“Why do you think I blew up your condo?”
-Tyler Durden, Fight Club
I made a mess. I did it purposely. It was the only way to find myself.
For many years I determined my status and identity in life by the things in it. My house. My job. My marriage. My bank account. My baubles. I stacked and arranged them “just so.” Everything fit. And then I placed my heart in orbit around it all.
A heart makes a terrible satellite.
Righting that wrong has cosmic consequences. Ask Copernicus and Galileo. When you challenge your empire of belief, there will be pain. You will make a mess. You will feel lost. Empire never relinquishes it’s rule willingly. But if you dare to challenge the oppressor within your mind like I am, renaissance is possible. You can find truth. You can find yourself.
It’s not easy, and that’s okay. Convenience is deadly.
So, here I am. But where is here?
Here is a love story.
The landscape of my life has been emptied of all the bullshit, din and distraction that detached me from…me. Now I’ve got serious alone time and that’s uncomfortable because I’m awful company.
It’s a courtship of sorts, like force dating your worst enemy. In a rowboat. In the middle of the Pacific. And there’s no lube.
My internal dialog goes something like this:
Ugh. I’ve got to write a book with you?
Yeah, tell me about it, you worthless piece of shit.
Okay, okay. Wait. Let’s start over. Hi, I’m Cabot.
Pfft. I know who you are. You are that guy who passively tried to kill himself multiple times. And is covered in scars, missing body parts. And ended up in jail. And failed at a marriage. And lost a house. And filed bankruptcy. And quit his job. And remember when mom found out what was happening with that older kid all those years ago? That was your fault. There’s something wrong with you. Oh yeah, where was your dad? You are a mistake. Nobody wants a mistake.
You know, you are a good dad.
And you’ve been a good brother. Just ask your sisters.
Uh… No, you, you… You suck at—
People think you are funny and kind too. Come here and give me a hug.
No way. You didn’t brush your teeth last night, slob.
Come on, give it a try. I bet you are good at hugs too.
Dude, what are we doing? This is weird.
Shhh. Just let it happen.
These are the conversations I have with myself everyday before I start writing. AND IT’S HARD. It’s hard to think about the good things. I don’t see them. They are buried under a mountain of failure. But if I don’t try, the war will never end. And you know what that means? No peace, no words.
I need those words, dammit.
I have to give myself a daily, if not hourly, pardon. I’m so used to my incessant internal hate-talk, I don’t know quite how to direct myself without it. It’s terrifying actually. I know I need to build new habits and structure that will serve me but my imagination and will is withered from being neglected for so long. I have to remind myself to be patient and take small steps.
Kind thoughts for myself are so alien to me. They feel like lies.
When I was a kid, I loved wandering alone in the fields that surrounded the trailer park where I lived. I did it with a fearless confidence well beyond my age. I did it in comfortable peace. I miss that. Writing has become my field to wander in now. I’m trying to find that peace and confidence again. But it’s hard to wander. I’m used to crippling limits. Fear says I should have a destination because wandering is not traveling, not progress.
There’s no discovery in walking in circles of predictability or following laser beam lines. I have to give myself permission to wander and make my own path.
So, where does your path lead?
Photo credit: Public Domain/Wikipedia