I’m lost. Recently, life has dealt out a combination of punches that have had me laying face-first upon the canvas of life.
Recently, I’ve lost my finances, the studio that was employing me (AMC), and last night I drove away the girl that I love.
To anyone thats ever read my previous articles, you’ll know that I’ve always been the ‘King of the comeback.’ Despite the fact that life has dealt me some bad cards, I’ve always stayed in the game. From a bad childhood, to overcoming the death of my fiancee and unborn child; I’ve endured it all, and done so while staying firmly on my feet.
I’ve pushed through numerous rejections from studios, publishing houses, etc. Through all this, I never missed a stride. I’ve always stayed positive, stayed strong. This tenacious/ unstoppable side of me, has been what you have all come to know and see in me. But what people haven’t seen, what I’ve kept to myself, are the bruises. The bruises on my heart, ego, and spirit. Those timely body shots that life has dealt out to me — have all slowly worn away at my resolve, like water against rock.
Recently, I’ve felt completely disillusioned, and if I’m honest — Ive been more than ready to quit this whole writing thing. I just felt… Tired.
Sure, I’ve gotten interest from some big-name studios in my time. But its always been more of a flirtatious one night stand with them, a kind of hot and heavy arrangement; instead of the long term relationship that I longed for (I like writing about relationships, so you’ll have to deal with the relationship-based analogies).
Basically, I’ve been laying on the canvas of life lately; not even trying to reach for the ropes. “Why bother?” seems to be one of the consistent questions that has bounced around in my mind, “Why bother, coz you’ll only keep failing, right?”
So I listened to the doubts, and instead of ignoring them like usual, I instead gave them a home. I stopped writing, and started focusing on getting back into teaching. I started to think that I should be sensible, get back into the ‘real’ world, and back to a ‘normal’ job. No more writing to studios, no more spending days and nights working on my craft, no more savvy conversations with studio execs. Nope, I figured it was time to shut-down all the writing programs on my MacBook. It was time to take them off of my home-screen; it was time to live a normal life.
Honestly, I’ve been a miserable asshole lately. Friends have commented on how I’ve not been myself; I never knew exactly what they meant, but I knew that I didn’t feel my usual ‘spark’ inside me. My normal cocky and adventurous self, seemed to be a ghost.
I guess I felt like I was going through life in an automated sense. I got up, got washed, ate, went out, looked for teaching work, had lunch, drove around some more for work, had dinner, watched tv, then slept. Rinse and repeat.
I was conscious of all I was doing. But, I felt more like was watching myself, than BEING myself.
That is until, today…
I was driving along, and a song came on the radio; Beautiful Loser, by Bob Seger. At first, I thought of the TV series Supernatural, because this is the song that was played in a montage when Dean Winchester (masterfully played by Jensen Ackles) tried to leave his life of demon-hunting, and settle down to live a ‘normal’ life with the woman he loved, and her son.
But then, as I listened to the words of the song longer, I started to feel something. I didn’t know what it was at the time. To be honest, I can barely even explain the feeling now. I just knew it was (still is) there.
So, I downloaded the song to my iPhone, and drove around some more, while listening to it on repeat. The more I listened, the more the words resonated with me. Then it hit me; I WAS the beautiful loser from the song! At least thats who I had been acting like.
Like Dean Winchester in that episode of Supernatural, I was trying to run away from what I really was, and who I really am. I realized that I wasn’t some English teacher, that had been fooling himself into thinking he was a writer. No, I became aware in that moment, that I was a writer; one that had been using the career of teaching as a form of insurance, a plan B, or some kind of security blanket. And right now, I was holding onto that blanket for dear life.
I had let all of my past failures catch up to me; allowed them to gang up on me. And instead of being the fighter that I’ve always been, I had recently become passive, and maybe even weak…
I had started to view ‘playing it safe,’ as a good lifestyle choice. And mediocre career paths were looking more and more attractive by the day. I had previously always strived to be the best in whatever I did in life, and I had always been full of positivity. But recently I resembled the man in Beautiful Loser:
“He’s always willing to be second-best,
A perfect lodger, a perfect guest.”
Instead of living by my mantra of “Its better to be loved or hated, as opposed to simply being liked,” I had become lathargic in life, and without ambition. You see this is what happens when you’re conflicted in life; when you have a passion that you both feed and starve, intermittently. This inner conflict drains you. And if you stay in this state, you will ironically become a loser in both your passion, and also in the security blanket career that you’ve been clinging to.
Truth be told, you can’t run away from who you are. This is what I’m realizing now. Don’t get me wrong — as I write this — I’m still down, and feeling low. But I now know that like Dean Winchester has said in a few episodes “There’s no half-assing it.” I’m either fully in, or I’m fully out.
Personally, I have been trying to half-ass it lately. In the words of Bob Seger:
“He wants his home and security,
He wants to live like a sailor at sea.”
That was me. Maybe its you as well?
I’ve been wanting to write, but holding onto the safety net of teaching, with a “just in case” mentality. And now — when the shit has hit the fan — I’ve been tangled up within my own safety net.
You can’t live a life of passion, and still hold onto your security blanket career. I get how it sounds smart to have a backup career plan, but in reality, proceeding in life with this mentality, is just a recipe for failing.
I know its scary to leave security, and to embrace your passion. But, you have to make a choice. You have to choose passion and adventure; or choose to stay within the security of mediocrity — there is no middle ground. Or as Bob Seger so eloquently puts it:
“You can try, but you just can’t have it all.
You just can’t have it all.”
Will I get the girl that I love back? Will I be a best-selling author, Emmy Award winning screenwriter, or Oscar winner? Will I succeed as a writer?
Honestly, I don’t know.
But, what I do know, is that I’ve decided to let go of my safety net/ security blanket career. I’ve decided to do whatever it takes to succeed as a writer, and I’ve decided that I would rather Live a life where I’m pursuing my passions; than die a daily death, doing something I feel nothing for.