Wednesday, April 12, 2017

What Is It All For?

This is a somber essay as opposed to fun sarcastic one. If I was a comedian this essay would be me showing off my acting chops. But I'm not, so I hope it just feels real.

This is also your chance to abandon ship if you aren't in a somber mood. There are plenty of happier blog post to the left of the screen.

<--------------- Right there.

The last thing anyone wants to feel is irrelevant and boring. You know what's worse than feeling that way? Telling anyone. It's the last thing people want to hear. People don't like to be sad. They don't like to feel as though people aren't trying or that trying your hardest doesn't matter. People want to hear the Cinderella story and to root for the underdog. They want to believe there is good in the world and that when you work hard, you will be rewarded. Religion employs the same concept, if you do good in this life, you will reap rewards in heaven.

So what? Do we shut up when things aren't right? Are we doomed to close in on ourselves and clam up because the slightest hint of sadness makes people run away screaming? Socializing helps, friends help, family helps, a supportive community helps. But these things don't fix the problem. The fix has to come from within. You can't rely on other people to make you happy, just as you can't rely on someone else to pay your bills or feed your cat. (Okay, maybe you can rely on someone to feed your cat, no one is that heartless.)

Relying on yourself becomes more and more lonesome, as you seek any way of brightening your days on your own. Writing is one of the loneliest jobs of all, and when you look down at what you've written, your progress and your effort, but see nothing but a steaming pile of garbage, it's disheartening.

You look over the burning pile of ash and wonder, what exactly am I putting in all this effort for?

One can mull that question over for years and never find the answer.

But I actually have it. For writing at least. I know the answer because of years and years I wasted in college, when I was so busy writing essays, I never wrote anything for myself and I never read a book I wasn't forced to. Not out of spite, but I couldn't bring myself to read any more -- period. Writing twelve page papers on topics you don't care about really murders any enthusiasm one might have for the craft. It was like I was in a dream, watching myself from afar. I was social, I was going to college, I had friends, and I hated every minute of it. I had stifled my passion to work towards a degree I didn't care about, in a college I didn't care about, toward an uncertain future, and I was wildly unhappy. The only thing that made me feel any better about my life direction was a supportive boyfriend who later became my husband. He was the only thing that made me feel like I was heading in the direction I was supposed to. The world around me was a right mess, but I had a life vest. One person telling me that the choices I'd made weren't wrong. That even though I felt like I was drowning, it was because I hadn't taken the easy way out and was swimming upstream against the current.

Then one day, I sat down in an interview and the manager asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was silent for maybe a half second before I answered as honestly as I could, something I had never done before, "An author."

It wasn't an apple falling on my head, or lightning hitting a kite, it was a simple answer to a question. I hadn't given myself time to think of what the interviewer might want to hear, my heart spoke before my brain had a chance to consider what I was doing.

The first day on that job, I started writing a book on my breaks, and my entire view of the world changed.

So the question, what exactly am I putting in all this effort for? The answer is, for me. I do it all for me. Because I mentally breakdown if I'm not creating something. I am not a linear person and I must always be creating. I wasn't given the gift of music, or a passion for illustration. I wasn't a sculptor or a painter, I'm not a mathematician, and I can't read tax forms without daydreaming.

I am a writer, and I do it because I can't not do it.

So, go forth, dear readers, and claim your passion. Do it because it's something that fulfills you and gives you purpose. Because it's all for you and it always was.

All my love,
L.B.