Slowly but surely, I am putting myself back together. I’m learning how to be creative again without being afraid of creativity. You see, creativity is what got me into that whole mess to start with.
Ok, ok, I know that’s not true. But that’s what my internal hecklers are screaming. “If only” I hadn’t been so wildly imaginative as to think that something so preposterous would actually work out, none of that would have happened. I wouldn’t have been so totally humiliated and crushed. I would be somehow, some way, better off.
Honestly, that’s neither here nor there. What happened, happened, and now I get to deal with now. With me. With who I am and how I am. I am a creative; I can no more stop being that than I can stop breathing and expect to live. The relevant issue is: how am I going to be creative now?
Yes, I still hurt from the utter collapse of my world. I still have pieces to pick up and decide if I want to keep. I still have longings that are unfulfilled and dreams that seem impossible. So what am I going to do about it?
First, the practical. I give myself permission to be a failure. A spectacular failure, even. Every great person ever to live failed wretchedly at least once, even if history somehow neglected to record it. We’re all human, which means we all fail. None of us is perfect, and it’s high time I stop expecting myself to be what I cannot be.
Failure often leads to the desired results. Not the expected results, of course, but what we really wanted all along. Happy accidents are how we come up with some of our most brilliant insights, our most amazing advances, our most penetrating insights.
I sat on a bench, weeping rivers of shattered dreams into bitter winter air, and saw myself so clearly. I saw who I could be. I saw who I would not let myself be. I saw the agonizing struggle I would need to make in order to get where I needed to be. Because of that insight, I did not die that day, not in any sense of the term. Oh, I hurt. I was numb for months. I still need “rehab therapy” to deal with myself. But I did not give up. I did not give in.
More than six months later, I can stand upright and look around. I can forgive myself for whatever I did or didn’t do. I can allow myself to fail, to have failed. I can permit myself to move on and try again.
Second, more practicalities. I’m not yet able to live on income from my creativity, so I’ve secured a Day Job that pays something and am angling for a promotion to something more. It’s not what I want to do. I sort of like doing it, but it’s un-creative work. The salient points are that it pays and it keeps me active. Much needed at this juncture.
Third, internal work. The first two actions I did basically on auto-pilot, without much consideration on the conscious level. After the facts, yes, I did put thought into them, and that’s where this step comes into play. Facing pain is perhaps the bravest thing any of us can do. When Christ faced the cross, He didn’t just endure torture so cruel it required a new word to describe it: excruciating. He faced the pain of being punished for something He didn’t do. He faced abandonment by the One who had never before been apart from Him. It was the cruelest betrayal, and Christ did it to Himself.
Granted, His self-inflicted damage was far more noble than anything I’ve managed to do, but work with me here. He knew how much hurt He was in for; I didn’t. However, during and after, we both had to decide how to handle the agony. Christ arose a victor. Because of Him, I can do the same. It’s going to take me a bit longer, though.
I’m facing my wounds and examining them. I’m letting go of many, many things. I’m easing back into the creative flow. I’m trying again.
Fortunately, the manuscript for “Fall Through Space: Space & Time volume 2” went to my publisher long before the fiasco, so it got published without extra input from me. That helped wake me up a little; I needed to schedule a book signing and start working on volume 3. I’m happy to report that I’ve completed the first editing pass-through of V3, and I’m actually excited about releasing this book. It’s gratifying to see how much I improved as a writer from V1 to V3.
Despite myself, I make progress.
I’ve been lurking online and found a few interesting short story opportunities. I’ve gotten a fair bit of work done on two super-hero shorts and started thinking about another that will feature a certain Yerbran Lady who likes to tinker.
I’m not yet ready to dive back into serial writing. I have to admit this and learn to be ok with it. Thus far, I’ve had a huge sense of obligation to keep writing even when I couldn’t. On the one hand, it’s a good discipline. Life won’t pander to us, and we need to put on big-kid undies and BIC-HOK. On the other hand, we need to recognize when we’re pushing ourselves too hard and back off.
I hate missing updates. Hate it. It’s a failure. I’m a failure if I miss an update. (Didn’t I recently say something about failing?) Note to Self: I’m not a machine. I’m not capable of churning out products without rest. Given all the internal cleaning I’ve been doing and still need to do, I can’t make myself push through certain points. I have to step back, admit that I’m not perfect, and let myself come at it from another angle.
Fourth, Doing Stuff. I’m still working on writing, I’m still learning how to act, I’m still pursuing job opportunities in performance. I’ve had almost no luck, but I’m still getting myself out there as much as I can. I don’t live anywhere close to a market for actors and models, but I’m keeping myself available. I’m not giving up on my dreams, however impossible they seem. I’ve no earthly idea how they will come to pass. I don’t know how I will be able to move to a place where I can get paying performance work. I don’t know how I will compete with the tens of thousands of others who want those same jobs.
I’m doing stuff. Small stuff, big stuff, any stuff. I’m coming at my goals and problems from different angles. I’m regrouping, relearning how to be me. My life doesn’t look anything like what I wanted it to. I’ve had disappointments, setbacks, and catastrophes. I’ve had victories and perks. Most importantly, I’ve had do-overs.
I’ll close this rambling with a recap of the beginning: I’m putting myself back together, and I’m letting myself do so slowly. Not everything that broke will fit back in. Pieces I didn’t know about have settled into place. I admit, I’m frustrated. I want what I want. Today, however, I’m being myself. Unique, creative, me.