Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I hate it when I'm right

So... It's been a few days since I've taken a break from playwriting and lo and behold, the shit wave has arrived and just keeps on coming. I've got some rage, people. Rage over my seemingly lost twenties where I wandered about, not sure what the hell to do with my life, working crap jobs, pursuing the odd theatre gig, and falling into a depression at age 29 that required therapeutic intervention. 

And now, I'm surrounded by incredibly focused, high-achieving youths who seem to know exactly what they want to do and exactly how to get there. If only I had had even a modicum of this kind of clarity at that age. 

I knew I was an artist very early on and my passion was, and still is, theatre. However, I totally lacked the self-confidence back then to continue pursuing this passion and did what we artists call "selling out".

And boy, did I pay the price. I dated the wrong people, worked jobs I loathed and was constantly ill. I hated my life. Now, my biggest enemy is regret. Having teenage stepchildren reminds me of my own youth, and when compared to theirs, mine was a train wreck. 

I mean, I was a high achiever academically speaking. I graduated with honours from both high school and university. But my professional life since then has been less than stellar, a constant underestimation on my part of what I'm truly capable of and now I'm stuck with the byproducts of mediocrity.

When I think of the hope and excitement for the future inherent in the university experience, it saddens me to feel rage at this point in my life over a patchwork career path that has failed miserably to live up to my expectations. However, I have no one to blame but myself. My current situation is a product of choices I made and if I'm not where I want to be, it's my own damn fault.

Unfortunately, that still doesn't make this bitter pill any easier to swallow. I guess I'm a late bloomer. I finally decided, I mean really dedicated myself, in my early thirties, to pursuing goals I'm truly passionate about. I'm trying to tell myself that becoming a professional artist will be easy despite the commonly held belief that it's excruciatingly difficult. I have to tell myself that. Otherwise, I'll go mad.

I must be ripe for spiritual growth because I'm sitting in a big, steaming pile of my own mental shit and choosing to stay for a while, even though it's thoroughly unpleasant. What's that saying we use all the time in yoga? Learning to sit with sensation. I'm sittin' all right.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Staring at a big, gaping abyss. I need a drink...

So... it's come to my attention that I'm creatively burned out. You see, I'm a playwright, and for the past few years, I've been writing non-stop but lately, I've had to admit to myself that I'm tired and I need a break. It's not like it would disrupt my income or anything since I'm still an emerging playwright looking to have my scripts produced and I do have other sources of income because I'm not writing full-time.

The caveat here is that my whole sense of self worth is wrapped up in my writing. If I take a break, what will happen to me? Will I become "ordinary"? And in becoming ordinary, will I simply disappear into the crowd, unnoticeable? 

My spiritual teacher pointed out to me that those assumptions are very arrogant, that I'm basically assuming that "ordinary" people aren't lovable. Taking that one step further, "ordinary" is simply a judgment I'm projecting onto others. As she put it, "there are no ordinary people". I just "think" there are and I don't want to be one of them for fear of not being loved and adored.

This is somewhat tragic because it means I'm constantly striving to stand out. Do you know how much energy that sucks up? And for what? What would happen if I just allowed myself to go with the flow, to coast for a while and enjoy the everyday little joys my life brings me instead of constantly hungering for and grasping for what will set me apart from others? Life would be so much easier if I could just "be". 

But I see an opportunity in my creative fatigue. I certainly won't stop blogging since that's fun and demands a different kind of creative energy, one I pretty much always have on hand. But writing plays, that's a little bit different, and sometimes the soil must lie fallow and I need to respect that. 

I must also remove "ordinary" from my vocabulary. It's a purely subjective notion that serves only to deter me from the immediate present. 

In my quest to avoid "ordinariness", I'm constantly projecting into the future. I mean, it's good to have goals and visualize what you want but it has to be balanced with a strong sense of "presence", of showing up for your actual life instead of disconnecting from it in favour of a fantasy self that may or may not come to pass.

I'm actually looking forward to this period of rest, of emptiness since it will leave room for other "stuff" to come up, perhaps some long held, negative beliefs keeping me from my own happiness. It's time for me to get out of my own way, and chill.