Know When to Heed the Green-Eyed Monster

She may be trying to steer you onto the write path.

I’m not a jealous person. I’ve always lived my life by my own rules. If I want to experience something, I find a way to do it. If I don’t want to participate in something, I simply don’t do it – no apologies, no excuses, none needed.   

Not following the crowd is less of a choice and more the way I’m built, so I embrace it. Here’s my philosophy: fighting my own nature is both counterproductive and exhausting; why expend energy this way when there are more productive things I should be doing?

Swimming opposite the big school of fish feels like the right direction to me. Maybe my echolocation was programmed incorrectly from the start. Yet sometimes it’s tempting to blend in, to follow the crowd, to say yes to everything. It seems way easier than living authentically. Individuality is not popular or celebrated in the mass of society where conformity is rewarded.  

The artistic and writing communities are the exception to these standards. Self-expression is the basis for what we do. But did I choose to become a writer or did writing choose me? I often believe writing is more a curse than it is a blessing. Writing is the burden I was born to bear. The problem I am here to solve.

Whenever I feel a that pang, the twinge in my gut that I recognize as my internal compass, I have to stop and ask, what does it want now? Which of its many forms has my conscience taken on – guilt, anger, fear, embarrassment, envy? Regardless, I always know it means I’m on the wrong path. I’ve meandered off course again.

I had taken a looooong break from writing. More like a break up really.

No big deal. I quit writing all the time. But I always come back. If I don’t, my life becomes unbalanced. I don’t sleep well. The monsters take over my dreams. Anxiety wins.

The scary part this time was that I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back. Why not? Self-pity, complacency with mediocrity, fear? Any and all of these? There’s no need to harp on what the impediments are, we’re all familiar. I was exhausted. I gave up swimming and was content to float along, adrift.

So, what triggered my return? Resentment towards those who had stuck it out despite the obstacles. They had not given up, so who was I to quit? They had perseverance, spunk, fortitude, bravery, and pluck. Those were my things and I wanted them back. There was only way to get them. I had to get to get back on the write path. Complacency is the enemy of creativity and it’s better to fear mediocrity than to give into it.

Thanks to Jealously, and her wicked cousin, Fear, writing and I are back together for now. I hope it lasts this time.     

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