It was [mostly] fine. I’ve been depressed all week, but today was going pretty well.
And then, I couldn’t start my novel.
I feel completely paralyzed and terrified. Because I’m so excited for this novel but what if…what if it’s not good? What if I can’t get the words to come out? What if I’m bad at this whole writing thing and should just give it up.
I know that as soon as I get into the swing of writing, I’ll be excited again and the momentum will bear me forward and I’ll spend my pizza shifts biting my nails and thinking about storylines and how to weave them; about characters and what they’re going to show me next; about setting and descriptions and how best to dance with the words.
But right now I’m frozen by indecision and fear. How do I start that first sentence? What if I start it wrong and the whole thing collapses, trying to rest on the weight of an incompetent sentence?
Ah, the insecurity. It haunts me in everything I do, but the worst is when it haunts my writing. Because that’s one thing I’ve been sure of for almost my whole life.
When I was in elementary school, I started telling people I was gonna be a writer when I grew up. I was confident in my writing, and have been for most of my life. It’s one of the few things I’m not insecure about.
My looks? My positive feelings for them balance on a hair, and I can swing in a day from thinking I’m beautiful to the conviction that I’m the ugliest being ever made.
My smarts? Some days I feel witty, clever, intelligent, and then I’m swamped by how dumb and worthless I am.
My customer service skills? I go from patting myself on the back for being friendly and charming to hitting my head on the wall because I’m rude and awkward.
Everything, anything about me? I have a love-hate (but mostly hate) relationship with myself.
Except for my writing.
Except for today, when I’m starting something new and the desire to be perfect is a weight I cannot bear, a burden I can no longer carry.
I want — need — to be the best in all things. I have this idea in my mind that somehow I’m starting at a disadvantage, that there are points against me. I talk a lot with my counselor about this feeling of inadequacy, this impostor syndrome, as though I stole the chance at life from another potential human way back when I was nothing but a sperm trying to fertilize an egg. And maybe that’s why I try so hard to be the best; maybe that’s why, when I’m not the best, I am so hard on myself. Maybe that’s why my default reaction and punishment is death to myself. Because I don’t believe I deserve life.
Sometimes when I’m talking to people, they think I’m a perfectionist and I desire to be the best because of pride. And it is that, to an extent.
But it’s also because I’m searching high and low for a reason for my existence.
And today, I can’t find it. I want to write this book, oh, how I want to write this book. I’m ready. I’m ready, my gosh have I been ready to be a writer since the first time I realized books could still be written.
And yet. And yet here I am, wondering if I deserve to breathe.
Oh, guys. This depression is so hard some days. Some days I just cry for no reason, I feel like there’s a boulder on my back just pushing me into the ground. Some days I feel like my insides are being scooped out by an ice cream scoop, like they’re cracking wide and spilling like a fault line in an earthquake. I feel shaken, vulnerable, desperate, afraid, weak.
Some days I’m fine with being depressed. Some days I feel like a conqueror, like a warrior, like someone who can bring hope to someone else and overcome even the darkest and slipperiest shadows.
And some days I’m just tired. So bone-tired.
Today I’m tired. But I don’t have the luxury of giving in anymore. I have responsibilities and friends and loved ones, and for that — for the pizzeria that needs me, for the friends who for God knows what reason seem to love me, for the people I love and don’t want to miss out on, I’ll get up and I’ll work and I’ll go forth.
And I guess I’ll write my novel, and I’ll hope that when I wake up tomorrow I feel victorious again. One can only dream, I suppose.