A rant about my life, and what writing means to me (inofficially: Polishing up the facade, part 2)

Self-harm triggers!

Almost a year ago I wrote a post called Polishing up the facade – part 1. I never wrote a part 2, but you can regard this as a follow-up, even though I´m at a point where I´m trying to polish up a facade which is barely even standing anymore.

I´m still busy selecting kitchen files and arguing with my parents (this noon it was my father who woke me up asking me about stuff and reminding me of things I had already explained to and discussed with my mother), and in the meantime my tutor (yes, I finally found a tutor for my thesis!) is writing me an e-mail telling me there´ll be a meeting with all of his students next week, so I will have to come up with some kind of list of references and a preliminary outline for my thesis to cover up for the fact that I haven´t been working on it so far. Additionally, I´m broke and it´s only the middle of the month. I have some birthday money left that should prevent me from starving, but I also have a dentist bill to pay. Maybe I can delay that until next month. No need to mention, by the way, that my room is still full of bottles.

For the last couple of days I´ve been having abdominal cramps which increased whenever somebody said something to me. At the same time, my thoughts were racing crazily. Uncharacteristically for an emetophobic I never even worried that this was a physical condition. It was blatantly obvious it was down to stress. I just had no idea what the hell to do about it that didn´t involve homicide. I did experiment a bit. I actually considered starting to cut again, not on impulse but deliberately like daily exercise, because my psyche is going to turn against my body in one way or the other, and I´d rather cut and get scars than have cramps and get Morbus Crohn. I´ve never been terrifically efficient at cutting, though, so I more or less dropped the idea.

I don´t think the whole moving/uni/being broke shit wouldn´t stress me out so much if it weren´t for the underlying problem. I know, after all, that I can move furniture, write papers and get a job. The underlying problem is that I don´t know why the hell I should be doing any of this. I just don´t want to. I don´t want to get a job. I don´t care what job it is. It could be the job of my fucking dreams, if that existed.

It´s not like I think all the jobs out there are boring. Actually, I find new interesting things every day. As long as I can explore it from afar, I find the world of work fairly fascinating. I just don´t want to be part of it.

Something about working feels like an insult. It doesn´t really matter whether it´s working as a waiter or as a manager. It just feels terrible that out there my only value as a person is in what way I can be useful to somebody else, and if I´m more useful than my competitors. That´s not because I´m stupid or lazy or shy of competition. I´ve won some competitions and lost others, but I am capable of competing.

I´m not lazy, either. Actually, I keep a remarkable amount of projects running. I have a comedy blog I post on daily, a football blog on which I compose detailed analyses of all our matches, another blog on which I´m writing a satire about two students and their first encounters with “the real world”, and actually I´m also working on a crime novel (I have about 80 pages written and I started last month). Lazy?

Any reasonable person would tell me to drop some of these projects to reduce my stress, but I can´t. I absolutely can´t. They are my only hope. If I succeed with any of them, maybe I will get around having to work, or at least I will get around confusing myself with a my work. Working itself is not such a chore to me. I don´t feel like going there, and there will be days when I´m constantly looking at the clock, but there are other days when it´s just fine, even in the boring jobs I´ve been doing. The problem is that I did those jobs knowing this wasn´t my life yet. Actually, I was a student, and studying would lead to something great. Yeah, but to what? Like I said, I do not want a job (well, sure, I don´t want to be unemployed and starving, but I do not dream of a job). Unfortunately, studying most likely will lead to a job, unless you start a company of your own, and for that I should have studied computer sciences.

I realize that as soon as I´m done studying I´ll be expected to get a job. Because that´s how you earn money, right? And then I won´t have time or energy anymore to work on my projects, and I´ll be sitting at work all day thinking: “So, when is this over so I can get started with my life?”, and then I´ll think: “Well, damn, this is my life!”

I don´t want to come to that. I wouldn´t quite kill myself to avoid it, but I´d do a lot of things below that. At least I think so now. I´d like to believe that I´d pick a shitty part-time job just in order to survive and still have enough time to work on my projects, but I´m extremely scared that I´ll start looking for high-end careers (and having the grades and a bourgeouis upbringing maybe even get one) because if I´m going to have to work anyway I might as well do something prestigious so at least people assume I picked a better life then them.

