Friday, June 6, 2014

June 6: Action

The other day I mentioned how once I started writing I just wanted to keep writing.  I didn't really care about facebook, blogs, wikipedia.  I wanted to create and keep doing it.  Of course this didn't last.  I did eventually check Facebook.  I started to suck in input and the emotional blockages that stop me from creating stuff became very powerful again.  I again struggled with writing.  Last night I wrote very late and could not think straight.  Today I'm headed for the same thing.

I just read this blog about action.

He talks about an input deprivation week.  A whole week of no input.  In 2 weeks I will get that basically.  I'll be travelling into the mountains with some friends for a week and will have no access to anything to put into my old brain.  I was going to bring my Kindle for the plane and train time but now I'm going to just bring a bigger notebook.

Honestly the last week has been hard.  I've been dealing with forcing myself into action into something that is very scary for me.  I had a friend come over this morning to spend some time in prayer and for the first time I had to articulate what I was afraid of and couldn't.  I am afraid of being successful.  Less afraid of not being successful.  But there is a bigger fear there that I can't put my finger on that is driving me towards paralysis.

It is a similar fear behind writing these blog posts and why I needed a public challenge to start doing it.  I think I have an irrational fear of doing what I am made to do.  I am afraid of what it will feel like if things fit together.  I think I'm afraid of finding out I'm not made to do what I'm made to do.  I'm afraid of flow.  I'm afraid of the high of being in the groove.  I think if I'm really honest I'm afraid of not being afraid.  I know a lot of people who won't understand what I'm saying.  I have known for a long time I may not be a standard human being.  My young hot wife doesn't understand what I mean when I say I'm afraid all the time.  She thinks I'm joking when I tell her I went through a new set of brakes on my bike every week growing up.  I was lucky enough to fall into a relationship with my wife.  I don't think I have ever asked a girl on a date...ever.  Scratch that.  I did once.  It wasn't terribly clear I was asking her on a date.  She brought her friend.  Bummer.  Even with my wife I was not very debonair.  For the first 3 years of our marriage I thought my first date was when we split a Chocolate Cake Shake from Portillos.  She bought.  Ends up she had no clue why this cheap bastard kept drinking out of her chocolate cake shake.  Bummer.  I won in the end, but through no great valor of my own.

I think fear has become such a constant companion that I don't know what I would do with out it to motivate me.  Last night I watched Merlin Mann's Scared Shitless talk (sorry mom).  It was nice to hear I wasn't alone.  I'm afraid if I become confident and talented doing what I'm supposed to be doing I will become a blur and burn up in the atmosphere.  I sometimes let the depression pull me down or the rage catch me a light because I know those things.  I don't know what it feels like to be healthy.  I don't know what it feels like to be okay.  So what on earth am I supposed to think when I find what I might be made for?  What will happen if I suck at it?  What will happen if I find something I don't suck at?

Unfortunately I'm trying to do several life changing, finally doing that thing...things at once.  It has been rough.  I'm not sleeping well.  I have all these ideas I can't keep up with.  I can't even find my broken Give-A-Damn anywhere.

My first motorcycle was a 1981 Yamaha XS850 full dresser.  I didn't have even my permit at this stage so my friend came with me to pick up the bike and rode it home.  I got my permit and that weekend we went out for a ride.  I was terrified.  We fill up with gas and I get to the first stop sign and drop her.  The old girl weighed about 800 lbs.  I stood their straining and sweating against her grith, my body looks over, sighs, pulls his goldwing over, parks it, and helps me lift it.  “Stop then look,” he says.  I didn't know how to counter steer and I scraped pegs the whole way.  We rode around for about 2 hours and I was terrified.  My hands hurt from white knuckling the grips.  My back hurt from all the tension I was carrying.  My mouth was dry because I had spent most of that 2 hours giggling in my helmet.  I don't mean that I had a great time.  I mean I was that guy on the L who sits on the bench and softly giggles to himself with an occasional “weeeeel,  yes yes very nice (giggle)  (giggle) oh now that's interesting (giggle).”  It was wonderful.  I could smell the ripening corn as we rode through the fields.  I could see the gravel on the ground and watch the road passing at 60 miles per hour inches below my foot.  I could feel each shadow's kiss of coolness as we passed through the mottled shade of a wood patch.  I could smell the water in the air as we crossed over a brook and feel the wind on my chest when I sat up.  I was terrified and very alive.  I took a crazy risk.  The kid who slowly rolled down Vista Delgado.  I was the kid who broke out in a cold sweat to the words “La Granja.”  And I had bought a motorcycle.  A bike that could peg 80 miles per hour in 2nd gear in a matter of seconds.  The reason that I know that is because I did that.  I did buy a motorcycle.  I raced a tornado home on that motorcycle and thought I was about to die.  I ran that ugly bike into a ditch after crossing a busy state route because I missed the stop sign warning in the fog.  I pushed that ugly bike out of the ditch, covered in mud, kicked it until the carbs cleared and rode her to work.  I did that.

In a few weeks I'll be at high altitude and gazing out over the mountain valleys, feeling the media and information peal off my skin.  I'm going to be sleeping in a tarp and bivvy bag I made with my own hands.  It might be My Side of the Mountain or it might be Alive but I'll be there.  The danger, I think, is that I could easily think the feelings I get up there are due to the mountain air, or backpacking, or just hanging out with some hard dudes.  Then I'll have a prescription I can't take most of the time.  I'll have an escape that is behind a locked door and I'll be exactly where I don't want to be. I need to remember the way I felt on that motorcycle and identify that feeling with the feeling of doing something.  The same mingled fear and insecurity laced with adrenaline I feel as I type this lacklustre sentence.  This feeling is called doing something and I am addicted to it.  I start Jonesing without it.  For a long time I thought it was depression but now I realize it is just a symptom of withdrawal.

I keep ending my posts with exhortations and I've just been assuming you have been reading them as nice conclusive elements.  I really want you to start doing stuff.  I want you to go to your garden today, your tool shed, keyboard, whatever it is and do something today.  Have that coffee with X after putting it off forever.  Pick up the phone and say you are sorry.  Do your resume.  Tonight.  Do something today.  Write what you did in the comments.  Just do something.

1 comment:

Scipio Africanus said...

You might like this TED talk by Amy Cuddy:

If you don't want to watch the whole thing, jump to the 16 minute mark.