“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
— Ira Glass’ (from This American Life)
This morning I woke up and I was sad.
Sad about him.
Sad about the guy who totally should mean nothing to me anymore.
Today I woke up early, convinced myself that I was getting off to a good start, cleaned a bit, stretched in bed (thank God for being able to stretch right?), threw on some jazz, and hopped in the shower. I was fine. Really, I was. And then WHAM. It’s like a switch suddenly flipped. My happiness was interrupted by an elephant that decided to come and sit on my chest. So I asked him kindly,
“Mr. Elephant could you kindly remove your butt off my chest? I can’t breathe…and there’s a lot of other space to sit, if you must sit in my room.”
Mr. Elephant just looks at me for a moment, then continues to watch a movie on his iPhone (he’s holding it with his trunk, can you visualize it?).
That’s what sadness feels like. A huge elephant crowding your space. You feel overwhelmed at times, confused, and unable to breathe. Offended that he’s present, that he’s following you around. Why can’t he watch a movie somewhere else? Is my room that inviting?
I tell my friends that I’m over it.
That I’ve stopped replaying the good memories over and over in my head at night. That it doesn’t hurt anymore. That I’m alright.
But it still hurts, I still replay the good memories over in my head at night, and I’m not alright.
The difference between today and yesterday though is that I’m finally giving myself permission to heal, no matter how long it takes. If I need to sing All By Myself at the top of my lungs into a mic (*coughs, I mean hairbrush) at 4am then so be it. If I want to spend my Friday nights curled up with a bottle of red and Netflix instead of going out then yes, I give myself permission.
I give myself permission to be okay, no matter how long that takes.
I don’t know about y’all, but this year ripped me apart. This is the year that said (if years could talk) “Patience Erin, you look like you’re having a pretty nice life. I mean you’ve got some hiccups here and there but you look like you got a handle on them. Maybe I should throw you a curveball covered in rusty nails and fire breathing dragons just to see if you can catch it. Just for entertainment. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do.” Insert evil smirk here.
Life threw me a nasty curveball and nearly obliterated my entire existence. Seriously, my life exploded into a million little pieces with no instructions on how to put it back together again (humpty dumpty anyone?).
It’s June now and we’re almost half way through the year. Yes, things have gotten better, yes I can almost sleep through the night now, but I’m still trying to find some of the pieces that were lost when my life imploded. Wanna know the most challenging part of all of this? Pretending to be happy. Pretending to be ok when my heart is bleeding out. Pretending to pay attention when someone is talking to me. Pretending to care. It’s like I’m trying to focus and there are millions of little people talking all at once, all needing something from me and all I want to do it is turn them off. All I want is silence.
No I’m not insane, just human, and so are you.
I talk to my mom when I feel like this, and so do you, come on, admit it. When I’m pretending to have it all together my mom is the only one who can see right through all the bull. No really, she has these superpowers, prepped with the ability to instantly know when I’m bluffing. She calls me out on it… makes me explain what’s really going on. She nods occasionally, looks over her reading glasses that are supposed to be just for reading but she wears them a little more than just for reading. And after listening to me for a bit, she looks at me and says, almost in a whisper,
Sometimes we only have enough strength for today, and that’s okay.
What she said was magic, immediately equipping me with a magnifying glass to make all of my little lost pieces a little easier to see and therefore easier to find. All I needed was for someone to tell me that it’s okay to feel this way. That I’m not crazy, that the fog in front of me will eventually become nonexistent and that I will be okay. I needed to know that even If I can’t think past today that it’s okay, and that maybe it’s even a good thing, because how often do we only focus on tomorrow, the next vacation, the next romance, the next Friday night? How little do we dwell on today, and what we can do right now?
So thanks mom, for giving me enough strength for today, and maybe a little extra for tomorrow.
A Woody Harrelson look alike, flocks of older business men who look like they just walked off the set of Mad Men, and tons of women with their boobs spilling out of their tops hoping to catch the attention of one of the Mad Men extras.
This is the airport,
this is a bar at the airport.
This is a bar at the airport when all of the flights are delayed because of crazy thunderstorms.
I think it’s funny how we can use our fingerprints to unlock our iPhones but still can’t fly through the air during a thunderstorm. I’m not complaining though, I’d rather be safe.
What I really mean by that is that I saw Denzel Washington try to land a plane half wasted in Flight and it didn’t work out too well.
Dinah Washington’s buttery voice is crooning Stormy Weather in my ear right now. Ironic eh? I’m trying to drown out the people who are having way too much fun at the bar in the airport with the Woody Harrelson lookalike and flock of Mad Men extras. It’s funny watching girls flirt. How they twirl their hair and make eyes. Do I do that?
Don’t answer that.
I keep refreshing my flight status. Hoping by some miracle that it’ll tell me that my flight is leaving now so that I can escape this loud chaos and go home. Until then, I’ll continue to watch Woody Harrelson try to get this gal’s number…