Jealousy v. Success

This question has been posed twice in the last week: What will I do if one of my friends gets published before I do?

The honest-to-God truth is that I’ll be fine. I’ll even be happy for them.

This sounds like I’m giving the “right” answer rather than the “honest” answer. My mother and I had a pretty lengthy discussion where she didn’t believe me at first, but I convinced her in the end.

Here’s the deal: I am friends with amazing, talented people who are all working towards the same goal. We all want to be authors. We all have a need to share our philosophies with the world. We’re all weird, and we’ve all taken turns being “the next one” who might get published.

I’ve worked for this for 12 years, rewriting the same story over and over and over. One of my friends has been piddling around with a couple of ideas for about 10 years and finally settled on one focus a couple of years back, but hasn’t put a single word on paper yet. What if he gets published two years from now and I have to wait another five? That’s okay.

Patience is a magical virtue that some people really can’t grasp. One colleague ripped into me about not chasing my dreams–“You’re not going to get published if you don’t start working toward it.” I waited for her to let it all out (took approximately 10 minutes; that was a test of patience right there) before I told her that I had in fact finished the novel twice and rewritten it because of feedback gained from others. I had moved 1500 miles to study my other settings. I had gotten specific jobs and studied specific disciplines just to improve my writing. She didn’t realize how thoroughly my 12 years had been dedicated to this craft because she can’t grasp the concept of patience.

That patience is why I’ll be okay. I might get upset for a minute, an hour, a day, but in the end it doesn’t matter. Someone else’s success doesn’t detract from mine. Hell, if one of one my friends moves forward faster than I do, he can start dropping my name.

I believe in a world built on “my success is your success and your success is my success.” I don’t adhere to an “I deserve this more than that other person” mentality–anymore. I did for a long time and it got me nowhere. It got me further from Nowhere; I actually went backwards. It took me about six years to pull my head out of my ass and see how immature I was being.

If you put in the work, you deserve success. It’s not up to me to decide who gets there first.

Surviving

I am entirely unnerved right now.

The last few weeks have been an interesting rollercoaster. Everything dived when my meds stopped working, but I’ve balanced out. I’m better off than I was before. I was even able to spend a few days alone without losing control of my emotions or my impulses.

Then again, most people might consider a last-minute 4-day trip to Boston a bit of an “impulsive” decision. Hey, it was fun and I survived. I call that highly successful.

I read 20 1/2 books in the month of November. I’ve read 2 more since yesterday. Yes, they have all  been young adult and middle-grade novels, but they are all about overcoming impossible odds and surviving. Since the Paris attacks a couple of weeks ago, surviving has been on my mind.

A government facility in San Bernadino was attacked a few hours ago. State-side, things are slowly escalating. Internationally, things are escalating a bit faster.

It makes me wonder if we are prepared for our overseas conflicts to cross our borders.

 

Saying Goodbye

I’m going to be pretty brief today.

My lost friend came home this week. We met up last night to talk, which started out fine enough. We got past the initial awkwardness and fell back into the easy friendship we’ve always had. We spent four hours wandering, talking, and crying.

We decided that maintaining a normal friendship isn’t possible. The chemistry we have is too intense, he’s moved on, and I can’t be “just friends” with him. So we agreed to the only thing that will make it easier in the long run: we agreed to never see or contact each other again.

The parting was amicable, but I’ve never felt more like I was being ripped apart. I drove to work, thinking about personal experiments I’ve done to test my limits. I considered other ways of testing my limits, ways that wouldn’t end well.

I told my mentor about the decision this morning when she came in. She and I sat in the office and cried together for half an hour. She’s been through this, personally and with her daughters. She asked me what I said to him. I answered that I told him everything that might make a difference. I didn’t want the chance of running into him 20 years from now and saying those things and having him respond, “If only you had spoken up.”

We parted on the words, “Until I see you again,” knowing there’s a very good chance that will never happen.

No Thinking Allowed

Day 6 (Sunday)

Still ups and downs today. Obsessive behavior, trying to keep it under control but temptation is always there . . . so back to the television, back to the distractions. Keeps me from thinking.

Ideally, tomorrow will bring a call from the psychiatrist, and the opportunity to move forward with professional help.

I’m looking forward to my days off. Tuesday and Wednesday . . . I don’t know what I’m going to do those days, but I’m imagining a beach, the sea breeze, and freedom from myself, my thoughts, my mistakes, my problems.

Freedom from the reality that right now, the only thing holding me together is a 6-year-old teddy bear.

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Acknowledging the Ashes

Day 4 (Friday)

  • Went to work for 2 hours
  • Saw a good friend
  • Napped
  • Hung out with Mom
  • Practiced line drawings of Winnie the Pooh

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    Everything was going fine til I tried to add the Santa hat after drawing the ears.

  • Dreaded going  to work (so back to normal)

Simple, simple day . . . it’s becoming really clear that Mom and I think the same way. We were working on an issue on her work PC yesterday (we work 200 yards apart) and I went to send an email to myself. I called it “Stuff.” She started laughing, and scrolled through her inbox. She names the emails to herself “Stuff.”

I spent most of the day drawing or napping, which I interrupted with writing. Journaling has become something of an addiction over the last six months. I always write with something or someone in mind. I don’t really write to me–I write to you, or I write letters to friends and family, but in a centralized fashion (they stay in an assortment of notebooks, not actually mailed to people–I learned that lesson the hard way in high school).

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A good portion of the drawings were tattoo ideas that have been circling for years. The most important is a phoenix design I’ve been working on since my first semester of college, six years ago. I’ve played with colors and proportions, but I have always focused on the fire of the phoenix, not the ashes. Like yin and yang, the fire and the ashes are equally important in the imagery of rebirth. Today, I decided to add the ashes and see what happened.

When I was in church, we talked about brokenness–how we must be broken, more broken than we can handle, before we can realize God’s power. Don’t know about you, but God sounds like a sociopath to me.

Regardless of religious beliefs or disbeliefs, brokenness is something I understand. So is the feeling of rebirth–and breaking down again, and getting better, and breaking down, and getting better. Much of my adult life has been focused on being better, not the journey of getting there. However, teleportation doesn’t exist yet and journeys are not instant.

032215 – the numbers at the top of the phoenix’s right wing – is the date I decided to get better, whatever that means. According to a comment that brought me to tears (the only tears shed today), getting better might actually be a good thing:

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You can read Lily’s journey at http://lilypupslife.wordpress.com

So that’s where my mind went today.

No sleep tonight. Work beckons.