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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Self-doubt

Am I writer, or what? I don’t know anymore. All the things I used to want to be seem so vague and out of reach right now. What occupies me is how to survive. Money is scarce and all this is quite scary. In my freetime I feel sort of immobilized. I feel exhausted from work and running around Phoenix and Mesa and Gilbert for my jobs and so I just want to sit around, reading or watching t.v. or cleaning – the cleaning is the amazing thing. It’s the thing that helps me put order back to chaos, I think. It’s so strange.

And now I’m living the dream, aren’t I? The husband who loves and adores me. The struggle to make it together. The small apartment where we play house. It’s so hard to see it when you’re in the midst of it, though. It seems you have to remind yourself that where you are, is where you always wanted to be. Right now I’m living the thing that eluded me for so long – how many times did I pour my heart into a relationship, trusting that this one, this one would be the one? I’ll save you the meticulous count, but trust me, it was many times. And then it always slipped away as quickly as it came, fake, unreal, a lie, or perhaps just a time-filler until Stoker was ready for me. I can look at it like that, and I like to. It makes it easier to forgive the bastards who lied to me. And I look at it like that, like they were time-fillers, because Stoker was 16 when I was 20, 18 when I was 22, and then, because we’re LDS, he did the two-year mission thing. When he came home, finally, I was still extricating myself from that bastard Keith, which was tough, long and drawn out. When Keith sealed the deal and got engaged to his former-stalker, I awakened from my own delusions that he’d change his mind about me. That took about two weeks. Finally, I was okay with being alone again. Okay in a world where bastard-Keith would never be mine. I don’t mean to be so vicious, but the stuff with Keith was a vicious thing for me. It was like a dog had my heart in its teeth, and was shaking its head back and forth like they do with rabbits or kittens. That’s how vicious it was. So, calling him a bastard is putting it mildly.

I woke up from my delusions and learned to be okay again. You know how it is to see a dream dissolve in front of your face? It’s like the dream was the thing that pulled you forward. It gave you momentum. When the dream is gone you have to find a different momentum or else living seems empty. To me, anyway.

So Stoker was 21, and I was 26. Yes, it looks like five years apart, but really it’s only four and a half because his birthday is in November (tomorrow) and mine is in March. So he was eight months out of his mission and I was 8 months out of my final break-up with Keith AND he’d just asked his stalker to marry him. So the timing was perfect. Stoker was ready for me and I was ready for him. That’s how I like to look at it. That’s how it feels.

You should have been there. You should have seen it. You should have seen how I fell in love with him. I don’t know how it was for him, but I wanted him from the first time I really noticed him. He was everything Keith was not. Other people will tell you that the way they fell in love was beautiful and just like the movies, and maybe it was, I don’t know. But for me, it was more than like the movies. It was epic. It was Homeric, it was poetic, it was of Jane Eyre proportions.

And now I’m here, in the aftermath of all the changes, still adjusting, still getting used to it. Still wondering if I’ll ever write again. Before Stoker my poetry was consumed with the suffering of heartbreak and some of it sucked, but some of it was good. Now I’m trying to rediscover my voice and I’m wondering if I’m a writer, even. If I have what it takes or not. It’s painful to think maybe I don’t have it. That I’m generic and boring, that my voice has nothing compelling about it. Yes, the key about being a writer, the biggest thing, is to write. When you stop writing, you’re obviously no longer a writer. But how do you know if you should even continue? I don’t know. It’s depressing. The question for me is, if I’m not a writer, then what am I? I’ll have to redefine myself. Start from scratch, whatever that means.

7 comments:

Cinnamon Spider said...

I know what you mean about the cleaning thing. It is a very good occupier. When something bad happens to me and I can't take it I'll just start cleaning. It is strange.

I too feel that if I have no dream I am empty. That's why I don't like the phase where you are trying to move on from someone because it feels like you have nothing cause you don't have them and in most cases don't have anyone to move onto... at least no one you want. It's truly awful.

You're living my dream too, with the husband who loves you trying to make it together. I hope I don't have too many more heartbreaks to get where you are. But I think it's really sweet that you fell in love so wonderfully cause you can look back on it and it will always be special to you.
And them other bastards were time-fillers, possible futures that were lost but now you've found the right one and so you must hold onto it and never take it for granted.

I'm also quite sure you're a good writer. I always love to read your blog because you are wise with the ways of the worlds and you have a good vocabulary and so it's very interesting to read. :)

liz said...

