure.
No, lady at the book store and guy at the eyeglasses store, I don’t have anything published. I did, but in what is probably the smartest move I’ve made in years, I pulled it from the market to save myself further embarrassment. And to add insult to injury, I lied about that fact. Why? Because I would rather deal with the shame of the lie than the shame of failure.
This feeling is exacerbated by my job situation. At least if I was going into work I could potentially feel productive. I haven’t been to work in a week, and I don’t know when I will go back. I’m hired, but in limbo. And because of how my mind works, the longer I go without the call to come in the more I think I no longer have the job. A few days ago I was able to assure myself that I still have the job, that it’s just taking time to fix the HR problem, that I’m not the only issue my store manager is dealing with this week. Now I’m doubting all those things.
Then there is the issue of my career, which at this moment is pretty non-existent. I get an idea for a story, start to just get it down in paper knowing that I’ll fix it later, then stop because I decide I need to start in a different place or with a different character or go in a different direction. My momentum goes out the window because I stop and make those changes, then I get frustrated because I don’t like the new way either, so I stop completely.
I got very excited yesterday when I heard about a short story contest. The winner will get published in an anthology published by one of my favorite publishing houses. The contest isn’t even open yet but I had to start my story. I worked for four hours on two versions of the same story before deciding to “take a break” and work on the big thing I’m not posting. Wasted time, wasted energy. There is no guarantee that I will ever go back and finish that story, or that I will come up with something to enter into the contest. What’s really disturbing is that I have my excuse already prepared:
“I won’t win anyway so why go to all the trouble of writing and editing and submitting. The people who enter are better writers than I am. It’s just a waste of the judges’s time to make them read my stuff.”
How remarkably sad is the person who utters those words. If any other person said that, I would pity them, empathize with them, encourage them to write the story anyway, to enter the contest if for no other reason than to prove they could do it. Who knows if it’s terrible or not until it’s finished? Yet I can’t follow my own advice. I can’t keep the negativity from my thoughts.
Usually I would take these thoughts as a challenge – an ‘I’ll show you’ situation. But I just can’t find the energy, the wherewithal, to see it that way right now.
Yesterday I was so excited, ready to tackle all my problems head on. Today it’s all hopeless and I might as well give up while I still have the choice. I’ll let you know who wins.