Diving In

 

This is an excerpt from a blog I wrote in the last days of an exceptionally horrible year—2009:

 

     What’s amusing is the idea of the New Year being when to kick into gear all the changes you want to make for yourself. Really, the calendar is just something man devised to keep track of time on paper. It’s been changed throughout the ages and really, whether you follow a lunar year, a solar year, or a combo of both, it’s all just time. Who’s to say that resolutions can’t be made in the middle of the year? We’re heading into the most depressing time of the year come January. I forget where I read it, but it’s supposedly the peak month for suicides. The holidays are over and all you really have to look forward to is COLD (of course this is regional) and latent credit card bills. I can understand how the gloom can overtake someone. So, how is it a good idea to resolve to change your life when you’ll be lucky to want to leave your house during the dreariest part of the year? Maybe if New Year’s happened in the summer, more people would stick to their diet and exercise resolutions.

      Still, even I am guilty of making these promises to myself. I’ll put down the cake and do some sit ups and it’ll be summer before I know it. Right?

Well, I still like the idea of warm weather New Year’s but haven’t put down the cake…or done any sit ups. I’m struggling to not give up on resolutions—or myself

I’m creeping to the edge of the New Year’s diving board, not ready to jump head first. I know that I can’t turn around and go back down the ladder and the belligerent bully Time will call me names and eventually shove me off the end. Still, I’m not ready for a new year. I never am.

I’m not ready mostly because I feel like I’ll be facing more let downs and stress and frankly, I’ve had enough. I’m so tired. Literally and figuratively. The beginning of every new year prompts me to try to figure out what the hell it is that I’m doing with my life (even more than an average day). It doesn’t help that every year that zips by, leaving me to wonder if I slept through a season or two, makes me feel older than I know I have a right to. I’m not sure when the anxiety surrounding my inevitable aging started. I know I never thought about it when I was a teenager. Maybe it was in my late twenties? I have no idea. It sneaked up on me like a creep in a dark alley and I’ve been stuffed in its trunk ever since.

I worry that I’ve let too much time pass and I’ll never get to the place I feel like I belong: in the country on a few acres, 3-5 horses, in an old farmhouse that the husband and I refurbished, and writing books for a living.

I worry that this chronic depression has ruined me. I’m in a perpetual state of yawn. No matter how much I sleep, I’m always tired. I think I honestly felt LESS tired before I started medicating to rid myself of the depressive feelings and that’s depressing in itself.

I worry that I’ll spend my whole life saying “I need to…” or “I’m going to…”

I know that I’m the one who controls my future and only I can make things happen. When everything is an internal battle, is it any wonder that I am always exhausted and not really in the mood to move mountains? But maybe this is the year I power through the pervasive desire to nap and take steps toward my dreams. Tired or not, I will face the New Year and do my best impression of someone who knows what they’re doing. I’ll step to the end of the board, bounce, and jump, hoping that this will be the year that I come to the surface with some clue to where I go from here.

Back In The Car

I started my second novel last night. While I’m excited to see if I can do it again, the idea of writing another book as I near the end of my editing journey with my first one makes me tired just considering it. It’s like finishing a road trip across the country, getting out of the car, stretching and then getting back in and driving back the way you came. If I want to make this my life—and I do—I’ll have to get used to it.

I’m pretty far from a royalty check though. So, I’ve been looking for a job. I live in an area that has little to offer in the way of jobs, especially in my desired field. It’s a rural county that’s lost several businesses in the recession. It’s been endless frustration as I try out the local factories and fail. I’m just not fast enough. I over-think everything. Office jobs aren’t prevalent and when they do come open, you better know or be related to someone already working there if you want in. Either that or you have to be Super Administrative Assistant (with a cape and everything). One sure way to make yourself feel like crap, is to start looking for a job. I’m like the middle child of skill sets. I’m over-qualified for a lot and under-qualified for even more, being completely ignored while I scream, “I can learn! Give me a chance!”

The painful truth is that I know I’ll never be happy doing those types of jobs. What makes it so upsetting is that I feel broken. I feel like I’m not capable. It’s irrational. But the only thing I feel like I’m good at is writing. It’s great for one, because I work alone. That way, I can’t slow anyone down but myself. If I don’t get that novel written quickly, I’m not hurting anyone but myself. Two, it’s always been a way to open a valve and let out whatever’s brewing in my head.

So, I keep applying, hoping to find something, somewhere that I fit, and I keep writing in hopes of one day seeing my words in print. I keep going. I keep moving forward. I keep driving toward the horizon.

Expecting Different Results

Disappointments abound. Is my bar set too high or is it just time to move on from what’s disappointing me? I can self-deprecate until I believe I am the root of all that is failing or miserable in my life, or I can let blame fall on the shoulders of those I protect, some of whom I love, some that I don’t. It’s just not in my character to openly call out those that have let me down.

Maybe it’s the depression, but more likely, it’s that I’m seeing things as they are. You can only spend so many years of your life spinning your wheels, getting nowhere, before madness sets in. You know what they say about the definition of insanity. Well, I’ve been doing the same thing for years. Lying down, being the world’s doormat.

I’m probably the one most guilty of wiping my boots on my own back. I stomp myself into the dirt before others can do it and yet it still stings when they tromp over me. I’m the first to take responsibility when something goes wrong or is upsetting and I’ve been told repeatedly that I shouldn’t feel bad in most of these instances. I can’t help it. I feel like my life has been one long apology. Granted, I’m not perfect and I’m sure some of what I’ve apologized for was definitely my fault. But what about when my ex cheated on me and lied to me every day of our relationship and I still somehow found myself blubbering for forgiveness? Or how I do things others want me to do even when it’s not me, when it’s not what I had in mind. Then I feel like a terrible person when frustration and anger sets in. Like it all couldn’t have been avoided if someone had just listened to me.

That seems to be one of my biggest disappointments as of late. It’s always bothered me that I’ve spoken and mostly been unheard, but now, it feels like a slap in my already reddened face. I suppose it’s been coupled with the realization that dreams only come true if you work very hard for them and with virtually no support. Those that I assumed wanted to see me succeed the most were the first bow out. Maybe it’s because no one takes me seriously. I know I didn’t for many years. So why should anyone else? Maybe because I’ve asked them to.

For the first time in my life, I want to leave. I want to go somewhere else. There’s more to be had, more to be said, and those that just might listen.expect

Biting is Easy

If anyone tries to tell you that writing is easy, it’s probably because you misunderstood them and they actually said “biting is easy” or “fighting.” Maybe they actually think “lighting” is easy. Maybe they work in the lighting department at Lowe’s? All I know is there’s no way they said writing’s easy. I guess I always knew that was true but what I’ve found since finishing my novel in October of 2013 is that the real work hadn’t even started. What I probably should say is that writing as a job is hard. It’s not always the getting the ideas on paper that’s the super difficult part, it’s staying focused enough to revise—and revise again. And again. It’s knowing how to pitch your story like a guy selling ice cubes to polar bears. It’s trying to figure out just how you want this work to be birthed, all scrunch-faced and screaming. Traditional publishing? Self-publishing? Leaving copies of your manuscript on doorsteps?

It’s all over-whelming. Exciting. Exhausting. Miraculous. It’s made me start to question if I’m cut out for this. But it’s also reminded me that sometimes you just have to plug your nose, close your eyes and leap. It’s also made me wonder if Lowe’s is hiring.