Tough & Tumble

Dear World

Please Kill Me,

No one ever said that being a creative was easy. In addition to the perils and obligatory fortitude, there’s always another realm of obstacle and/or contemplation. It can take many forms, depending on who you are and to what extent you’re affected by the onslaught of stimuli. Some call it the ‘daily grind.’ For those of us lucky enough to create for a living, the art becomes the daily grind. Both situations arrive with their own set of issues and responses.

Unless you were somehow fortunate enough to stumble upon a big bag of money (or into a questionable benefactor), most of us are resigned to figuring out a sort of balance. A lot of us wind up creating around the ‘daily grind.’ The vast majority allow it to dissipate their personal goals. But let’s talk about what happens before that grand decision.

Some like to get their work done early, others late, others still—whenever they happen upon the spare time. I don’t think that time, routine or erratic, matters as much as the drive to get something done. In either instance, we must deal with distractions.

Ultimately, we have to redefine what the ‘distractions’ are. We must learn to redefine ourselves through the prism of our non-negotiable pursuits. It’s a reality that I never really digested until I had to. Ignorance is bliss until it starts to weigh you down.

Personally, I’ve had to endure a fair share of sacrifice in exchange for my current “walking on egg-shells” position. I feel guilty about committing to hobbies that aren’t supplementary. I see time as a perpetually melting block of ice—dripping away until the final drop ends my existence with gaseous glee. I don’t like to waste dissolving minutes. I don’t enjoy much and I look forward to even less.

I pressed on, noticing the joyous (if masturbatory) aspects of my life be whittled down to a bare minimum. Despite my active participation and fastidious persistence, I was changing. Pursuing a mastery of my craft has changed me. It could change anyone, large or small, rich or poor, old-Yoda or Baby-Yoda (Why we haven’t started calling him “Boda” yet is beyond me).

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s necessary to allow creativity to consume anyone so completely. This is just where I am and it felt like a good time to assess it. The fear, of course, is that I’m not sure what I’m changing into.

*crosses fingers*

*inspirational gasp*

“Dragon-Writer: Eater of Souls”

Prior to anything going even slightly how I wanted, I had a picture of myself as an adult. The visions always possessed minuscule differences but the basis was always the same: married, kids, house, stable employment (that probably sounds familiar to some you). What I realized in reflection was that this apparent “goal” was set independent of my writing career—the cornerstone of everything I’ve evolved into. Therefore, that aim was inconsistent with reality.

Now, I’m left with a choice. I can continue to chase this presently impossible end. Or, I can adjust my idea of happiness and success (functional adult life) so that it falls in line with my idea of meaning (not-so functional creative contribution). Herein lies the difficulty. How do we alter the finish line when the idea has always propelled motivation? How do we negotiate what we want with what we thought we wanted and what we have? How do we evolve without devolving in other ways?

In chasing my dream, I’ve actively annihilated a version of myself. In doing so, I’ve also permanently affected the path that will lead me to that final drop of life. However, that final drop is coming whether or not I’m ready. Since I don’t know where I’m heading, maybe it’s best to interrogate my former path. Where did I make a wrong turn? This type of thought is an attempt at self-correction.

The mistake, I believe, was being so arrogant, as to think that I could committedly seek change and acquire it without having to adjust my view and hopes for the future. Again, I’m not saying that this is right or even unavoidable. For me, however, it’s all been necessary. Maybe it was just an experience that I needed to get to this moment. To write this post.

I’d been brandishing the weapon of creativity for so long that I didn’t realize my target had changed. In fact, I barely recognize the weapon I’m holding. So, what now?

In the end, all that my ignorance accomplished was the deterioration of negotiations between my professional aspiration and personal development as a human being. I’ve unintentionally created a form of chronic dissonance.

My mistake was taking what was for something that always would be. Hoping to change my mold and forgetting what that evolution entails, what it fosters, and how it would inevitably re-fit itself around my new shape.

I got what I wanted. Maybe that’s what makes it so hard to accept.

I don’t know what to want next. I have this.

Until Next Time,

Antwan Crump


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