It would seem unwise to tell you all of my secrets, but at this point, I really don't think they're secrets anymore. I'm going through this weird phase where the future is unclear but I'm not scared. In fact, I am deeply content, at this moment, in this life. And I don't think that comes from jobs or awards or recognition or praise, nor do I think it ever will. I don't think it comes from the stars aligning and the world becoming a better place, because there is so much work to do, every day, to keep making things better, for all of us. Hard, dirty, sticky work. I think the reason I am content, even though I'm broke, clueless, and pretty scared for what happens next, is because I know I will be okay.
How can you know its going to be okay? You really can't know that something awful or disastrous won't happen every day when you wake up, because one day, eventually, a bad thing will happen to you. Not that many bad things have happened to me, relatively speaking. That isn't to say that I haven't deemed many days that absolute worst of my life because I was tired, sad, grumpy, or hungry. But all in all, on this side of things, I look at my life so far and I know it has been incredibly lucky and easy. I have parents that bent over backwards in every way possible, to make my life comfortable, and still do. I have friends that love me unconditionally, despite how much of an asshole I can be. And I have a boyfriend whose love I can't put into words. So I think...what do I have to give to the world that no one else does? Because, after all, that is the thing I'm searching for, the answer to my myriad of questions. My answer, though it has always come in different forms, has always been to write things. That isn't to say, I write in some special way that no one else can write. I can't and I don't. But writing has always felt like the way out of the tunnel and into the light for me, and sometimes the best way to find your way out of that tunnel is to listen to how someone else did it. But sometimes not, sometimes finding your way out of the tunnel means hanging up a strand of lights, building a nice bed on the floor, and making a home out of the dark. The tunnel is not so bad. It means you're growing in your uncertainty and you're learning how to struggle with grace.
I have always considered myself a decent writer and people have told me from time to time that I am more than decent. Over the years, I think I let my ego get the best of me, and I started to believe that my writing deserved to be heard. Writing deserves nothing. It simply exists. I'm not saying it is a bad thing to be confident and secure in your talents, IT IS A WONDERFUL THING. But...over the past year, I failed to win any of the writing contests I entered, or get published at all. And it knocked me down a few notches and it sucked. It felt like a year with no progress, a year with no accolades. I stopped writing poems for a while because they felt hard to write. I haven't written short stories because...well for no good reason. And as you may have noticed, I've written minimal blogs. And I need to stop. I need to write and get over it and be strong and be accountable and keep going. Writing revolves around rejection. Writing is steeped in rejection. Its how you learn to deal, to cope, to survive. And it hurts cus it's raw, but damnit, that's cus it's real.
I often use the same John Steinbeck quote when coping with my sometimes unbearable/ sometimes nonexistent perfectionism, “And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good.” In a way, I feel that some of the pressure I've always put on myself has been lifted. Over the past year of writing rejections, I've realized that writing isn't the only thing I can do well. And through that realization, the pressure I put on my writing has alleviated itself. I can be other things and a writer simultaneously. In fact, I could have a job that doesn't revolve around writing and still write. Or I could have a job that revolves around writing and only write at work. There is a lifetime of possibilities. I think practicing goodness and mindfulness, remembering how my actions affect the people who love me, and taking care of my mind, body, and spirit are the important pillars of my life right now. I don't want to rush into a career path that I'm not sure is right for me just to feel like I'm checking off the right boxes. I don't want to spend money on things I don't need just to feel like I'm keeping up appearances. I want to stay hydrated and to stay dreaming. I want to immerse myself in each moment, in the here and now, because I might not ever have this kind of time for breathing again.
So my secret is, even though I should've decided this a long time ago, I don't want to be perfect anymore. I want to make other people happy but I also want to be happy. And to me, those two things, in their purest form, come together. And I think that's enough of a path for now.