Hey you. You with the pensive thoughts and the scribbled in, beat up journal. You have no talent. Everybody else is a better writer than you. You have nothing to offer. Look at all the pageviews and forwards and likes and listens that all of these other writers have. Now look at yours’. Why are you even trying? – The Evil Voice in My Head
Thank you for those kind and inspiring words, dear Evil Voice In My Head. And thank you for saying them over and over again to the point where smashing a rusty railroad spike into my noggin sounds like a viable and hell even an enjoyable solution. And yet here I am writing despite this screeching demon voice. So there. Suck it, Evil Voice in My Head. Because the reality is creativity, even sub par, holy-cow-please-don’t-let-anyone-ever-read-that flavored creativity survives. My desire to make stuff slogs on despite a brain that says, “Maybe you should ditch it all and become a wino who travels by train with a knapsack on a stick.” This survival, the persistence to keep making things has less to do with me being courageous than it does with me being a complete stubborn pain in the ass. Sure, I wanna give up. Sure, I wanna stop. But I can’t. The thing is I’ve stopped before. My creative brain fell into a tequila and cocaine induced coma and struggled to pull itself out for years. Now that it’s back, I try to protect it, like baby hedgehog or something equally as adorable.
Yet there are constant, evil forces at work trying to funk with my creative flow and not all of them in my brain. Take for example, the state of the world. The world is a sad ass, scary as hell, oh good Lord please make it stop kind of place right now. There is no such thing as good news or good people or good anything. From senseless animal killing to senseless people killing to senseless brain cell killing, ain’t nothing positive happenin’ up in this club, honey child. For me, all of this gets compacted every single time I get online. I click on trending topics that make me want to poke my eyes out. I read rants by friends who I used to think were normal, sensible people but who were actually Satan this whole time. I get flooded by threads spewing so much garbage, it almost starts to sound like a parody. But this ain’t the whole story. Beauty is pushing its way through the garbage and saying, “Aw hell no. I’m here too, bitches.” Progress is happening despite our best efforts. And lovely miracles are sprouting up all over. I had three such miracles, so sacred, so brilliant that I won’t share them here in order to keep them next to my heart but let’s just say I believe in life after yuck. Still, I have to do my part to fight negative forces from taking over and stopping this creativity choo choo. Enter the unicorns.
A few weeks ago, Facebook was getting me down and I mean if Facebook doesn’t regularly depress the ever-loving shit out of you, than you probably aren’t on it very much and kudos to you. But yeah, it was bumming me out. Everything was negative and I felt negative reading it. Soon I wanted to leave combative and negative comments too which I know as someone who does social media management for a living, is a total no-no of the red flag and deal-breaker variety. Like when you start taking Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or any of it personally, you are doing it wrong. Period and non-negotiable. They are tools and they are for entertainment, nothing more. So I knew I was in deep doo doo when I felt butt hurt while reading posts on everything from politics to entertainment to recovery and beyond. I started to act like, “Oh my god I disagree with you and it hurts my feelings so I need to cry all over my keyboard while shitting all over your newsfeed.” Fundamentally, I knew this was unacceptable. My first dramatic impulse was, “I’m quitting all social media but only after long rambling posts about why I’m quitting social media!”This is a fleeting thought always, however, as I mentioned I use it for work. (By the way, nobody gives a crap if you quit social media and we all quit for the same reason so how about we just quit and nobody is the wiser? Just an idea.) The only other option was to practice some boundaries and lean into it. How could I address the things that bother me but do it in a way that makes me laugh and keeps it light? Praise Merlin for Google Image search. Through this handy dandy tool, I started taking fantasy art and making little memes to joke about my malaise regarding social media and society in general. This little fella was my first:
I laughed while doing it and was inspired to make more. A lot more.
During a recent inventory, my sponsor pointed out to me that being a smartass and making people laugh was a way that I was of service. I have a hard time taking compliments (said every addict ever) but I can see his point here. After all, I’m incredibly grateful for the sober people in my life who make me laugh(Maureen, Isaiah, Johnny, etc, etc) so I can see how that this is of value. And I’m naturally a one liner spewing, corny joke shooting machine so this is something I can easily do. Amazingly, other people have enjoyed my fantasy-filled Facebook follies. Through a series of posts, I’ve been able to laugh about the things that bother me on social media and while laughing at myself and with my friends. Success! This wasn’t about book deals or pageviews or likes or anything else. It was just about moving through something and doing it with humor.
As regular readers know, I despise self-helpy, you could fix your life if you only did this stuff. I’m a learner and responder to real experiences. Therefore my real experience is this: maybe it takes a billion blog posts, maybe it takes trying new recipes, maybe it takes new meditation practices, maybe it’s new books or maybe it’s memes with unicorns. But whatever it takes, I need to carry on. And you need to carry on too. Yeah sometimes it feels like we’re pitching our hearts and souls down a dark well and nobody will respond but it juts doesn’t matter. Don’t buy the lie that in order to be creative you need certain stuff or need perfect situations or that it just isn’t the time. Right now is the time. Find yo’ own meme unicorn or crotchet project or romance novel and do it now. Because you need to carry on and I need you to, too.