The good news is, every writer goes through exactly these doubts. The compulsion will return, the words will return, it's all cyclical. Even if you go for long, long stretches, I'm of the opinion that it's not a skill you lose.

Rather, you either have the compulsion to write, or you don't.

Good to see you're back.

stormy weather said...

Yes, Virginia, you ARE a writer. (Are you too young to get that reference?)

Anyway, I've been reading your blog anonymously for months and I have missed it lately in the same way that you miss a good book when you set it down or finish reading it. It's good to have you back.

dani said...

Excellent post Nicole. You are so insightful and wise, as one other commentator put it. I have missed checking up on you through your blog and I am glad you finally wrote something, I was getting worried. And, my friend, you ARE definitely a writer. For those of us who at times struggle to put our thoughts and feelings into words, it is good writing like this that makes us step back and think, yep, that's exactly how it is. I've felt that when listening to some of Dan Fogelberg's songs, or John Mayer's song "Daughters." I mean, they both encapsulated my experiences and I was amazed that someone could capture it with words.

And yes, you are living the dream. Don't lose the forest for the trees. I feel like that a lot, while I'm running ragged going to work, then racing home at night to see Jas and Jack, because they are my world and who would I be without them? I try not to take life too seriously, because I know so many of these moments I'm living in won't last forever, and it's made more poignant by the work I do. I try to soak it up while I have it. To kiss and hug Jas and Jackson as much as I can, tell them I love them, laugh at the things that I really want to be pissed off about.

Anyway, Niks, you never fail to amaze me, and I'm so glad you're my sister.

Aries327 said...

These are really nice comments. Thanks. I didn't know people were still looking at my blog, even. I thought the only ones left at this point were the damn spammers. I hate them.

Cinammon Spider -- Thanks for your compliments. I don't feel very wise, usually. To steal a line, "I only have the life I've lived." If that's wisdom, great. And, actually, I think it is. There is someone for you out there. Someday you'll have "the dream," but you'll have to remember that you have it, like me. It's easy to get caught up in the struggle to survive and sometimes you don't see much of each other. So you have to do what I do and remember how you met and fell in love and how magical it was. At least, I think that helps.

Liz -- I hope you're right. I figure most people experience self-doubt, but this is real doubt. I read Betsy Lerner's book, "The Forest For the Trees" and I identified with the writer-profiles. But I don't know. Maybe I don't have what it takes. It's frustrating to see where you're at and what you're not doing and wonder what the hell? "This is not my beautiful house, this is not my beautiful wife . . . well, how did I get here?"

Stormy weather -- Yes, too young. Though it sounds familiar. Uh, is it a reference to Virginia Wolf? Or maybe it's from one of those television shows, like that one . . . western, or something. Thanks for reading my blog. And that's an excellent compliment, that you missed it like you miss a good book. That's great. I hope you continue to enjoy it, that is, if I continue to write it. I hope I'm back, who knows.

Dani -- You're great. I love being your sister. As for being a writer, who the hell knows? I don't know. Jason told me to have lots of odd jobs because the successful writers always have had them, and that's happening, you know. I haven't been a grave-digger yet or something truly odd, like that. But anyway, you ARE running ragged. It'll be nice when you guys can settle down for a few years. Thanks for reading my blog -- I didn't know you did very much. But that's excellent. I like knowing you do. Love nik

P.S. I have an autumn mix for you.

Yara said...

Well cleaning is great, it's strange to some people but not to me.

But sweety, it's not about being a writer or a poet for that matter. It's about being you, no matter what you do, if you will be a singer or a doctor you will always be you, you can't change that.
I can't even imagine how it must be for you, living your dream not even knowing i this was all really in your dream.
I think it's hard, I mean, you wanted that and now you have got it. What more...

Well find a new dream, and about the writing, let nobody tell you you can't do it. If you like your writings it's good enough, it's about you being happy with your writing, not about others being happy with your writing. I believe that you will be an excellent writer.

By the way I would just be happy to say I've turned 17! today

J said...

You're a writer, and getting better all the time whether you see it or not. Your current mental exhaustion will undoubtedbly give way to a new groove. Seriously, what writer hasn't had down times? You'll be back. I'm certainly no expert, but I see shadows of Stegner in your candid insights to everyday life. There was a good measure of hardship and doubt in his early life, too.
Still, no one should be defined by what they do - even if they are great at it. You are many things. Writing is merely one the many things you do well. Just ask any of the people who know you!