Last time I made an unexpected connection between the failures of the two huge artistic ventures in my life, singing and writing. (And yes, I do consider myself a failed writer at this point, but I hope to change that.) This realization brought other, smaller connections to light--things I’d already identified independently, but when interconnected make a sizeable web of self-sabotage.
For instance, many, many projects go unfinished. I become bored with them sometimes, but lots of times I’m tenacious and just can’t seem to get to the finish line. Little things outside of my control might go wrong or I can freeze up with indecision, but for any number of reasons I end up spinning my wheels. And I’m not talking only about writing. It’s a widespread problem encompassing home projects, marital issues, financial goals, etc.
This is the mechanism that caused me to stop trying to get published. It is confusion, fatigue and the inability to see the path, just like when I decided to stop singing. But it’s a completely different feeling from what keeps me from sitting down to writing at all.
Another stumbling block is trying to please everyone. I’m skilled at going into other people’s worlds, and terrible at bringing others into mine. Personally, I think this is what makes me a writer—because I’m able to go deeply and intuitively into the worlds I create—but it’s not so great for decisive action, nor for knowing what I really want.
Part of that pleasing everyone thing means I don’t take care of myself, like going to the doctor when I’m sick, or exercising and eating right. If it’s just for me, it doesn’t matter. Writing pleases me, when I let it, but it doesn’t matter to anyone else.
It got to a point where my identity had absorbed so much of other people that I didn’t have any of myself left. I’ve spent a few years trying to unravel that thread, and maybe I’m almost ready to start rebuilding. But something stops me short. Something keeps me from crossing that finish line—not just with writing, but with pretty much everything that would define me as an independent, productive human being. Now, is that fear of success, or fear of happiness?
I’ll explore that next time.