Why, How, What.

I feel lost. Not just normal lost. Lost in a pitch-black chasm with schisms in the walls. I feel like I’m supposed to know exactly which schism leads to a path upwards; a path that will lead me out of this darkness, but I keep stumbling in the blackness regardless of my best efforts. I’m not afraid of the dark. I’m frustrated by it.

Mom and I watched a couple of TED talks by Simon Sinek. In the second one, he discussed what makes “authorities” (people with a plan) versus people/corporations who “lead” (people with a passion). The difference between the two came down one simple idea: do people know why you do what you do? Don’t tell them what you do. Tell them why you do it.

The discussion got me thinking, of course. I’ve been massively dissatisfied with the trajectory of my life for some time now, so I started examining my motives. Why am I in this job? Why am I writing? Do I have a sense of purpose anymore? Where did my passion go?

Mr. Sinek showed a three-step circular model. The outer shell of the model was What. The middle ring was How. The bulls-eye was Why.

Let’s apply that to my job. What I do: I work in IT, monitoring printer software and configuring applications. How I do it: I answer emails and mess around with a couple of computer programs. Why I do it: Because it’s my job and I’d like to be debt free by the time I’m 28.

Not a whole lot of passion there, and money has always been my least favorite motivator. I swore to myself I would never keep a job just for the money, but here I am. I’m not seeing many options, though.

Let’s look at my last job. What I did: I worked in customer service, helping airport agents get you on the plane. How I did it: answering phone calls, engaging with airport agents, and puzzling my way through a quirky reservations system. Why I did it: Because I love customer service and figuring out the ins and outs of SABRE was a blast.

The “whats” and “hows” aren’t all that different in practice, but the “whys” are eons apart.

Finally, let’s look at writing. What I do: I write new adult fiction. How I do it: By sitting down at a computer every day and fighting to put the scenes in my head into words. Why I do it: Because in the end, I want to create a world that inspires people to write, a world that inspires imaginations.

LoveInspire. Those are passionate words. So how do I find passion in where I am currently? I don’t know yet. I’m switching shifts in about a week. Maybe I’ll find a new answer to why I do what I do. If not, here’s to hoping that my writing will become something I can do to sustain myself, both mentally and financially.

I highly recommend you click the link above and watch Mr. Sinek’s TED talks, particularly if you’re any sort of leadership role. His perspective has sent me into meditation-mode for a couple of days now.

But in the end, for me it all circles back to one thing: I’m tired of feeling lost.

Giving Up

Well, that hiatus was unintentional.

Thank you to those who stuck with me through my silence. I have an issue with perseverance from time to time, it seems. The funny thing is, when I suddenly stopped writing, I actually had a complete draft ready to go about just that: perseverance. Oh, the irony.

Today, though, I want to address the opposite side of perseverance. I’m dealing with it in every aspect of my life right now, especially in my health.

If you’ve been reading for the last few months, you know that my psychiatrist put me on Abilify to bring down my manic episodes. Once I quit drinking and put my medication on a schedule, the Abilify started to work wonders. The downside is the lovely side effect of putting on weight.

Yaaaaay.

I did CrossFit a couple of years ago and completely fell in love, but got sick and stopped going. If you don’t know anything about CrossFit (or have only heard horror stories), here’s the gist: your start with simple warm ups like running 400m, doing squat jumps, inchworms, and other such things that would have normally been my entire workout. Then you move into the high intensity stuff, like burpee bar hops, box jumps, pull ups, various Olympic weightlifting techniques, and you do them all in prescribed reps or for time.

I went home hurting every day and it was the greatest feeling.

Now I’m trying to push myself on my own. No coaches, no cheerleaders, no partners. It’s me against me and I’m telling you it’s a hundred times harder than CrossFit ever was. All I want to do is give up, but I know I can’t. I have to beat this medication and shed the weight before I hit another all-time high. I got on the scales the other day: 228. I was at 195 in October before I started.

This reminds me a lot of writing my novel, because there have been times when I’ve wanted to give up. I can’t. The reward is too great. The same principle applies here, but I’ve never really achieved success through exercise before. I’ve had 13 years of pushing myself to write a novel. I’ve had comparatively no time to push through my mental barriers here. I find myself stopping when I know a coach would be pushing me on. This is bordering on being the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.

What about you guys? Is there anything that you have to really push yourself so that you don’t give up?

Again, sorry for the hiatus and the semi-rambling post. I’ll do better this next month.

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.

Look for the Helpers

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” – Fred Rogers

I was blown away when watching the news reports about the Orlando shooting this morning. In the background of nearly every frame, I saw people carrying or treating the injured clubgoers. In such a dark moment, those people were the light. Friends, families, strangers–it was amazing to see them come together without hesitation.

Thank you to every volunteer, every officer, every man and woman driven by adrenaline to save some else’s life, every bystander who found a way to help. You’re the light in this world.

The link below has a video showing just a few of the helpers. This is what gives me hope.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/12/health/orlando-blood-donors/index.html

Another Day of Frustration

I have been extremely irritable for about two weeks now, like ready to yell at each person I see until he/she grows a normal-sized brain. I understand that people don’t think like me and sometimes my thoughts come out muddled but THERE IS NO SPACE BEFORE THE PERIOD, NOR SHOULD THERE BE SEVEN SPACES BETWEEN WORDS.

People need to take English literacy, grammar, and reading comprehension exams before emailing me. (My coworkers who grew up outside of English-speaking countries, I understand; however, if you grew up in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, etc. I expect better of you.)

Typing that sentence was actually quite cathartic. I should yell more.

Some of the frustration stems from being stuck in writing my book–again–because I hate my central villain. He’s dumb and underdeveloped and frustrating. I’m ready to kick him in the ass.

The problem here is (in my personal opinion) Kylo Ren is an incredible villain. He’s driven  in his mission, yet torn and surprisingly gentle in certain moments. Yes, these moments are just instants that are easy to miss, but they turn him from a “creature in a mask” to a human who feels passion and anger and regret.

My villain, on the other hand, is one rung down from Whiny Bitch. WHINY. ARGHHHHH.

Aaaand, I just realized I work in 12 hours, so the ranting will end here because the to-do list is still rather long. Well, then. Until the morrow.