I’ve enrolled in a creative writing short course. For years I have effusively written and shared experiences and my struggle with mental health and just generally juggling the nuances of life, Love, family, friends and career. After promising my closest friends (most notably my former and future husbands Steve and Damon) I decided to take some affirmative action, and try to polish this shiny little creative diamond that’s been forged under the pressure of years of being an over-sharing hot mess hurricane.
I like to write.
That isn’t to say I think I am particularly good at it, and my raging ADHD means I rarely finish or effectively form or edit pieces or projects. Really, I’d rather just spew words and then press the share button on my WordPress page. It’s clearly very self-indulgent and inarguably therapeutic. Not necessarily inspiring or impressive, but it’s something meaningful to me and the handful of readers who take the time to read my clumsy, roaming ramblings.
Strangely, over the years, the word that seems to come up most often when someone reads my meanderings is “brave” and I find that lovely but strange. The core interesting theme worth mentioning about this class, is that we are focused on writing “the hero’s journey”. That’s rather lovely isn’t it. I’ve said countless times that we all have to be our own fucking hero. We are so inescapably the hero (or villain) in our own story, and now I am charged with the privilege of creating a fictional journey that I may or may not share with the world.
Sharing as I’ve done to date doesn’t feel brave. Living is brave. Being alive and not becoming bitter feels brave. I know so many who succeed at this harrowing expedition of existence, and I have met so many cowardly, mean-spirited, villains who do not contribute to the rich tapestry of existence, but rather take advantage and feel entitled and always have excuses and rarely do anything meaningful or bold. So, the gift of being let down, thrown under busses, lied to, lied about, and brutally betrayed by people I thought I could trust has given me what other’s call courage.
I don’t think it is courage, think at this stage it’s just numbness and nobody can kick me while I am down, because, quite frankly, I just no longer give a fuck. Maybe marrying a man who was once an ordained monk has giving me a sense of cheerful nihilism. I am aware, sharing my vulnerability and experiences may be ammunition for evil or insecure dipshits who have an axe to grind concerning me specifically, or perhaps just generally. That’s about them, and their decision to be tragic and contemptable characters in my story or their own doesn’t actually have much to do with me. More the pity for them as my character arc has landed me these past couple of years in a kind of happily-ever-after cocoon. The safety of where I dwell daily was built in response to my many failed attempts to help or be a lightning rod of hope or change, or to behave in ways that I thought were kind or heroic.
Now in midlife, my journey to this point ended in exhaustion, but I’ve been blessed and feel so honoured to have completed countless doomed quests and misadventures. I’ve ditched my messiah complex and feel just fucking fine most of the time. And when things get scary or my trauma/PTSD sneaks up and bites me I can hunker down in my burrito/cocoon safe in the knowledge the feeling will pass and I’ll be able to get back on track. There’s nothing epic or superhuman about my character arc these days. It’s been an honour to share it with people though.
I don’t have so much to say or write about since my nervouse breakdown and the reboot that occurred as a result. Truth is, not much happens because I actively live a life of calm reflection and I vigilantly avoid chaos and drama. Some people might disagree, but it’s all relative.
I’ve chosen this existence after a long and agonizing journey on a path of naivete, ridiculous generosity, and a tedious tendency toward self-destruction. Living a life that was at times exciting and enlightening, but I wouldn’t say brave, has been a privilege and I don’t want to go back to being cringe-inducing OTT and over-doing everything and ever-egging every batter. Sharing with people what a dipshit I can be is part of my attempt at always trying to be a bit better, while clearly knowing I’ll never actually have my shit together. Just doing my best with the limited time I have on this earth. This simplicity is just one of countless examples of what is called the hero’s journey. We all get to (and actually have to) be the hero or the tragedy in our own story. If we overcome and grow, it is a triumph and a story worth sharing. If we learn nothing and play the victim and do not embrace opportunities to change or evolve, we are living a tragedy. Both outcomes are useful. One is inspiring and the other serves as a warning.
You still with me?
So. Second week and the very first exercise has very nearly broken me. Loving it. It’s dangerous and terrifying and I don’t even have to get out of my pyjammas to feel confronted and conflicted and alive. I am comfortable feeling uncomfortable and this certainly delivers that sensation.
I’ve had no problem putting myself in the line of fire on stages, social or traditional media, or just living my life out loud and in people’s face. I flew and fell and failed and thrived so many times and in so many ways and it landed me in a serene state of regeneration and recovery. I was missing something though, and I’m fucking terrified of the task at hand.
All I have to do is write and re-write an opening scene to a story I never thought I would write. Following instructions from our tutor (who I sincerely suspect finds me insufferable and obnoxious… which is not only fair but accurate) as authentically as I can. Rather than doing that, I decided to crawl over here to my blog and bitch and moan and procrastinate a little rather than just doing the work. Doing stuff is scary. Avoiding stuff is scarier. I’m drifting between both and adequately mastering neither.
The hero’s journey begins with a single step, and for some reason that first fucking step feels like it’s going to fling me into an abyss and I may never land anywhere meaningful.
Sharing my actual life was easy. and empowering and owning my dipshittery was freeing. Writing a story is going to require a bunch of courage, creativity and conviction that I’m not yet certain I possess.
Guess I’ll post this and go work on my assignment and time will tell eh.
Thanks for reading.