Yesterday I got some shitty news that I wasn’t expecting.
It was the kind that makes you question everything; the kind that pushes all of your buttons; the kind that leads you down those snake holes you thought you’d filled in years ago.
Metaphorically speaking, this news walked me to the corners of the garage to rummage through damp cardboard boxes just to dust off those tapes with my darkest self-talk.
I couldn’t resist. I pressed play, then repeat.
A sampling of my own vicious loop:
‘Nothing you ever do will be enough.’
‘There it is again: that blindspot; you always think people like you more than they do.’
‘They want someone; they just don’t want you.’
‘There’s something about you that just rubs people the wrong way.’
‘Why can’t you be less YOU?’
And of course, my quintessential self-pity refrain: ‘Stop thinking that you’re special, because you’re not.’
I’ve written before about my lifelong struggle to tone it down — my efforts to listen more; to not interrupt; to not be funny in serious situations; to not take things personally; to not jump ahead in conversations; and for God’s sake: to not overwhelm people with energy, candor, irreverence.
Now I know it’s all the rage now to speak your truth; to be too much for some people; to refuse to dim your sparkle; to own your wolfiness in the #wolfpack. I’ve been doing that since about ‘93 — way before it was cool. Heh.
I’ve washed my damn face and stopped apologizing and found my passion and winked at the wolf in the mirror. I am ME, now more than ever.
And let me tell you: the road I’ve traveled is riddled with potholes, lined with bandits, and often leads to the Village of Loneliness in the Town of Shit Outta Luck.
You see, in my experience, uber-authenticity doesn’t often lead to success. In fact, more often than not, it leads to a lot of rejection. This is especially true if you’re trying to any kind of mainstream work, i.e., with regular hours, reliability requirements, and the three ps: Projects, Politics, and Personalities.
You may expect that this post will be a piece about me finally claiming, at long last: THEREFORE I WILL NOT DO ANY MAINSTREAM JOB OR WORK EVER AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!
I’ll simply write a bestselling book and before long I’ll be sitting with Oprah under the oaks and ride off into the royalties sunset on a ship made of bitcoin on a sea of Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region.
Oh friends, how I wish. Sounds dope. But not yet.
In reality, I’ve got an upstairs toilet that seems unable to perform its only function; brand new sod with some angry brown fungus spots; a kid with anxiety, maybe two; a pair of fickle appliances; a 2012 Mommobile with as many dents as miles; and, some hefty private school tuition.
High-class probs; I hear you loud and clear. But I’m talking about maintenance issues. I’m talking about bills. I’m talking about immediate needs, and the kind of expenses that weigh on a person, a family, a marriage.
And frankly it’s hard to write something when you’re so incredibly worried about a bunch of other things.
So I’ve gotta find something a bit more steady. I’ve got to bring my A game to it. I’ve got to take everything I’ve learned from these past four months of failure and rejection and just LAUNCH.
I’m ready to do that. I’m happy to do that. But the universe has not been cooperating, despite my Best Possible Efforts.
And there’s another problem. There is a small voice at the seat of my soul of my soul that says, ‘NO NO NO NO NO. You are a writer, dummy. All you’ve ever wanted to do is be a writer. NOW IS THE TIME.’
So I’m making a pitch. Perhaps a plea. Maybe just a shout out into the void.
I think you can help me try and get paid to do what I love. You have to have build a following and a brand and all that jazz. I am willing to try that because I want to write. To be sure, I’m clearly shit at doing anything else. And maybe I’m shit at this too, although I don’t think so. I want to put my ass where my heart wants to be and shoot the goddamn moon.
Writing is what makes me feel alive and less alone and like all of my feels and words might be worth something. Writing is the fire of myself.
I want to sit at my computer and write the truth as I see it, which includes a historically-based fiction novel I’ve been working on for months.
So if this little blog of mine has meant anything to you — has struck you or made you think, or laugh, or cry — please subscribe to it.
Please share it.
Please think of any loud mouth influencers you know and bring it to their attention.
Please send contacts, make intros. You connected people know who you are. I know who you are. Pay it forward. It will come back to you. I promise.
Please message Glennon. And Oprah. And the whole fucking Wolfpack.
I’m not good at self-promotion. I’m not good at hashtags and live streaming. I’m too self-conscious, too scattered, too overwhelmed by the prospect of trying to get it right — hence the first-take bare-faced slightly sad-pants video. I just don’t have it in me today to strive for Instaperfection.
So sitting at my scratched dining room table nursing my fourth LaCroix about to get on the treadmill to try to sweat out what moisture has not already been discharged in the form of tears, I am asking you for this help. As I’ve said before, humility is a beautiful thing.
If you do me this kindness, I will pledge you something. I will show up. I will write. I will give it every last thing I have, and then some.
In fact, The Mirage of Marriage drops early next week, that is, unless I can get HuffPo or someone else to respond and claim its publication.
RELAX: Danny and I are fine!
But it’s the REAL real, so call the sitter, make a date night, and get those car tissues ready.