How Are You? Bad.

Scream

There are some terrors that move beyond fear into a nameless, indescribable territory, where nothing lives but shadows and madness.

A terror that is a wrenching, tearing agony, a great claw descending to slice you open from neck to navel and tear out your organs, one by one, until you are left an empty flap of bloodied skin.

A terror that makes you want to throw up so hard you’ll turn yourself inside out in the process.

A terror that slams against your skull until your eyeballs and tongue and brains spew out like coins from a winning slot machine.

And when this terror hits you, there is nothing you can do. Curling into a fetus position doesn’t help. Drowning yourself in fantasies doesn’t help. Even killing yourself wouldn’t help. All you can do is exist, and howl, mouth twisted open in a wailing vortex.

Right now, I am terrified of time. Time is slipping by, so quickly, ever so quickly, a stream that bubbles by with a mocking gurgle, and what have I been doing? Procrastinating. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to put every minute of my time to good use. Fat chance. I have done the opposite: whiled away my time on frivolities that do not enrich my life but dwindle it. There is a sense of failure, lodged like a calciferous tumor in my gut. I am sick with my own failure.

I am also terrified of my own inadequacy. This is not a matter of high standards: I know very well that I could be a much better writer than I am right now, if I had put in the extra time, worked a little harder. Countless people my age have been published, while here I sit, procrastinating at home, and I have no-one to blame but myself. The greatest self-loathing rears its ugly head when you realise what you could have been, and what you are not.

If you have read this far, I congratulate you for indulging me in my self-pity. Or perhaps you can derive some comfort from knowing that someone else out there is suffering as you are. The future looks dreary. Every word I write is a little shard of agony. The thought of ever getting published, and achieving the dreams I want to achieve, is almost an impossibility. How laughable it is, to think that someone as small and puny and talentless as I am, could ever rise to the heights of others. I shake my head at the delusion. My world has morphed into a fairy nightmare.

And for the dark, glistening cherry on the cake: I hope you are feeling better than I am right now. I hope you are not frightened out of your wits. I hope you are not steeped in the sludge of your own inadequacy. I hope you do not feel small, insignificant and hopeless. I hope you look towards the future with the ghost of a smile on the edge of your lips.

And if you aren’t, if you are, also, writhing in a tiny Hell of your own, then…

…let us howl and howl and howl as much as we want into the abyss. Don’t worry. It doesn’t mind.

Because it doesn’t care.

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6 thoughts on “How Are You? Bad.

    • Hi. Thanks for reading. πŸ™‚ Of course, I do write for the fun of uncovering worlds and characters, and living more exciting lives than my own, but any serious writer is kidding themselves if they say their end goal isn’t publication. Publication is validation, and, considering how insecure most writers tend to be, there is nothing more gratifying to the soul than getting published. I want to share my wacky fantasies with others, with a wide audience, so that they can dream along with me.
      This blog is purely for fun, and spilling out my thoughts in the hopes it relates to or help others. It’s not written for anyone in particular, though idealists, writers and introverts and neurotics might be able to relate to my words more. It’s written for you, it’s written for her, it’s written for anyone who stumbles across it.

  1. Hello, happy new year πŸ™‚

    I liked the new design of the blog, really cool. Pure white.

    This post makes me tick a little bit, as the idea of time is something illusive and yet subjugate our notions of reality. It seems that you’re worried about the future and if you will ending up being published someday. For some reason, I care about this. Maybe because I can relate to your circumstances about reaching a fixed goal. Or just because I’m fond of your writing. Whatever it is, I feel like saying something. But…

    I want to shake a little your perceptions without introducing any disastrous influences. Okay, I mean, I want to share some ideas. That said, just a clarification, don’t take me seriously. Consider my views with the gold miner mindset: filter every crap, bullshit, batship theory and take only the gold that suits you better. Probably you’re going to disagree with some of my points or all of them. But that’s the idea. New perspectives can only be born from disagreement. Collision of worldviews, in order to expand our horizons. Each person has his/her own range of experiences and the exchange of opinions can sometimes catalyze dormant potentials. Let’s go:

    1 – Don’t be so enamored with the idea of being published. This should be a consequence and not a goal. And here’s why: thinking about the podium, the merits and credits will mostly distract you from what really matters, that is, the process. Slow and steady, you should progress towards a direction. Besides, it’s far better to work improving skills than towards goals. Goals should serve skills and not otherwise. Focus in your writing. Do it, diligently. With joy. With love. With attentiveness. Like now. Keep doing it. Have a direction, not a single fixed point which we usually refer as goal. Goals are illusive and causes unnecessary pain, as the future is unpredictable. Accept randomness. Try to create serendipity by lowering your expectations. But remember, not to a point that would make you pessimistic, but realistic. Okay. A realistic dreamer, whatever that means πŸ™‚

    2 – Procrastination is not bad. Don’t feel guilty about it. The marketing industry and the self development movement had claimed those ideas again and again to the point of making us feel bad about ourselves. What is procrastination? It is a mechanism of psychological defense of the mind (it sounds bullshit, but apparently it’s not). When we have to do something that requires effort, struggle or tedious work, the brain has its tricks to saves energy and protect our sanity. You can feel your brain in action protecting you when you start to yawn. Listen, if our fate is to procrastinate, let’s do it in a beneficial way. Let’s make the best of our procrastinations! Yes, be creative about how you want to procrastinate. Choose a good show, interesting website that teach you something. I don’t know, but search for spontaneity. For example, I have a trick. This Youtube random video website: http://randomyoutube.net/ . It gives you a random Youtube video. It can be anything. Things that you wouldn’t search on your own. It can be good or bad. But it’s an interesting approach to see things that you wouldn’t see otherwise.