Maybe I´m being too hard on myself, it might well be that I´ll look into interesting careers because if I have to work I might as well work on something interesting. At any rate, though, it might be the end of what really matters to me. Because I´d always and forever feel like a failure if I pursued my projects just as hobbies. I always wanted to succeed with them. Be seen. I never wanted the rather private success of earning a lot of money in a prestigious job. I wanted to be a public figure who is seen and heard and listened to. Not in the sense that people do as I tell them, but in the sense that people are interested in what I have to say. Or write; I wouldn´t want to be bothered by paparazzi all the time.

I used to think that means I´m just in it for the fame and that I´m terribly superficial and actually don´t have to say anything at all. If that really was so, however, I´d have given up long ago because I get zero recognition for the work I do. I don´t even get encouragement. And yet I´ve been writing for years.

Sometimes all I want is someone who believes in me and likes what I do. Someone to say: “Have you been writing again? Can I read it?” And I can say: “Here it is, and let me know what you like and what bugs you!” Someone to ask me questions about my characters, and the story, someone who thinks aloud with me about what some character´s real motive might be. There are forums for that on the Internet, but I don´t want to publish my drafts for everyone to see. I´d like to have some guarantee that no one will steal my ideas. Besides, I need someone in flesh and blood, someone I can talk to. Preferrably someone who doesn´t write himself, as there is always competition among writers.

I used to be part of some mentoring program after winning a writing contest when I was a teen, but I strongly disliked the mentors. They were bossy, self-righteous and I felt like if I succeeded it would be their success, not mine, so I dropped out. Career-wise it was a giant mistake, as they had all the connections, but to me it felt like a matter of integrity.

The big problem with me and writing is that I must write as a form of rebellion. If I had sponsors or a scholarship or something like that, I couldn´t write anymore. I´d start writing something else, maybe, but not the book I´m supposed to write. At the moment I´m writing so terribly much because I´m supposed to be doing something else, and because I feel like this is my last chance at succeeding with writing before I will be swallowed up by a job.

I know many writers have their “day job”, but somehow I feel like I cannot do this. I´d feel defeated. Like someone else had won. I´d have to perform badly at my dayjob to make clear this is not who I really am.

If I translate this into psychological problems, in what way has that person won? What has been proven? That I have to subject myself to the logic of usefulness. That I cannot and will not be loved unless I´m useful. That this is an inescapable truth, a law of the world. Succeeding with my writing (both fictional and personal or philosophical stuff) might prove that the opposite is true.

Or maybe not even that I am loved for who I am, because few people who read what I write would know me personally. But it would mean that I can, just with my own mind, experiences and personality, can create something of value. I don´t have to work on someone else´s ideas. I can realize my own, and people appreciate them.

I believe one person who would have won if I fail as a writer would be my father. He has in one way or the other always discouraged me from writing because it is so hard to succeed, and that in order to succeed you have to write what people want to read. That always demoralized me, because my sole motivation for writing always was that I want people to like my ideas. Writing what I think others want would completely miss the point. Writing is a medium for my thoughts and feelings. If people don´t want them, they don´t want me. Writing according to some recipe just so I´m successful and sell a lot of books and get publicity would be so hollow and pointless. Of course I want success, tons of it, but with my own ideas and on my own terms.

I´ve been wondering why I need that kind of success so much, why I need my ideas and thoughts and feelings to be valued so much. I thought this made me superficial and vain, and maybe it does mean I´m missing something, but if I do, then what I miss is the most basic appreciation: That my own ideas and thoughts are worth something.

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2 Responses to “A rant about my life, and what writing means to me (inofficially: Polishing up the facade, part 2)”

  1. It is possible you have an ulcer brought on by stress.

    I totally understand what you mean about wanting people to value your writing, yet have no desire to be in the spotlight a la the crazy celebrities of today. I’m definitely that way. But I don’t think it makes you vain and superficial to desire that. In fact, I think it is part of wanting to feel valued as a human, to be loved for who we are inside, to matter.

    • Good to hear from you! 🙂

      I do hope I don´t have any serious medical issues yet. I´ve always responded to stress with abdominal cramps and nausea. I just worry that at some point this will leave traces.

      I´m glad I´m not the only one who wants to matter.

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