So what? It’s okay to start over. No, it’s ESSENTIAL to start over, and this is the start of all starts; the push off the ledge, by me, of me. The girl who fears has been put away, if only for today. She can bang, cry, plead, or yell, but she knows now that I am in charge.
Those others, they are not the only creative ones. They may not even be the most creative – but they act on their thoughts, put their ideas on paper, and that has been their advantage. Doing, rather than just thinking. I started reading a book I bought long ago about writer’s block, appropriately titled, “Stuck.” The author tells me that being stuck is almost always (or always always) because of some demon from the past who was overly critical, or even dismissive, of our talent. Their voices – teachers, parents, bosses – are what keeps us from writing. I looked around, but found no one to blame. Until my eyes met another pair, in the mirror.
I do not need an imaginary parent or teacher at whom to point a finger. Life silenced me; fear silenced me. The fear of the words not fitting together perfectly, of putting the puzzle together only to find that there are pieces missing, and the picture is incomplete. The fear of sounding stupid, or sounding anything at all. The indescribable need to be invisible, to hide flaws by being nothing in which they can be found. The fear of discovering that I’m really not nearly as good as I thought, that the dreams are just that.
Risk, reward… if I don’t sit down, don’t place a single word on paper, there can be no reward. No pain, either, but no pain does not equal happy. No pain equals numb. I’ve been trying to live a life of no pain. There was so much early on, that stopping it forever seemed to be a wise, self-saving measure.
And then, teeny little choices began to be made – an easier college here, a less-than-challenging job there. With no experience in hard work towards a goal, one hasn’t got the tools when they’re needed. Suddenly, every small bump in the road becomes a mountain, and every opportunity looks like a 5000 foot-high rock wall. The body and mind quickly learn to respond to offers with a polite “no thank you.” And with each decline, we learn to settle, to stay in our safe place. I never learned how to navigate the river because I was unwilling to leave the pond.
Today is do-over day. The things that were are gone. And yet, there could be a million things behind Door #2. Am I willing to open it? To peer beyond what I “know” to see what is possible?
I am a writer who sees beauty in a blade of grass, who can find perfection in the absurd, and rays of light in every person I meet. Can i not greet my own reflection with the same open mind?
So, I call a do-over, just like in 3rd grade, when you didn’t jump into the rope at the right time and needed a second chance to get the rhythm down. I call today the new starting block, from which a real and fair race can be run. It’s time to start the game.