Courage

September 25, 2012

Writing is an act of courage. I f you don’t put down your own thoughts, feelings, opinions to paper, you can be anonymous, harmless, think whatever you want. The second you write any of it down—either as fiction or nonfiction—you open yourself up to criticism from anyone and everyone. If you’re unsure of what you write, maybe not feeling right about the wording or structure or simply not confident, the criticism aimed at your work feels like it’s aimed at you and feels 100 times worse. This is not a job for the constitutionally challenged.

For the past two years I have been beaten down by life and the times so much that I question my own sanity constantly. While many a great tome has come from the throes of depression and mental breakdown, I can’t do that so well. It’s hard enough for me to fight the inner voices telling me I’m worthless because I can’t get a good paying full time job in a jobless recovery; to deal with those voices on top of the inner critics that come out as I write is overwhelming at the very least. The long spaces between writing are not from lack of things to say. They come from a schedule that leaves little room for error, the desperation that comes from being in survival mode for so long, and the fear of having one more negative voice in my head pushing me over the edge. I’m not the same person I used to be. It happens to everyone but it feels worse to me. I’m much more sullen, angrier, morose and losing hope each day. I’m trying to hang in there for my friends, my family, my daughter’s sake, but there’s very little of me left to hang on for my own sake. As much as I don’t want to wallow in all the crap, I’m drowning in it.

So why bother putting this down on the page? Not sure. Maybe there’s a bit of a spark left that wants to hold on. Maybe I know that within the jumble of noises in my head, there are a couple of ideas that are speaking loud enough to want to be written. Maybe two different conversations with old friends—one who said that my life these days is a saga; another said to reach out more—are bugging me enough to try and get well. Or maybe I just need to write even after a long absence of person and sanity like whales need to come up and breathe after being submerged for great lengths of time. It’s what I do and no matter how hard things are, it’s something I still need to do. Even if briefly.