IT’S A BITTERSWEET SYMPHONY

I think this might just be the most personal blog I’ll ever write but I’ll post it anyway. I promised when I started this blog that it would track my process to (hopefully) becoming an author. The process towards fulfilling this lifelong dream and it is only fair I record to bad bits as well. It is only fair I capture the times when self-doubt and fear gnaw so fiercely I can’t breathe. Even if the explanation of the root of this bad patch might leave me seeming a bit off. I’ll tell you this much… it’s pretty hard to type when you can’t stop crying.

If my mother or stepdad were to stumble into my room at this moment they’d be convinced that the boyfriend they were not aware I had dumped me sometime last night. I’d struggle through the tears and assure them that I’ve definitely not been hiding a boyfriend under the bed and it would dawn to my mother that there’s only one other thing that could reduce me to these kind of tears: my writing. At these moments even through this dread that wraps itself around my throat, I am grateful that my mother understands. I know people may think that it’s not that serious – it’s just a dream, people have them all the time – people fail to achieve them all the time and life goes on. But have you ever wanted something so badly that it hurt to breathe? So badly that it is hard to see yourself being happy truly happy doing anything else? Well, for me that is and that has always been writing. I don’t think I’d be able to contain my excitement when I can finally put in that box on immigration forms: Author, next to career. I know that even journalling is a form of writing. I know that I can still write even if I never get published (self or otherwise) with my five faithful friends reading each and every incomplete manuscript. But that has never been my dream. It isn’t about money. It’s about knowing that there are people out there reading my work… hopefully liking it and finding a few hours of the escapism that so many authors have gifted me with through the years. Having established that you want something so badly – deep in your bones imagine if you legitimately believed that you might not be able to have it?

Don’t get me wrong, I never expected this journey to be easy. There are hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of persons out there chasing this same dream. And if we are going to be honest there are hundreds upon hundreds of those thousands of persons that are more talented than me. I might have recently posted the complete rough draft the first book of a trilogy I’ve been working at on my blog but by no means did I ever think that it was publishing material – self published or otherwise. I’m still in the process of honing my craft and I will fully admit I have some ways to go. I guess maybe that’s the crux of my problem. I don’t think I’m good enough yet and I’m not sure when I will be. When you add that to my hugest fear that when I finally get added to the Bar and become a lawyer I won’t have any time to continue honing my craft there is nothing left but immense, immense panic.

The panic has been building for a while now. In fact, I think I might have written a blog post about this anxiety and fear less than a week ago. And, yes, I fully admit that the night before I wrote that blog I frustrated myself to the point to tears with these same worries.

About an hour ago something changed. I couldn’t point my finger to what that was even if the threat of death hung over my head. But I know something changed. I got a feeling. Before you laugh it off, I should probably explain this feeling a bit more. This is where the ‘probably the most personal blog I’ll ever write’ comes in. This will probably open me up to ridicule for being paranoid but it is something I’ve only felt twice before and it’s never resulting in anything good. I’ve just said to my best friend it is like foreboding but not quite. I wouldn’t be too off if I described it as a sort of knowing. Although my urban fantasy novels tend to focus around mediators, witches and psychics – I don’t have any psychic capabilities. To be honest, I can’t tell you if I even believe those sort of things actually exist. Then again I can’t tell you that I don’t believe either. I guess that would make me the agonistic version of  a believer in preternatural capabilities. I’m straying, so let me get back on track.

As I said before I’ve had this feeling twice. Once after visiting a friend of the family in the hospital. Everyone left on high spirits because the prognosis of recovery given by the doctors were good but I left uneasy believing that she wouldn’t make it. She didn’t.

It wasn’t the same of fear or worry – but rather a sort of feeling of inevitability which I couldn’t shake no matter how many times I told myself it was foolish.

The second time I remember quite well because it was about two years ago. My ex-boyfriend and I were about to start a long distance relationship and at the time I remember that I wanted nothing more than for it to succeed. I remember kissing him goodbye and walking towards the coach. I turned around to give his one final wave and I felt it again – it sort of said to me ‘Rilzy, cupcake, it doesn’t matter how much you want it – this isn’t going to work out.’ I cried so hard on the 3 hour drive back to where I’d been staying at the time that the dude sitting next to me looked like he’d pass out from the awkwardness of it all. You (like my best friend) might think that whatever feeling I got was just nerves, anxiety, fear and worry from having to leave him. Except, it wasn’t the first time I had to say goodbye. And on the first occasion I cried so hard the emigration officer asked me if I was in the process of deported. The sadness was there but it wasn’t accompanied by whatever this is.

Needless to say that when while I sat at my workstation this morning, coffee in hand going over the outline of the next novel I’m about to tackle I felt the same exact sensation, I crumbled. I know I’m facing even more of an uphill battle once school restarts in September and then when I finally get employed. Yet, this time I’m not feeling fearful that I might be running out of time to make this dream a reality… I’ve got this feeling of inevitably hanging around my neck like an albatross.

A quote from the film Tristan and Isolde has stuck with me since I first saw the trailer over four years ago. Isolde said to Tristan, “Why long for things if they are not meant to be ours?”

I’ve grappled with this question only once before but I have a feeling that this question will be waging war within me in the days to come.

When is it the right time to cut your losses and try to let go?

Photo Courtesy: Public Domain Pictures
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6 thoughts on “IT’S A BITTERSWEET SYMPHONY

  1. I’ve only just stumbled across your blog: this is the first post of yours I have read. The only consolation I can offer is to say that I understand the feeling you describe: I, too, have felt it and I, too, struggle with the challenges the dream of becoming a writer, an author – a published author – presents. I have spent the last ten years or more grappling with this feeling, and then dismissing it: Life is what you make it, be it by taking the easy way out or by working your ass off until you achieve the impossible.
    My blog tag line is: Is it better to say I have tried and failed, than never to have tried at all?
    My answer to that is yes: because as long as I’m trying I cannot fail – not until I give up, and that isn’t happening any time soon.
    Keep writing…x

  2. Thank you so much for your comment.
    “Life is what you make it, be it by taking the easy way out or by working your ass off until you achieve the impossible.” That really, really jumped out at me as truth. I’m going to write this out in all of my outline books until it sticks.

  3. Keep writing Rilzy! Please just write for the love of it (it’s the best thing in the world) – you’re putting too much pressure on yourself – just let go and enjoy:)

  4. I’ve cried buckets both while chasing the dream and after realizing that happiness is not wrapped up with a bow even after you get the very thing you’ve spent your life chasing, cried over the things I let get away while chasing the dream, cried over the despair that maybe there’s nothing left in me to give. The only thing that remains certain is that writing is as instinctive to me as dreaming and whatever happens, life will find me with a pen in my hand trying to make sense of it all. And all I can say to you is let the tears water your dreams. You are talented and brave, and, as is the case with any writer, published or otherwise, you write because you must. So keep writing, keep dreaming, keep believing, and I’ll tell you the thing I wish I could go back and say to myself, try not to worry so much; it will come or it won’t and either way you’ll be okay. For what it’s worth though, I fully expect to see your book in print someday.

    1. Thanks so much for the vote of confidence, it means a lot coming from. You are right too. Sometimes I know I get so caught up in achieving this that I forget that life continues ticking by. I’ll take the advice of someone who’s already been there and try my best to not worry but focus on the fact that writing is as necessary to me as breathing and get back to writing because I need to and I have stories to tell, no strings attached.

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