Thursday, December 29, 2011

Got to believe, it's getting better.

As I was sitting down at the cliched Starbucks to blog today, I wasn't altogether sure what I was going to write about. I needed to get out of the house, that was for sure, cause I know I wasn't going to be able to blog at home, mainly because I have things to get done, and I really wanted to write something today, but again, not sure what I wanted to write about. I order a lemonade iced tea, I sit down, and finish a letter I wrote for my girl. As I was pulling out the laptop, I hear something annoying from the table behind me.

Let me set the scene for you. I'm a writer, it's what I do.

There are three people, two men and a woman. Seem to be about late twenties. One is dressed in a suit, the other semi-casual, I think, I didn't really look at them. The guy in the suit caught my eye, since both times he passed me by, he made eye contact with me. I assume he's thinking of a simpler time when he could wear a Superman t-shirt like mine. Or he's judging me. Regardless, I'm going to say that he's the one who said the line, cause fuck him for judging me, if that is indeed what he was doing. If not, I'm the one judging him for his suit. Mind you, I'm not judging him as a person, just the airs that wearing a suit seems to permeate. That they're in business and they are dressed for business and they're serious about what they have to do. Cause it's business.

I just turned to look, they're all wearing business wear. But I'm still gonna say the guy in who didn't take his suit jacket off is the one who said the line, cause the other two seem like a couple.

As I put the laptop on the table, I hear the "suit" say, "If you reach for the stars, you end up on the moon." My brain stopped to process this. It was said so nonchalantly, thrown out and dismissed as quickly as the calendar "quote of the day" page that he more-than-likely got the quote from and cleverly filed it away as something he could use. Normally this type of cliched "Facebook liking quote" wouldn't bug me. Hell, if I see, hear, or read something good, I'll file it away as awesome shit as well. What bugs me, is that he misquoted it. And it's not just the fact that he misquoted it, we all add our little spins or omit things from recollection. But it's the way he said it. As though somehow landing on the moon is mediocrity.

The quote I know, is as follows.
"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars." - Les Brown
Les is saying have a goal, reach as far as you can. Cause even if you don't achieve it, you're still trying, and that's something stellar.

BUT NEVER STOP! Never stop trying to do the thing you want in life. Life ain't worth living if it ain't lived with worth.

The last couple of months, I've been sick. I had an ear infection, that turned into a stomach bug, that turned back into an ear infection, that turned into a head cold. The thing is, I've never had an ear infection. So before I knew what it was, I was experiencing light-headedness for the first time in my life. And it freaked me the fuck out. I went to the doc's and it calmed me down to find out I wasn't dying and that it'll go away on its own. But what I wasn't aware of was that my brain connected "fear" with being light-headed. Something I didn't find out until a month later when the ear infection came back (turns out it can do that), and I struggled with my very first bout of anxiety. Another thing I never experienced before.

For the first time in my life, I was scared of absolutely nothing. On top of being physically sick, this was a recipe made to attack the shit out of my psyche. And man, did it do a number. It went straight for my Id, conspired with my ego, and laid waste to my super-ego. Needless to say, the man that the waves of bullshit have always crashed and seceded upon was finally taken by the tides.

For a couple of months, I worried when I was going to feel better, and the days that I felt better, I worried about what would happen if I got sick again. Then I started to worry about everything. I am an unpaid writer, the love of my life is half way around the world, and I didn't have the means to come see her this year. I couldn't concentrate on writing. I'd wake up worrying every day that I did nothing, and then fretted every night that I wasted the day. Even the video games I played I couldn't play anymore cause they made me feel anxious. I couldn't watch "Sons of Anarchy" because that was the show I was watching when I felt light-headed and my brain was freaked to feel that again.

Anxiety. The bitch of the brain.

I wanted to be better, I needed to be better. I fought with myself to be better. The brain conquers all, so I can conquer this. But what I didn't realize, what I've come to realize, is that you can't fight the fight, when your brain feels it has lost. Especially when it's your brain you're fighting with. I beat myself by beating myself thinking I was fighting something else.

How did I win? I must've, if I'm writing about it. Truth is, I didn't win. I forfeit the fight. I couldn't force myself to be better, my head had to accept that the anxiety wasn't something that was going to go away by fighting it, but by accepting it. Dealing with it. My brain needed to retrain, rethink, not against anxiety, but with it. The times I would feel it come on, I needed it to come over me and know that it would pass. For this wasn't something to be afraid of, this was a result of irrational fear.

CLARITY! It's only been a couple of weeks. But I have clarity. Peace of mind. There are times when I feel the anxiety creep on, but not to the extent it was, months prior. Nor as strong. My head has linked light-headedness with anxiety, that's something that only time will fix. As days go by, the rock I was builds anew with every wave I encounter. It may have eroded me in parts, but only to reveal sterner stuff.

I have three things to attribute my mental wellness to. My beautiful girl, Ruth. A woman who has dealt with anxiety on a level I never have felt, and whose strength is immeasurable because of it. Without her, I'm sure clarity would still be a long way off for me. The doctor who said, "You're not going to die from being light-headed." I was looking for a quick fix, she convinced me into the long haul solution.

The third thing is what ties this story to the "suit" who has just left with the folks he was talking to.

The sterner stuff that the waves of life can never take away from me. My invulnerable belief that it gets better. Come what may. Even if the anxiety never goes away, even if I am forever a writer with no audience, even if I fail at every single thing I try to achieve. I know, it gets better.

Too many people much smarter than me, so many living creatures that I see do staggeringly amazing things, too many stars that occupy the night sky whose burn is a testament to billions of years that have come before me and the billions that will come after me: They all say and show, that it gets better. I would be foolish to believe otherwise.

Maybe the "suit" got the quote wrong, and didn't mean what it sounded like he meant.

Still. The moon? Fuck that noise. My power ring is charged like a mother fucker and there's a whole Universe out there. Sector 2814 is just the beginning.


Anonymous said...

This is why I fell in love with you, my husband. You have an incredible gift with words, and a vision that goes far beyond just you. I'm so proud of you.

Dianae said...

I love that Les Brown quote and had it as my Board sig for a while.
In this time of darkness and hatred at every turn it's refreshing to read of an outlook that looks up with hope and creative vision. Keep up the good work, Maestro.

Sean Hogarty said...

Nice writing, man... I like hearing you put words to your anxiety, it's so hard to convey in-your-psyche stuff in a way that seems to fit the non-logic-logic of cyclical thought.

That quote reminds me of an old favorite, which is probably misquoted by me, here:

Even a fool knows you can't reach the stars - but that doesn't stop a wise man from trying.

I should probably google that and get a reference, but I like to live on the edge :)

Americo said...

Appreciate it, sir.