Pressure is a bitch.
Well, i suppose when you put pressure in the right places it can be pretty amazing too… but that’s a whole other post.
Pressure, the bad kind — the stressful kind, weighs on the shoulders like a two ton elephant. It slows down the brain like a computer with a full hard-drive and low-speed internet. Its liable to drive good people to the edge of insanity, and sometimes even push them over.
There are lots of pressures in life. As a child there is the pressure from parents and teachers to obey and “be good”. Older children begin to be bombarded with peer pressure: to have boyfriends and girlfriends, to drink, to have the newest whatever. Teens and young adults (as in college age) are pressured to pick the right college, then go and do well there. They are pressured to find the “correct” path in life and pursue it relentlessly. Then as adults they are pressured to make “good” money, buy a house, keep it clean, get married, have children, and pretend to be happy even if they aren’t.
We’ve all been through this.
Still — though I’ve become accustomed to it — it disappoints me. Why? Why do your standards have to be my own?
I suppose this is all quiet vague. True, but vague. The truth here is that I’m afraid. I’ve given myself a work title that sometimes feels absurd: writer. I feel that because I’ve been courageous enough to give myself this title, I should also be able to “prove it”. The trick with that is I haven’t been able to get the results. I haven’t yet been able to get it done.
No, that’s ridiculous as well. I’ve had time. The truth is i’m afraid I’ll either fail or try and look like an idiot. Then, to top all of that off, I fear my own truths.
Do I really love to write? Or do I only think I love to write because one person in life suggested I might be decent at it? Have I only been starved for acknowledgement, skill, and talent? Was I so enamored with the idea that I might not be bad at something, so I decided to throw everything at it? Perhaps I don’t love to write, I only love to feel exceptional. And if I am not an exceptional writer, should I bother to continue?
Truly, I could replace “writer” with near any title in my life — i’d likely have a similar thought process. If i were honest, “mother” and “wife” are easy replacements for “writer”. If I were to think that though, voice it aloud, that would make me a dispicable human being. those thoughts are allowed before, but not after, making those commitments. You cannot decide not to be a mother anymore — and depending on your views the same goes for spousal agreements. It’s at very least not an encouraged response. Just because you aren’t good at a relationship doesn’t mean you are allowed an out. So what do you do?
What do you do when you’ve invested so much? We invest in our school, family, friends, jobs, and dreams. What do we do, when we realize either we made a bad investment, or were unworthy to make such a commitment — be that financial or otherwise?
Society tells us to grin and bear it. In some situations, that is the best case scenario. In some cases, you accept past choices and make the best of where your life is. In some cases you pull yourself up by your bootstraps, give yourself a good pep talk, and get on your way.
And in some cases, you leave it behind. In some cases you move on. You admit you made a mistake, weren’t enough, or bit off more than you could chew. Society tells us to look down on ourselves for that. Should we believe society?
Maybe writing was the dream… but before that it was architecture. You moved on from that, you can move on from this too. Maybe writing wasn’t a dream, maybe it was a shout for attention and a search for meaning. Perhaps satisfaction can come from a part time uneventful job, PTA meetings, and Netflix on Saturday night.
Perhaps the burden off this dream was too big to put on yourself. Perhaps giving up isn’t as bad as it sounds. Perhaps… Perhaps meaning is overrated, and life will go on without it. Perhaps it’ll all be alright.