    3 – Filter the noise. Things that appears to be relevant, but are not. Some examples: news, social media, trends, expert/gurus/coaches advices and absolute “truths” of any sort. It’s an eternal struggle of influences. People trying to turn the mind of others into their own. I have a rule of thumb to avoid such traps. When someone give me an advice without alternatives. That means either two things: the person giving advice does not consider different paths of his/her own or have no idea of what he/she is talking about. For example, drawing skills. I did some research on the subject and realize that styles of drawing are related with innate aptitudes and different experiences of the artist. Like our handwriting, each person has his/her own. That said, don’t be trapped into thinking linearly about how you should pursue your path. Just try to stay on it.

    4 – Time. Forget about it. Listen, we humans think that clocks measure time. The truth is: they don’t. There is no time! We made this concept up. For our own convenience. Of course, for the sake of communication, I won’t abdicate to say normally things like: everything has in nature its own time. Because this would make me an jerk. Maybe I am already a jerk, but this would worsen my case. Anyway, water the seeds. I mean, skills are like gardening. You water the soil, fertilize, prune, and so on. You know, why do someone have a garden in the first place? To appreciate it, alright? To show off sometimes. The same could be said about skills. Once they become second nature, we can focus in the higher level aspects of our craft. Summarizing it: cultivate craftsmanship. The nature (idea) of time should be our ally, not our enemy. In other words, try to be friends with time. Respect it. Let it be what it was, is and will be. Bend with it. Better yet, love and marry with time. Don’t try to understand it. In fact, nobody does.

    5 – You are doing great. But don’t let praise soften you. Don’t. Don’t search for praise. It’s hard to harness counter intuitive aspects of human nature. I learned some. One of them is: search for criticism of your work. Develop a thick skin and move on. Don’t be extremist. Sometimes you will be strong. Other you will need someone to hug you.

    The ideas were better in my mind. Once I wrote them here, they appear to be common sense. In any case, I wish you good luck. Keep writing.

    Some books and video recommendations to inspire you:

    Steal Like an Artist: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steal_Like_an_Artist

    Ignore Everybody (Amazon link): http://www.amazon.com/Ignore-Everybody-Other-Keys-Creativity/dp/1400113393

    Antifragile: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antifragile

    Eveything is a Remix (1 of 4 parts): http://vimeo.com/14912890

    Eveything is a Remix (2 of 4 parts): http://vimeo.com/19447662

    Eveything is a Remix (3 of 4 parts): http://vimeo.com/25380454

    Eveything is a Remix (4 of 4 parts): http://vimeo.com/36881035

    • Happy New Year to you, too!
      And hello, again. And again, you have blown me away. Did you know that you are not an organism composed of carbon, but in fact pure distilled awesomeness? Yes. You learn something new everyday.
      But on a more serious note: thank you from the deepest depths of my heart. From depths that are even invisible to myself. Every time you comment, you twist my mind back on track, and all of your advice, honestly, is golden. I can’t imagine why anyone in the world would care enough to help me like you do, but I am utterly, utterly grateful for it. You can’t imagine how grateful. I think I’m just repeating myself here, but, yes. Heart so bloated with gratitude right now, and I just wanted to let you know that. You are kind. You care! My heart bleeds tears of happiness. Alright, I’ll stop now, before I start getting too effusive and veering off into more cliches.
      You’re right. Publishing isn’t the be all and end all. The joy is the important part. I think I feel so frustrated because I am still an amateur at my craft, and I want to get good right NOW, even though I know writers aren’t born overnight. In many ways, I feel publication would serve as validation for my efforts, which is silly at this stage of my life, I know, but my heart wishes for it anyway. But now, I’ve decided to focus on the joy of crafting words and worlds themselves, regardless of an extraneous rewards. So, thank you for that reminder.
      As to the time thing, well, I understand very well that time is incomprehensible and clocks and hours and minutes are a human construct, but we do have a limited amount of time in our lives to do the things we want. And there is the added pressure of my imminent exams, which I have very little interest in but feel the need to do well in them for the sake of my well-meaning mother. I know I should just focus on my dream, but that doesn’t stop worries about money and getting a good job and my parent’s expectations for leering at me from the corners of my eyes. Am I blathering? I probably am. Not sure if any of what I just said made an ounce of sense. It’s 12am where I live, so sleep-deprivation might be part of the reason. Just a jumble of anxieties, many of which you have so nicely quelled by your beautiful words. And that procrastination tip is quite wonderful – I’ll make sure to apply it next time I get a hankering to waste time. Normally I just spend it mindlessly browsing mindless videos on YouTube.
      Um. You are so nice. And wise. I’m probably not expressing myself properly, or saying everything I really want to say, but…you seem to understand. Truly understand. Your mind bends in a similar fashion to mine, if that isn’t too presumptuous of me. Kindred spirits, you-get-me kind of thing. What I’m trying to say is, you have a cool heart and brain, and I really appreciate you, and I hope no gigantic claw ever descends to rip them out. Actually, just scrap that last part. That was just me fiddling with some gruesome metaphors.

      Thank you. Thank you.

    • Thank you. So much. That article was certainly very comforting. I know I shouldn’t be so critical, you’re perfectly write, but there’s a quiet desperation to be competent and good within me that is sometimes hard to stifle, especially when one is surrounded by such talent all the time. Thank you for reminding me that I have time. ❀

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